Quick! Name the number of movie series that actually have gotten better past with each subsequent sequel. You can probably count them on one hand. Hell, you can probably count on one finger. For a series to improve past the second chapter, let alone the fourth or fifth, is nearly unheard of. Yet, somehow the “Fast & Furious” series has defied the odds and grown from a modest hit with a few fans into a beloved series with millions of fans around the globe.

vinWhen we first met Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), they were a streetwise punk and rookie FBI agent respectively. Over the course of the series, they’ve grown from enemies to friends to family. After the third film tanked, the series received a mini-reboot and turned from a street racing movie into an crime drama, with some cool race scenes thrown in for good measure. The fifth movies was basically the start of new trilogy – favorite characters from the previous four movies joined forces and, Oceans 11 style, took down a major antagonist. For many, myself included, the fifth film was the pinnacle of the whole series. Now, with the sixth film, they may not have surpassed the previous chapter but they came damn close.

After getting away with millions of dollars, the whole gang is living the peaceful life they’ve always wanted. Their old adversary, Luke Hobbs (The Rock) shows up one day with an offer – help him take down a criminal gang that is stealing from the government, and get pardons for all. Adding to the lure of freedom is a major factor – Dom’s former love Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), long presumed dead, has turned up very much alive and is working with the gang in question. So, they all get back together to bring down their toughest foe yet.

rockAs I said earlier, to have a movie series have more quality in their sixth go around than the first is nearly unheard of. By constantly having the adrenaline pumping, the latest movie s never boring. It just, while ever so slightly, misses the mark of being the best in the series. The last 40 minutes is one gigantic thrill ride that is not to be missed. While the actors, for the most part, have never been the draw of the series, seeing them all together again is actually comforting.

Very important… do not leave immediately after the credits start. You will miss a very important scene that leads directly to the seventh film, and it will get your blood pumping. To say why would be an epic spoiler, but lets just say for longtime fans it is a huge bonus.

4/5 stars