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Article by Teddy Durgin

The Wheel-Oiled Fast & Furious Machine Rolls On

Before I head out for my evening preview screenings each week, the wife usually offers me some helpful snippets of advice that she hopes will stick with me throughout the evening. Usually, it's little tips like "Make sure you take along an umbrella. It's going to rain," or "Don't get the big Coke. It'll only make you have to go to the bathroom." So, before leaving for my recent preview of "Fast & Furious 6," what were her sage words of wisdom? "Don't drive like a jerkface afterwards!" God bless her. I know that she was mostly interested in my well-being and safe return. Mostly. You see, we bought a new car recently, folks. A 2013 Hyundai Sonata, and the Mrs. LOVES it. We got it because some dude on I-695 was driving like an amateur Vin Diesel and slammed into the back of us in stop-and-go traffic, totaling our beloved box on wheels, the all-paid-for 2003 Chevy Tracker. That car kept me honest. The dern thing would shake like Butch Johnson after a touchdown if it got above 65 miles an hour on the highway. Once again equipped with a smooth V6 and some pick-up, the wife fears the "Frank the Tank"-esque return of who I was before the Tracker. That was back in the day when I drove the greatest automobile Jesus and Detroit ever collaborated on, the Pontiac Trans Am. It was my Bandit One. It was my irresponsibility car before becoming responsible. And the last years of its life were the first years of the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Oh, the parking-lot peel-outs of yore! These last two movies, directed with virtuoso showmanship by Justin Lin, have made those first couple of flicks in the series look like 3 a.m. ESPN2 stock-car footage reels. I loved "Fast Five," with its absurdly cool climax involving Diesel's "Dominic Torretto" and Paul Walker's "Brian O'Connor" heisting millions of dollars in South American drug-cartel loot by dragging a giant vault behind two sports cars demolition derby-style through the streets of Rio. In "Fast & Furious 6," Lin and Co. top that sequence not once, but twice with a couple of one-two climactic chases that are beyond absurd. One involves a tank driven by moustache-twirling bad guy Shaw (Luke Evans) setting some kind of record for freeway destruction. The second is a jaw-dropping sequence involving multiple vehicles and a massive military jet on an airport runway that seems to run for 30 miles. This time, Torretto's crew is working on the side of the law, trying to take down an international car heist gang in return for full pardons. The overall film is all about spectacle, intensity and giving the paying customer exactly what he or she - mostly he - wants. There are at least two other major action sequences in "Fast & Furious 6" that would be the centerpiece of lesser films. It's a pretty stunning feat to get six films into a series and have the latest one not only be the best of all of them, but also one in which you want to see "F&F 7" start immediately after. Here's a hint. Stick around for the closing credits. You'll see exactly where the series is going next come July 2014.


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