Following their successful heist in Brazil, Dominic "Dom" Toretto and his professional criminal crew have fled around the world: Dom lives with Elena; his sister Mia lives with Brian O'Conner and their son, Jack; Gisele and Han live together; and Roman and Tej live in luxury. Meanwhile, DSS agent Luke Hobbs and Riley Hicks investigate the destruction of a Russian military convoy by a crew led by former British SAS Major and special ops soldier Owen Shaw. Hobbs persuades Dom to help capture Shaw by showing him a photo of the supposedly long-dead Letty Ortiz, Dom's former lover. Dom and his crew accept the mission in exchange for their amnesty, allowing them to return to the United States.
In London, Shaw's hideout is found, but this is revealed to be a trap, distracting them and the police while Shaw's crew performs a heist at an Interpol building. Shaw flees by car, detonating his hideout and disabling most of the police, leaving Dom, Brian, Tej, Han, Gisele, Hobbs, and Riley to pursue him. Letty arrives to help Shaw, shooting Dom without hesitation before escaping. Back at their headquarters, Hobbs tells Dom's crew that Shaw is stealing components to create a deadly device, intending to sell it to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, Shaw's investigation into the opposing crew reveals Letty's relationship with Dom, but she is revealed to be suffering from amnesia. Dominic's crew learns that Shaw is connected to a drug lord who was imprisoned by Brian, Arturo Braga. Brian returns to Los Angeles as a prisoner to question Braga, who says Letty survived the explosion that seemingly killed her; Shaw took her in after discovering her amnesia. With FBI help, Brian is released from prison, regrouping with the team in London.
Dom challenges Letty in a street racing competition; afterwards, he returns her cross necklace he had kept. After Letty leaves, Shaw offers Dom a chance to walk away, threatening to otherwise hurt his family, but Dom refuses. Tej tracks Shaw's next attack to a Spanish NATO base. Shaw's crew assaults a highway military convoy carrying a computer chip to complete his deadly device. Dom's crew interferes while Shaw, accompanied by Letty, commandeers a tank, destroying cars en route. Brian and Roman manage to flip the tank before it causes further damage, resulting in Letty being thrown from the vehicle and Dom risking his life to save her. Shaw and his crew are captured, but reveal Mia has been kidnapped by Shaw. Hobbs is forced to release Shaw, and Riley, revealed to be Shaw's covert accomplice, leaves with him; Letty chooses to remain with Dom.
Shaw's group board a large moving aircraft on a runway as Dom's crew gives chase. Dom, Letty, and Brian board the craft; Brian rescues Mia, escaping in an onboard car. The plane attempts take-off, but is held down by excess weight as the rest of the team tether the plane to their vehicles. Gisele sacrifices herself to save Han from Shaw's henchman; Letty kills Riley and escapes to safety, but Dom pursues Shaw and the computer chip. As the plane crashes into the ground, Shaw is thrown from it, seriously injuring him, and Dom drives a car out of the exploding plane. Dom reunites with his crew, and gives the chip to Hobbs to secure their pardons. Dom and the others return to his old family home in Los Angeles. Hobbs and Elena, now working together, arrive to confirm the crew’s freedom; Elena accepts that Dom loves Letty. As Roman says grace over the crew’s meal, Dom asks Letty if the gathering feels familiar; she answers "no, but it feels like home."
In a mid-credits scene, which takes place in Tokyo, Han is involved in a car chase when he is suddenly broadsided by an oncoming car. The driver walks away from the scene after leaving Letty's cross necklace by the crash, and calls Dom as Han's car fatally explodes, saying, "You don't know me. You're about to."
Rita Ora has an uncredited cameo role in the film. Jason Statham appears uncredited in a cameo scene amid the end credits.
In February 2010, Diesel confirmed that production of Fast Five was commencing and also announced that a sixth installment was being planned. In January 2011, producer Neal H. Moritz said more:
In Vin and my mind we already know what the sixth movie is, we’ve already been talking about it. Vin and I have had numerous conversations about what that might be. And we’re starting to get serious about it right now. We just finished [Fast Five] like 4 or 5 weeks ago and we just needed a break, and now we’re gonna start focusing on that.
