Rated PG-13 for violent action, language and sexuality.
Directed by Justin Lin
Written by Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Starring Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker and more.
Grade: One star
Long spinning in a world of its own, the “Fast and the Furious” series has finally lost its mind.
The movies first became popular by combining fast cars with wholeheartedly-embraced melodrama, creating a weird little world where people were expected to take Vin Diesel seriously. The results were both incredibly cheesy and oddly endearing, a delicate balance that turned the series into the Velveeta nachos of the movie world.
The latest installment, called “Fast & Furious 6” because even the creators have stopped pretending these are independent movies, has lost both its balance and any grip on coherent storytelling. The cheesiness has finally won, ramping up the levels of absurdity so high that any pretense at logic or reality has fled in terror. The results are absolutely hilarious at times, but rarely in the moments when the movie is actually trying to be funny.
The plot, such as it is, involves fast cars, bringing back a long-dead character, and the introduction of the most improbable unit of elite soldiers ever invented. Nearly everyone from the last movie is back, many of which you’ll have no hope of recognizing unless you’ve seen at least two of the last five movies. Director Justin Lin has a habit of assuming everyone has, regularly incorporating plot points from previous movies without bothering to re-explain their significance at all. Audience members not familiar with the series are completely lost.
Not that the movie is particularly coherent even with previous knowledge. The emotional drive of “Fast & Furious 6” is based entirely on an assumption that falls apart if you’ve watched the previous movies, making many of the big “team” moments feel hollow and annoying.
Other scenes that are meant to be highly emotional go so over the top that you can’t help but burst out laughing. The funniest moment in the entire movie, and possibly the funniest moment in any major film this entire year, is meant to be the climactic emotional scene in the movie’s central romance. I’m sure the dialogue was supposed to be very romantic and tender, but the laughter from the entire audience drowned it out.
The movie is sometimes intentionally funny as well, with Ludacris’ wonderfully dry delivery making the best one-liners sparkle. Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. The Rock) is occasionally funny as well, though most of the time his job is to stand there looking muscular. The fact that he manages to do so with more charm than Vin Diesel, the movie’s supposed star, is only one of the many reasons the movie sputters and dies.
A major flaw in the series has always been its insistence on pretending that Diesel can act, and “Fast & Furious 6” has several pointless shots where the camera lingers lovingly on the actor’s “serious” face. Paul Walker, who has no career now except for these movies, is also given a major emotional arc that’s completely beyond his acting abilities.
For action fans, the best moment in the entire movie may be in the credits scene, where Lin finally manages to effectively surprise the audience. It’s a nod to movies far better than the one you’ll be watching.
SYRACUSE — Syracuse Police arrested six people during a raid at the Syracuse 6 Movie Theater, 2428 W. 1700 South, early Thursday morning.
Police allegedly found a live sex show going on.
They received a tip from a confidential informant that the show was scheduled to take place after midnight, according to a press release from the Syracuse Police Department.
The officers obtained a search warrant and, with the help of Davis Metro SWAT members and Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force members, raided the theater. They allegedly saw three females and one male engaging in sex acts inside, the release said.
Three females, identified as Krystle Morales, 19, and Lillian Scott, 22, both of Salt Lake City; and Shelby Boyce, 21, from West Valley City, were charged with sexual solicitation, a class B misdemeanor. Boyce was also charged with possession of spice and paraphernalia, both class A misdemeanors.
Terrill Holiday, 43, of Midvale, was allegedly there to watch the performance and was charged with sexual solicitation.
Troy Manning, 33, of Centerville, allegedly engaged in a performance with the women, police said. He was charged with sexual solicitation, second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance and a class A misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia.
Anael Ibanez, 36, from Bountiful, was charged with third-degree felony distributing pornographic material and exploiting prostitution. Police said he works for a company contracted to clean the theater. He allegedly posted Internet advertisements on Craig’s List to recruit women to engage in acts of prostitution, as well as to identify interested males, police said.
He allegedly also attempted to arrange a similar encounter at the theater on at least one other occasion this past week.
