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Originally published May 23, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Page modified May 23, 2013 at 11:21 AM

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‘Fast & Furious 6’ busts out the big biceps

A review of the nonstop action movie “Fast & Furious 6,” another pedal-to-the-metal installment in the popular franchise.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 2.5 stars

‘Fast & Furious 6,’ with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot. Directed by Justin Lin, from a screenplay by Chris Morgan. 130 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action and mayhem throughout, some sexuality and language. Several theaters.

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Let’s cut to the chase. Literally.

That’s the aesthetic philosophy behind “Fast & Furious 6,” the latest installment in the long-running franchise in which a group of very large men (and a few regular-sized women) drive very fast cars, fast. “Fast Five,” in 2011, took the series to a new level by moving into the heist genre and presenting a ridiculously enjoyable sequence in which the gang steals race cars from a speeding train. Do they top this scene in “F&F 6”? No, but really, how could they? No matter what happens in “6,” you just want them to do the speeding-train trick again; it’s this franchise’s legacy. (Mention it to anyone who saw “Fast Five” and watch their eyes light up.)

Otherwise, “F&F 6” works as well as it needs to, with nonstop zippy action (including a late sequence that seems to take place on the world’s longest runway) that zooms by so quickly you’renot always sure who you’re looking at and whose vehicle they’re smashing, but it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is the way Dwayne Johnson, wearing a T-shirt so stretched out you know it’s on borrowed time, manages to convey likability and charisma through the act of standing around looking intense. What matters is how Vin Diesel purrs all of his lines like an electronic cat, and how his character, the Rasputin of the “Fast & Furious” world, never ever gets killed no matter what ridiculous thing he does (including a flying-through-the-air stunt that had the person behind me asking, “Are you serious?”), and that he’s such a tough guy that he plucks bullets from his own flesh without any help from anyone, thanks very much. What matters is the wit that comes from sidekicks Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Han (Sung Kang), and that Riley (Gina Carano) shows cleavage even in a military vest, and the way the whole thing feels like you’re watching a sped-up TV show on the All-Bicep Channel.

Never mind the plot, which sometimes stretches plausibility as far as that T-shirt. (Paul Walker beating up an entire room full of convicts? Really?) Someone who was dead in a previous movie is now conveniently not dead, and there’s a new baby who already seems to be working on his gear-shifting skills, and everyone’s a family who takes care of each other, and ... let’s just cut to another car chase, OK? That’s what this franchise knows how to do, and if that’s the kind of popcorn fun you’re looking for, “F&F 6” has the goods.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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