In April 2011 it was confirmed that Chris Morgan had already begun work on a script for a potential sixth film at the behest of Universal Studios. It was also confirmed that Universal intended to transform the series from street-racing action into a series of heist films with car chases in the vein of The Italian Job (1969) and The French Connection (1971), with Fast Five as the transitional movie. Universal chairman Adam Fogelson said:
The question putting Fast Five and Fast Six together for us was: Can we take it out of being a pure car culture movie and into being a true action franchise in the spirit of those great heist films made 10 or 15 years ago?
Fogelson said that the racing aspect had put a "ceiling" on the number of people willing to see films in the series, and that, by turning it into a series where car driving ability is just one aspect of the film, he hoped to increase the series' audience. On Johnson's character, Fogelson added "[Johnson] also wants to appear in and be integral to the action in Fast Six."
On June 24, 2011, Universal Pictures announced that the anticipated sequel was scheduled for release on May 24, 2013. Moritz and Diesel returned as producers and Lin returned to direct. In an interview with Box Office, Lin revealed that he had, after discussions with Diesel, storyboarded, previsualized and edited a twelve-minute finale for Fast Six before filming was completed on Fast Five. Lin said he shot the footage as he was unsure at the time if there would be a sequel or if he would be able to direct it, but he wanted to have input on how any sequel would end. On October 21, 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported that Universal was considering filming two sequels—Fast Six and Fast Seven—back to back with a single story running through both films; both written by Morgan and directed by Lin. On December 20, 2011, Diesel stated that Fast Six would be split into two parts, with writing for the two films occurring simultaneously. On the decision, Diesel said:
We have to pay off this story, we have to service all of these character relationships, and when we started mapping all that out it just went beyond 110 pages ... The studio said, 'You can't fit all that story in one damn movie!'
On April 23, 2012, it was announced that mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano was in negotiations to play a member of Hobbs' team. On May 1, 2012, Michelle Rodriguez was confirmed to be reprising her role as Letty Ortiz, and it was announced that Welsh actor Luke Evans had been offered a role as a villain. Evans was confirmed to join the cast on May 9, 2012, portraying the leader of a heist gang. On July 27, 2012, Joe Taslim was confirmed to appear as a villain, Jah. On February 15, 2012, Johnson confirmed that Fast Six would begin filming in May 2012, with some of the production to take place in the United Kingdom and Germany. Johnson stated that the two intended sequels would no longer be filmed simultaneously because of weather issues in filming locations, and that production on Fast Seven would only begin after the completion of Fast Six. However, filming did not officially begin until July 30, 2012. In February 2013, it was confirmed that the film would be titled Fast & Furious 6.
Filming began on July 30, 2012, in London, England, and Shepperton Studios in Surrey. While Fast & Furious 6 became only the third production to be allowed to film in Piccadilly Circus (a scene involving Diesel and Rodriguez drag racing), Lin was unable to obtain permission to shoot an elaborate action sequence there involving an exploding oil tanker, and so a replica of the landmark was built at Shepperton. The production were given only two minutes every hour to shut down the area for filming. The London shoot including filming on Lambeth Bridge. Stunt and car chase scenes began filming on location in Glasgow, Scotland on August 29, 2012, and were scheduled to conclude on September 16, 2012. The shoot took place entirely at night and involved approximately 250 crew, but none of the central cast. Sets were built on site for the scenes including a large car showroom. Filming was scheduled to take place at the former Royal Air Force base RAF Bentwaters in late August 2012 until early September 2012.
Shooting also occurred on Spain's Canary Islands including the island of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Filming had been intended to take place in Marseille, France, but was relocated to the islands to take advantage of a larger tax rebate (38%) that was estimated to lower filming costs by $20 million.
On October 11, 2012, Walker suffered an ACL injury during a stunt, forcing the production to film around his scenes until he recovered. A scene involving a plane crash began filming at the former RAF station RAF Bovingdon, Hertfordshire on October 30, 2012, and was scheduled to conclude on November 9. Filming for a car chase scene took place on Dale Street in Liverpool City Centre, and also the Queensway Tunnel over four days in November 2012. Two days of filming were spent at HM Treasury's Government Offices Great George Street, which served as a nightclub.