The management of Syracuse 6 Movie Theater cooperated with the investigation and had no knowledge of the incidents prior to police contacting them, police said.
WEST POINT — A 15-year-old boy is in custody at the Farmington Bay Youth Center, accused of killing his younger siblings on Wednesday at their home, 25 N. 1600 West, in West Point.
The 4-year-old brother was found by his mother at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night after she returned home from running errands.
The 4-year-old and a 10-year-old boys were left in the care of the 15-year-old, according to Davis County Sheriff’s Sgt. Susan Poulsen.
When the mother returned, she found the younger boy dead of “penetrating knife wounds” Poulsen said, but believed the two other boys were missing together. She called 911 to report her sons missing. When officers arrived, they found the 10-year-old in the house, also stabbed to death.
Police began searching for the teen and found him just before midnight walking on a street in Layton. He was taken to a hospital for minor injuries, Poulsen said.
The boy is cooperating with authorities. Police don’t yet have a motive for the deaths, she said.
The deaths are now being treated as a homicide investigation. Police believe the teen acted alone. Because the teen is a juvenile, police are not releasing his name.
The teen was reported missing once a couple of years ago. He was found later that same day without incident.
The two bodies are now at the state Medical Examiner’s Office, where a determination will be made as to the cause of death.
SYRACUSE – There will be eight more beautiful smiles in these parts thanks to Smile for a Lifetime of Northern Utah Foundation.
Eight orthodontics scholarships were awarded last month to area residents, said the group’s executive director, Staci Wilson.
She also works with Coleman Orthodontics, which hosted the awards reception. The group was created by Dr. Brett R. Coleman and is the first Smile for a Lifetime in Utah.
So far 13 people have been treated, Wilson said in a press release.
Scholarship recipients are: Auston Holley, Andrea Aguayo, Bennett Simms, Emily Johnson, Kayann Bissell, Lauren Williams, Chelsie Trusty and Noah Wixom.
“The mission of Smile for a Lifetime Foundation is to create self-confidence, inspire hope and change the lives of children in our community in a dramatic way,” Coleman said.
“The gift of a smile can do all this for a deserving, under-served individual who, in turn, can use this gift to better themselves and our community,” he said.
Scholarship applications can be filled out by an individual or a parent/legal guardian. Counselors, dentists and teachers can also nominate an individual. The next scholarship selection will be spring of 2014.
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A decision on how many furlough days Department of Defense employees must take, if any, is expected soon.
That is according to many news reports that said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will make the decision following completion of a DoD budget review.
Among federal officials watching related events closely is Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, whose district covers Northwest Davis County, including Hill AFB.
He was among about 100 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in Congress who signed a letter to the defense chief late last month. It asks Hagel to review sequestration-related actions “with respect to civilian personnel, particularly the widespread use of furloughs, the firing of temporary and term employees, and the freeze on new hires.”
Bishop said Hagel indicated furloughs could drop from 22 weeks to 14 and even as low as seven.
“He (Hagel) also said he was going to send language to Congress that would give him the ability to transfer funds around so he wouldn’t have to issue furloughs.
“We may be able to avoid it all together,” Bishop emphasized. “If it does happen, it will obviously be less than what first had been anticipated. It will be less than what we had originally been told.”
Thanks to passage of a continuing resolution, more funds were available for military construction, which he called “critical as Hill is preparing for the F-35.”
Bishop said that when the House passed its federal budget, the military portion had spending almost at pre-sequestration levels.
“It clearly shows that at least on the House side (of Congress) there is a strong commitment to the military,” he said.
The significance of the military was “clearly seen,” especially in light of the latest funding cut being the third, not the first.
Sequestration can be problematic in several ways, the six term congressman said. That includes deciding how to give up fewer funds to contractors who would then have to distribute money as they see fit.
“It’s obviously unfair to civilian employees to basically cut their salary and work. I don’t want to see anyone laid off,” he said.
But if there are layoffs, Bishop said he wants a mechanism in place for what benefits and assistance those employees can receive. A priority pool from those laid off for any new positions also should be set up, he said.
