FURIOUS 6 (2013) picks up some months after Fast Five with everyone comfortable in their new lives and Brian and Mia (Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster) happy new parents. Then Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) shows up with proof Dom’s (Vin Diesel) wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive and working for Shaw (Luke Evans), an international criminal plotting to steal components of a Doomsday McGuffin and sell them to the highest bidder. That’s all Dom has to hear to get the band back together and we’re off for another round of over-the-top action.
At this point the cast are about one step short of becoming either a superhero team or a 1980s cartoon franchise (Camestros Felapton suggests mythic heroes too). This film has all the trappings: a former teammate returning from the dead (with amnesia, natch), continuity touches (the crimelord who murdered Letty turns out to be working for Shaw) and pitting the good guys against their mirror image team. The difference, unsurprisingly, is that the Racers of Justice are, as Dom points out, a family, where Shaw sees his team as interchangeable parts; if one doesn’t work, he replaces it. Oh, and we have an ending introducing a new foe, Jason Statharn as Shaw’s brother, who turns out to be responsible for Han’s death in Tokyo Drift (so we’re finally caught up in continuity with that one). Can’t say it grabs me more than earlier installments, but it’s interesting to watch the series evolve. Gina Carado has a supporting part as Hobbs’ sidekick. “Like I said, you were never in the game.”
THE FORGOTTEN (2004) has Julianne Moore in a spectacular performance as a mother still grieving for her son’s death in a plane crash a year ago. Except suddenly everyone, even husband Antony Edwards, is insisting her son never existed (“You had a miscarriage.”), all her photographs of him are gone and the videotapes of him are blank. Then, when she refuses to accept shrink Gary Sinese’s insistence it’s all in her head, the NSA gets involved — what’s going on?
The answer? Her son has been alien abducted as part of a sinister ET experiment. Like the movies I wrote about a few days ago, we’re absolutely helpless in the face of the alien power: the government’s involved because collaborating is the only way to protect Earth from retribution. It’s a creepy, chilling tale but it gets way too stock in the stretches where Moore and fellow abductee-parent Dominic West are running from cops (include Alfre Woodard) or feds. It also suffers from a big plot hole: the aliens can erase newspapers and videotapes, wipe memories, but in a key scene it turns out they simply painted over a child’s nursery walls. Still good, but it could have been so much more. “I’d say ‘god only knows’ but I don’t think he’s in the loop.”
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