The final phase of filming took place in Echo Park, Los Angeles beginning on December 1, 2012. The shoot returned the series to the filming location of the original The Fast and the Furious, and required the garage setting of that film to be rebuilt by carpenters. By December 17, 2012, it was reported that filming had concluded. Post-production was heavily condensed; by March 2013, Lin was attempting to complete approximately 18 months' worth of post-production in a 12-week period. Lin was aided by five film editors, specialist teams focused on visual effects and color timing, and sound mixers that required two movie-theater-sized stages alone.
For Owen Shaw's Flip Car, Lin tasked the film's vehicle designer with developing a car capable of driving head first into moving vehicles and flipping them into the air. McCarthy and his team designed a fully functional, low to the ground, formula racing car with a ramp on its front that allowed it to catapult other cars into the air while keeping the Flip Car driver safe.
For Rodriguez's and Carano's fight in the London Underground, producers refused to let the pair attempt a stunt where their characters battle over a stair rail and fall down a stairwell, fearing a serious injury would derail filming; stunt women performed the practical stunt. Morgan's scripted rendition of the fight was described as a catfight on steroids, but Rodriguez provided input to turn it into more of a street fight. Rodriguez said: "Originally in the script, it was a lot more 'Terminator'-esque — too far-fetched to be believed... Things just happened so quick and then I'm on top? Justin and I had to bust our booties to get it more realistic. I was like, 'This [woman] needs to kick my ass!'" Rodriguez and Carano rehearsed their fight choreography over two months, with trained fighter Carano undergoing extra practice to ensure her strikes looked credible without hitting hard enough to harm Rodriguez. Under the direction of fight choreographer Olivier Schneider, the fight was designed to be brutal but realistic, representing Carano's "cop with fight training" and Rodriguez's street fighting.
The parkade explosion Shaw lures Dom's team into combined on-set pillars that could be detonated alongside dust mines which could be used as a reference for the digital artists to create the appearance of the structure sinking into itself. A scene involving Evans' character commandeering a tank was originally intended to use CGI to portray the vehicle crushing cars along a Spanish highway, but the final scene used practical effects as the tank really ran over approximately 250 cars during filming. The scene was shot over a three-mile stretch of highway in Tenerife lined with holiday resorts that had to be digitally removed to create a desolate appearance. The segment's finale that sees Roman leap to a nearby car and the tank flip was created digitally.
The scene featuring Diesel smashing his car through the nose of a Soviet-era cargo aircraft during takeoff was conceived by Lin while producing Fast & Furious in 2009. At the time, the stunt was too expensive to film and did not fit into that film's story, but Lin commissioned digital pre-visualization artists to develop a mock-up of the idea. He attempted to revive the concept for Fast Five but the technology available proved insufficient and it still did not organically fit into the story. Filming the climactic scene practically was considered unfeasible as it involved throwing tanks through the air and having cars race alongside the moving aeroplane at 100 miles per hour. Lin opted to build various plane sets instead: a thirty foot high, seventy five foot long, fifty foot wide replica of the fuselage complete with wheels; the tail of the plane with a ramp allowing the cars to drive in and out; and a full scale build of the central fuselage, with wings, engines and the nose, that could be set on fire. For Dom's car to explode through the plane's nose, a Dodge Charger was placed on a pneumatic cannon mounted inside a ramp which was then towed by a 4x4 truck, all concealed behind the plane's nose replica. This was then clad in material soaked in flammable materials. The cannon fired the Charger through the nose as the material is ignited for the practical effect. The stunt driver had a burning 40-ton plane rig chasing them down the runway afterwards. The scene involved more than 200 crew members, and over 350 visual effects (VFX) artists at VFX studio Double Negative to complete. A typical shot of the craft's destruction could take over 100 man days to complete. The VFX team combined the filmed explosions and smoke with digital augmentations to place the plane into the scene.
The film's first trailer was released during the 2013 Super Bowl on February 3. Among the six film trailers that launched at the event, Fast & Furious 6 generated widespread attention on social media, more than the other films (including Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness) combined according to data collection agency Fizziology. The extended version of the trailer had been viewed over 16 million times by February 17. The trailer's success was partially attributed to the film's stars promoting the trailer on their personal social networks. The Fast and the Furious series marketing attempted to cultivate an online fan base which was also considered to have helped promote the film; the filmmakers responded to fan interaction, conducted an online poll to decide the title of Fast & Furious 6, brought back the character of Letty Ortiz based on fan feedback and encouraged fans to document the film's production with unofficial photos. Universal marketing co-president Michael Moses said: "We’re trying to remove the studio filter as much as possible, which is a little scary because you’re ceding control... But it makes for more authentic and organic interaction with fans." The Super Bowl trailer, titled "Breathe", won two Golden Trailer Awards for Best Action TV Spot and Best Summer Blockbuster 2013 TV Spot, and the marketing campaign received a further three nominations: Summer 2013 Blockbuster Trailer and Best Sound Editing for the "Trailer" trailer, and Best Teaser Poster. A 15-piece clothing line was also produced in partnership with Guess, including T-shirts, jackets, caps and watches.
Continuing their partnership from Fast Five, the Facebook game Car Town by Cie Games and the theater chain Regal Entertainment Group (REG) collaborated with Universal in a cross-media marketing promotion. Car Town allowed players to view the trailer for the film in an REG-branded, in-game drive-in theater. The game also featured missions and locations based on the plot of the film, and allowed players to join forces with Fast & Furious 6 characters. REG offered players of Car Town the ability to purchase tickets in-game via Fandango for films at REG theaters. By buying these tickets in-game, players were given promotional codes which in turn allowed them to unlock a virtual 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8.
The premiere of Fast & Furious 6 took place on May 7, 2013, at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square, London. The film was released in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2013, with the North American release on May 24. While the film is officially titled Fast & Furious 6, its on-screen title card displays the title as simple Furious 6.
Fast & Furious 6 earned $239 million in North America and $550 million elsewhere for a worldwide total of $789 million. Calculating in all expenses, Deadline.com estimated that the film made a profit of $135.1 million. Worldwide, it is the sixth highest-grossing 2013 film and the fourth highest-grossing Universal film. On the weekend of June 14–16, 2013, it became the second highest-grossing film in the Fast and the Furious franchise worldwide behind Furious 7, as well as separately in North America and outside North America.
Outside North America, it is the highest-grossing film in the Fast and Furious series, the second highest-grossing Universal film and the second highest-grossing 2013 film. In the United Kingdom, the film took $4.4 million during its opening day from 462 screens, the biggest opening day for both The Fast and the Furious franchise and Universal in that market, the second-highest opening of 2013 behind Iron Man 3 ($4.7 million), and the number 1 film of the day with 54% of the market. It finished as the number 1 film of the weekend, taking a total of $13.8 million; this figure made it the biggest opening for the franchise, Universal, a Vin Diesel or Dwayne Johnson film, and the second-biggest opening of 2013 again behind Iron Man 3 ($17.6 million). The film opened in fifty-nine territories the following weekend alongside the North American opening, placing as the number 1 film in each and earning $160.3 million; it set opening-weekend records in the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East, and Argentina (the latter was first surpassed by Monsters University). In China, the Fast & Furious 6 opened to $6.9 million, making it Universal's highest-grossing film in the territory. It earned its 66th number 1 opening, earning $23.6 million during its opening weekend, $3 million of which came from IMAX screenings.
In North America, Fast & Furious 6 debuted simultaneously with the comedy The Hangover Part III and the animated feature Epic. It opened for midnight showings on May 23, 2013, in 2,409 theaters. It took $6.5 million, nearly doubling Fast Five's midnight gross ($3.8 million) which faced less direct competition. On its opening day, Fast & Furious 6 earned $38.7 million (including midnight earnings) from 3,659 theaters. The film finished the 4-day Memorial Day weekend in first place, taking $117.0 million, which was the fourth-highest 4-day Memorial Day opening. The audience was diverse, with Latinos representing 32%, women 49%, and 57% over the age of 25.
Fast & Furious 6 received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 69%, based on 188 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With high-octane humor and terrific action scenes, Fast & Furious 6 builds upon the winning blockbuster formula that made Fast 5 a critical and commercial success." Metacritic gives the film a score of 61 out of 100, based on 39 critics, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade moviegoers gave the film was an "A" on a scale of A+ to F.
Fast & Furious 6 was generally considered to effectively mix absurd action scenes and outrageous stunts with a predictable but enjoyable plot and character dialog. IGN's Jim Vejvoda said that the film is a crowd pleaser whose fun moments outweighed failed attempts at humor and unintentionally comical dialog. Other reviewers highlighted the likable cast, ludicrous action, playful approach to the plot, and ability to immerse the audience in the high speed chases and conflict between the two opposing gangs. Digital Spy's Ben Rawson-Jones said the tone successfully mixed self-conscious spectacle with the central characters' teamwork, bonding and familial spirit. Conversely, Slant Magazine's Chris Cabin said the film was smug, cynical and insubstantial that delivered overly sentimental drama and forced comedy that seemed unaware "of how dumb the material is". The Daily Telegraph's Tim Robey labeled the film as slow-witted with a random and generic plot, and Time Out London's Derek Adams said the film featured puerile dialog, daft performances and flat comic repartee. IndieWire said that the film forsakes realistic set-pieces (comparing it to the 2012 superhero film The Avengers), which undermined any attempts at creating tension.
Empire's Owen Williams noted that Fast & Furious 6 lacked the same surprise as Fast Five without Johnson's antagonist Hobbs, and suggested that the large cast of returning characters had made Evans' Owen Shaw unable to make an impression as the new villain. Scenes of dialog and character progression were criticized as slow, and laughably bad. Evans' Owen Shaw was repeatedly singled out as a refreshing and charismatic addition to the cast, though others described the character as generic and dull.
Lin's direction of the action set-pieces was described as lavish and exquisite. The cinematography received a mixed response. Variety's Scott Foundas appreciated the attention to spatial geography and complicated, single, continuous shots which were compared to the best of James Bond and Mission: Impossible films, and Rawson-Jones said that the nocturnal races in London made excellent use of the environment. The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy considered that the action scenes were cut too fast, failed to provide a sense of speed for the vehicles and were mired by poor angles and nocturnal settings that obscured the view. View London's Matthew Turner considered that the action lacked imagination, with the London-based segments amounting to little more than a geographically inaccurate race past landmarks.
Fast & Furious 6 DVD was released in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2013, and in Australia on October 3, 2013. In other countries Fast & Furious 6 DVD release has been confirmed for December 10, 2013. FX has purchased the rights to air the movie on its network in 2015. Following Walker's death on November 30, 2013, Universal announced that a portion of the profits from the film's North American sales would be donated to Walker's charity Reach Out WorldWide.
Lucas Vidal composed the musical score for Fast & Furious 6. In addition to Vidal's score, tracks by composer Brian Tyler from the franchise's previous installments are also featured in the film. A soundtrack album to the film was released by Def Jam Recordings on May 21, 2013. It features many electronic and hip hop tracks, including songs by deadmau5, Ludacris, and many others.
A cooperative racing video game, titled Fast & Furious: Showdown, was released on May 21, 2013. Developed by Firebrand Games and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS, the game's story ties into the events in Fast & Furious 6, including bridging the events between the story of the film and those of its predecessor Fast Five, as well as the story of other films in the franchise. It is a Grand Theft Auto-style action game and received mainly negative reviews. A mobile game, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, was developed by Exploding Barrel Games and published by studio Kabam. It was released on May 16, 2013, for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android devices. The story of Fast & Furious 6: The Game runs parallel to that of Fast & Furious 6, allowing players to race and customize vehicles alongside characters from the film.
A sequel, titled Furious 7, was announced in April 2013. Lin would not return to direct the sequel as Universal pursued an accelerated schedule for the film, with a release date scheduled for July 11, 2014, just over a year after the release of Fast & Furious 6. Lin was replaced by director James Wan that same month. After the death of Paul Walker, the release date was postponed to April 3, 2015.