“When employees are just furloughed, none of that happens. That (furlough) is really a total cut without any employee being helped to be hired anywhere else,” Bishop said.
“We are not taking the position civilian personnel should not bear sacrifices because of sequestration,” the letter to Hagel said. “Rather, we strongly urge the department to make merit-based versus indiscriminate decisions on furloughs and firing temporary and term employees and that managers be allowed the discretion to make offsetting cuts to comply with sequestration.”
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
FRUIT HEIGHTS — Now’s a good time to “Spring for a Pet” from Davis County Animal Control Services.
Adoptions of cats and dogs are a big priority at the Fruit Heights-based shelter this time of year.
By the end of March, 322 cats and dogs had been adopted, said Clint Thacker, animal control director. That compares with 210 adoptions during the first quarter of 2012.
A goal of finding adoptive homes for 1,200 cats and dogs during 2013 is on target, he said.
June of 2012 was the first month where 100 adoptions took place, Thacker said.
In an attempt to keep the trend going, 2013 is being called “The Year of 100” at animal control.
Dogs and cats can be adopted for $50. That includes vaccination, sterilization and microchip installation for each dog and cat.
A partnership with Best Friends Animal Society provides a stipend for every cat or dog adoption, Thacker said.
“That way we’re not losing revenue,” he said.
Best Friends is also assisting with advertising. The group funded a billboard on I-15 just south of the Layton Parkway exit, as well as banners just off of U.S. Highway 89 and at the shelter.
“We’re having huge success,” Thacker said. “It’s the strategic planning and partnership.”
Adoption from animal shelters saves pet’s lives, he added.
“It (animal ownership) gives a person responsibility in return for unconditional love,” Thacker said. “We see a lot of bad things in our jobs and what humans sometimes do to pets, yet they still love humans.”
The shelter is at 1422 E. 600 North, Fruit Heights, adjacent to Davis County Public Works. Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays. For more information, call 801-444-2200 or visit daviscountyutah.gov/animal_services.
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
LAYTON – Following a plummet in applicants for small business loans, activity is now on the increase.
“We’re seeing a bigger percentage of approved loans. But businesses are running lean, being cautious in their expansion plans,” said Cece Mitchell.
She is the manager of Zions Bank’s U.S. Small Business Administration lending and spoke to members of the Davis Unified Economic Development group recently at the Layton City Center.
“These rates are so low I’m amazed people are not flocking to the doors,” Mitchell said.
Small Business Administration loans now average a 5 3/4 percent interest rate for a 10-year term. That compares to 21 percent in the 1990s, she said.
“With the federal (bank) rate at zero, I can’t see banks getting any more aggressive,” Mitchell said.
“A lot of new businesses are developing, and Utah is recognized as the number one state for small business,” said Beth Holbrook, director of the Zions Bank Business Resource Center.
There are several sources of financing small businesses can consider, Mitchell said.
Personal savings is the most common source used for loans by small businesses starting out. There are no hurdles to jump over for financing or interest rates or fees, she said.
Friends and relatives come up next on the list, but Mitchell urged those taking that route to get all agreements in writing to maintain a relationship no matter what happens to the business.
Suppliers, banks and various government programs are next, followed by investors, including venture capitalists.
Individual investors are generally looking for some “great idea or a tool that improves lives,” Mitchell said.
Venture capitalists are often attracted to a bio-technology firm, currently, she said.
A “slow and steady” path of growth characterizes most small businesses, she said.
When a lender looks at an applicant, several factors are scrutinized: credit vs. capital, character and conditions of the industry cycles, among other factors, Mitchell said.
Cash flow and collateral are also key, particularly with unsecured lending hard to come by, she said.
“They need to see a business plan. That helps a businessman look at his or her business in a systematic way,” Mitchell said. Such a plan can reasonably lay out a blueprint for three to five years. She advised including managers and other employees in the process.
“I’d rather know what an owner thinks” than read a 15-page summary contained in a business plan, she said.
