“Fast & Furious 6” is preposterous, utterly ridiculous and silly beyond imagination.

That’s exactly what makes it work.

The latest in what has essentially become the James Bond for gearheads franchise embraces its inner goofiness – so over the top that you can’t help but be entertained. 

This film begins with Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his crew on the lam after their successful Rio heist. 

Dominic is approached by federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) about a possible pardon for all involved if they can help bring down a criminal outfit that’s trying to steal top secret government weaponry.

At first Dominic is reluctant, but when he discovers that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – his former girlfriend who he thought was dead – is part of the criminal group, he agrees.

This sets off a series of fast-paced set pieces, with the stunts getting crazier and more outlandish as the film progresses.

I have never really been a fan of the “Fast” franchise, but I admit this one kind of worked. Maybe I’m just getting softer with age or maybe the bombastic style of this franchise has finally worn me down, but I found myself more involved and more entertained by this installment.

It helps that this cast, which also includes Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, seem to understand how cheesy this all is and they roll with it. They are clearly having fun and that fun seeps off the screen, transferring to the audience.

The set action pieces are also well-crafted, as long as you don’t stop to think about them.

This franchise is managing to pick up steam. A tease during the closing credits that introduces a new action star to the franchise proves there is plenty of mileage left for a series that doesn’t try to do anything but be goofy fun.

On that level, it is a success – a movie that lets you put your brain on autopilot for a few hours, sit back and enjoy the ride.

Also in theaters

While one franchise continues to improve, another – “The Hangover Part III” (C-) – is going in the wrong direction.

Billed as the final installment of the comedy trilogy, this movie takes a big risk and fails.

In this “Hangover,” Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is the focus, struggling to keep it together after his father dies.

This leads to an intervention by the rest of the wolfpack – Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms) and Doug (Justin Bartha) – who convince Alan to go to Arizona to check into a mental health treatment center that can help him get his life back together.

The trip goes haywire when a mysterious gangster (John Goodman) kidnaps Doug and demands they help him recover money that was stolen by Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). 

“The Hangover 2” had a lot of critics who were upset that the film was basically a carbon copy of “The Hangover.” (I actually didn’t mind it).

Director Todd Phillips, who also co-wrote the script, appears to be catering to those critics in “Hangover 3” with a film that goes in a completely different direction – it’s a much darker film.

I applaud the decision to be different, even if it is a miscalculation.

The biggest problem is putting Alan and Mr. Chow in the spotlight. These characters are fine in small dosages, but having them front and center the entire time only exposes that these aren’t very likable people. It’s kind of hard to laugh much at a psychotic and a man with serious mental issues.

The rest of the cast appears to be disinterested, especially Cooper, who looks like he would rather be anywhere else.

I think the same thing can be said for most of the audience. This is a franchise that has seen its better days.

“The Hangover Part III” is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references, some violence and drug content, and brief graphic nudity and is now playing at the Regal Bowling Green Stadium 12 and Highland Cinemas in Glasgow.

— To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton’s up-to-the minute thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. You can also email him at mcompton@bgdailynews.com.


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