It’s the bro-down of the sequels, but Fast & Furious 6 has way more left in its tank than The Hangover Part III.
Here’s what to see and what to skip at the movie theater this weekend.
• Fast & Furious 6
Yes, even Shakespeare made sequels, but at least he had the decency to tap out on a three-parter. Still, let’s be honest. Decency has nothing to do with the Fast and Furious franchise. What it always was – and still is, I’ll grudgingly admit – is silly fun.
Fast 6 concerns itself with three things: first, a baddie named Owen Shaw (The Hobbit‘s Luke Evans), who’s trying to build a device to render a country technologically blind for 24 hours. Second, the pardons Dom (Vin Diesel) and his crew will earn if they find Shaw for Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Third? That would be Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dom’s girlfriend who supposedly died back in 2009’s Fast and Furious, who’s working with Shaw. The hitch is that Letty doesn’t seem to recognize Dom at all. (Real memory loss or shamnesia? Hmm ….)
But who cares about minor points like story and characters when there are such cool stunts on display? Fast 6 may not quite measure up to the sly humor of the previous outings, but its car chases and crashes are wicked. Nobody’s safe on the streets of London with Shaw’s tricked-out vehicle screaming around corners like the Batmobile, not to mention the scene from the trailer that got everyone talking: a car barreling through the nose of a crashing plane. This is what you come to Fast 6 to see, Furious fans. You won’t be disappointed.
• The Hangover Part IIIUnlike Fast & Furious 6, the Hangover franchise is sluggish in its third installment.
The Wolf Pack gathers again for the intervention of man-child Alan (Zach Galifianakis), but before they can deliver him safely in the hands of a medical professional, Doug (Justin Bartha) gets kidnapped, and his only hope is in the rest of the gang tracking down the notorious Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong).
Now, I love Jeong as much as the next Community fan, but Mr. Chow is a pungent spice – best administered in small doses. (I’d argue that so is Alan, but he’s kind of integral to the franchise.) Instead, Part III becomes the Mr. Chow Show, overrun with the drug-addled, sex-crazed master criminal’s lunacy, but with few laughs to show for it.
What Hangover III does show is the seriously nasty decapitation of a giraffe on the freeway, which, fortunately, is as wild as the movie gets. Unfortunately, that’s in the first 10 minutes. Wait for cable.
And See This Finally:
For the love of pharmaceuticals, will you please catch up with Side Effects already?
Steven Soderbergh’s crafty psychological drama is now available on demand and DVD, so you don’t even have to get out of your jammies to see one of the year’s best films. (And possibly the director’s last theatrical release.)
Rooney Mara gives a perfectly calibrated performance as a woman who does a bad, bad thing while on an anti-depressant. Jude Law is fantastic as her psychiatrist, who may need a doctor – and a lawyer – of his own before long.
Just see it. I swear on a stack of prescription pads you’ll dig it.