“Fast & Furious 6”
Let’s get the sad shit out of the way. The viewing of this film was just plain ruined because of Paul Walker’s untimely and ironic death in the destruction of a Porsche on a Los Angeles street. Getting that out of the way, we’ll try to be fair and balanced in our reviewing of this film. This is the fourth installment under director Justin Lin, and the films have gone from badly-acted loud messes to predictably fun car flicks with laughable acting that audiences tolerate because the action sequences are really cool. And let’s get real, these films keep getting made because there are no contract problems or scheduling conflicts with the cast. Well that and the producers keep bringing in action movie brawn – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the last two and Jason Statham was going to be included in the seventh edition in the franchise. Apart from Johnson and Vin Diesel, this franchise was the career foundation for most of the cast – Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris. These films have worked against sequel trends and gotten better over time. The action is fast and well-handled by Lin. The ballooning cast doesn’t dilute the script, it actually enhances it. The seventh film has stalled because of Walker’s death, but it’s a fairly safe bet that a cast member’s death won’t stop this franchise from rolling on. OK, fuck it, we’re not fair or balanced – it’s worth a watch because part of the proceeds from the sale of the film goes to Walker’s charity, Reach Out Worldwide, so we can all feel better about entertainment rubbernecking.
“Grown Ups 2”
This is Adam Sandler’s eighth movie with actor-turned-director Dennis Dugan. Since the pair first broke through with “Happy Gilmore,” the films have only gotten more and more silly. Usually with a movie as poor as the first “Grown Ups,” even Sandler would be one-and-done and making fun of how bad it was on “The Daily Show” before he would start talking up his next project about a cross-dressing nun or some other outrageous shit. But it’s obvious he wanted a reason to hang out with his friends again. So off Sandler and Dugan go – bringing Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and everyone else from “Saturday Night Live’s” cast of the ’90s that they could wrangle up. Just like the first film, all the laughs happen off camera or at the audience’s expense. Long after the cast has giggled into the sunset, all we are left are day-old fart jokes, gratuitous vomit scenes and a collection of shitty skits that wouldn’t have worked in SNL’s worst days. And with a cameo by Shaquille O’Neal, he keeps his record of appearing in only terrible movies intact. For everything you may have ever loved about the ’90s cast of SNL – pass.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge