Fast & Furious 6
 You would think that we would all be too old for this stuff:  bad-boy guys posing in muscle shirts, witless skinny girls posing in skimpy outfits, deep-throated fast cars revving up, street drag racing, chase scenes and car crashes.  Oh, we’re not too old?  Ah, then you have your mindless action flick of the early summer stock.
 When we last left our intrepid band of outlaw buddies, they had pulled off the grand heist, stealing from international drug dealers, so they scattered abroad, and now we see them reveling in luxury and enjoying their fortunes.  One, the pretty boy ex-cop, Brian (Paul Walker), has even married and started raising a family.  (And now, for one more chorus of “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down”).  The others are all reveling in having way too much money to spend, figuring they’ve had their last joyride.  It’s too bad they lost Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in a fiery crash at the end of the last caper, but hey, they all knew the risks when they signed on for the dangerous adventure.
 The tight-lipped leader of the gearheads, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has taken on a new girlfriend (he was sweet on Letty), but one day he receives an unwelcome visitor:  a cop, Luke (Dwayne Johnson), who can flex even bigger muscles in a tight t-shirt, and who acts like the kind of guy who hates asking for help, but it seems there’s this international gang of terrorists, making heists of illegal material and then using a professional-driver getaway group where nobody can catch them.  Dominic tries to claim he’s retired, but then Luke gives him a picture of one of the gang members, and it looks disturbingly like Letty.  Dominic, as a matter of honor (“every man has to have a code”), needs to re-assemble his “family” of street toughs to see if Letty really has gone to the Dark Side.  So now we have our excuse for our Road Rage Robin Hoods to ride again.
 Sure, there are plot twists, but remember, valiant moviegoers, we aren’t in this for the scintillating dialogue (“’Til I see you again.”  “Yeah, ‘til I see you again.”)  It turns out that Letty is indeed alive, but she’s also confused.  The crash caused her to lose her memory, and she naturally attached herself to the people who rescued her from the fiery wreckage, who, it turns out, were crooks who could use her special blend of toughness, racing chops, and smoldering sexuality (never mind that the harder she tries to smolder, the more she looks like she has indigestion).
 Not surprisingly, the most compelling character is the bad guy, Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), because he, at least, is unpredictable, and appears to have layers of motivation, as well as being a genius manipulator.  Though at one point he sneers at Toretto, in the obligatory trash talk scene, that his weakness is his loyalty to his crew, in fact, Shaw’s weakness is his lack of loyalty to his.  Letty begins to come to her senses when she realizes that the relationship doesn’t mean anything to him.  Toretto, for his part, is so painstakingly female-centered that he doesn’t even accept this expedition without permission---and Brian gets his wife’s endorsement, as well.  Nice to know that the tough guys need approval to go play the warrior hero.  Has it always been thus, you think?
 Well, yes, we have some plot twists, but it’s really all just an excuse to crash things and blow up stuff.  Who knew?  The high-browed and sensitive among us will back-pedal from this one fast and furiously.  But for those who are able to leave your intelligence at the door and tap into your inner randy juvenile action hero, who cares whether it’s realistic? Besides, any movie with an almost-sincere prayer at the end can’t be all bad.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas