I don’t want to get too down on the film for not living up to Fast Five. Despite a wholly uninteresting villain, it fulfilled its main obligation, which was to be a fun action movie — something most action movies don’t achieve these days. Anything extra is nice, but on it’s most basic level it works fine.
It is sad when someone finds incredible success, doesn’t understand why, and fails in their attempt to duplicate it but, really, my main sticking point with the film is a point of continuity that changed the entire film series. It’s a moment of dialogue in the scene between Dom and Letty after they race through London. Dom explains some of the scars Letty has to prove to her that he knows her, that she knows him. Specifically, his report about the scar on her arm, which he explains as “the scar you got the first night we met when we were fifteen.” Now lets pause a moment for a reading from the original The Fast and the Furious screenplay:
Mia: Letty grew up just down the street. She was into cars since she was like ten years old. Dom always had her attention. Then she turned sixteen…
Brian: And she had Dom’s attention.
Mia: Yeah, it’s funny how that works out.
In this new version, Letty is a girl Dom was trying to con into bed by impressing her with his racing. It removes an important layer from Letty’s story, where she was the girl next door (albeit a tomboy gearhead version of the girl next door that could kick the shit out of you if she wanted to) and they were predestined to be the perfect couple. It removes a major layer of Dom’s story, though. The thing about Dom is that you expect him to be a douchebag. He has all of the earmarks of a major douchebag, but then he’s got this one amazing character trait. He’s the kind of guy who could cruise chicks every weekend in his fast car but doesn’t because he’s loyal to his true love. That’s actually kind of special. In its original form, Dom and Letty have an idealized movie romance1, but that is the part of the bedrock that the films are based on: Dom’s complicated, unwavering code of loyalty to those he considers his family, how far and long it extends, and how ruthless it can be against those he considers a threat to that family.
That’s really the most interesting element of each of the four films that feature Dom as the main character, and it’s always been executed to perfection before, whether its the balance of loyalty between Brian and Vince, Dom’s loyalty to Letty that sets him on a revenge mission to find her killer, or Dom’s renewed loyalty to Vince in Brazil. To strip even a flake of that loyalty away is to lessen the interest we can find in Dom. And for what? A moment when they compare scars that shaves at least a half decade off of Dom and Letty’s relationship? I’d rather they had the five years.
but that’s the best part about movies, Goddammit ↩