Key questions are: is there sufficient demand for the product? Is there a competitive advantage? Are growth projections realistic? How will you (owner) get the business to grow? How much equity does a business have? What is your business and personal credit history?
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
CLINTON – Clinton residents won’t be seeing any bump upwards in their property taxes this coming year Р at least from the city.
However, there will be a $1 a month increase in water rates and 50 cents per month for sewer, said City Manager Dennis Cluff.
“We have been short of funds from fees and have been using reserves” to balance those utility budgets, he said. State law requires that utilities be treated as self-sustaining enterprise funds.
The city council is due to hold a public hearing May 14 at about 7:30 p.m. for the tentative budget. A special meeting is set for June 20 at 7 p.m. to review and adopt the final budget.
Budgets for the city’s redevelopment agency and a special improvement district covering part of the city will also be handled as separate agenda items, Cluff said.
Highlights of the budget, which becomes effective July 1 are:
• General fund of $8,193,615
• New no positions are planned
• Street improvement projects will continue in the northeastern part of the city close to Meadows Park
• A few sidewalk and street improvements are planned
• Funds are being set aside and property may be purchased for a storm drain retention basin/park in the city’s southwestern section
• A 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase is planned for city employees, the first in many years.
Of the park project, Cluff said “our plan is to have a park within a half mile of every household. I think this will more than do it.”
The city has been partnering resources with federal community development block grant money received through the county. That has gone toward such projects as sidewalks and curb and gutter work, Cluff said.
“It’s been really good, we’ve been able to make some great improvements in some of the older areas of the city,” he said.
BY TOM BUSSELBERG
HILL AFB – Bowlers from across Northern Utah may soon be hitting the lanes at Hill AFB.
Or skeet shooters, both from base and off, could be rubbing shoulders at base ranges.
That possibility of more interaction between the state and county’s largest employer and the surrounding community is looking ever more possible as the Air Force faces massive budget cuts Р not to mention uncertainties of sequestration.
Since last November, officers and city mayors, chambers of commerce executives and others have met in a series of four meetings to explore ideas, all aimed at saving money and maximizing resources, said Col. Fred Thaden, vice-commander of the 75th Air Base Wing.
“This is a way to explore areas where we can be more efficient in conducting our mission and utilizing our manpower,” Thaden said.
Several ways are being looked at, including a couple that could be implemented shortly, he said.
A university-level intern could start working in the base library. That would help meet manpower needs and also practically aid a student, Thaden told The Islander.
“We have a number of hotel lodging facilities on base but our occupation isn’t at 100 percent all the time. Yet we need the space to accommodate groups when they come in,” he said.
Some of those rooms could be shut down and groups booked in North Davis and Weber County hotels, the vice-commander said adding, “Businesses get added revenue and the base accomplishes its mission.”
There has been interest by several area gun clubs in using base ranges, Thaden said, and the Northern Utah Bowling Congress also has expressed interest in holding some tournaments on base.
More direct community involvement in the every-other-year air show is an example of a longer-term issue, Thaden said.
“We get great community support. It costs the base quite a bit of money. We’re trying to explore ways to continue it,” he said, calling it a “great boon” to the community.
Even last year amid cold, rainy weather on Memorial Day weekend, several hundred thousand people took part.
“It’s essential that we as a community encompass this effort to help out with the sequestration, especially,” said Layton Mayor Steve Curtis.
“Hill AFB is such a vital economic driver. We need to rally around them and help them survive. I know we can do that as a community, help them with cuts wherever possible by integrating services, such as recreation,” he said.
Private sector business integration is being targeted as the East Gate Business Park takes shape, just outside the base’s east gate.
“We (Layton City) are in discussion with them (HAFB) on joint use of the runway which will bring money to them in larger amounts that they could use to help fund other things,” Curtis said.
Possible business partnerships could be formed with Boeing and FedEx, which would site their offices in the business park, but have access through the east gate. “They can then fly wherever they need to,” Curtis said.
Military-wide, such an effort isn’t new, Thaden said. Presidio at Monterrey (Calif.), was among pioneering installations to develop community partnerships.
BY SHAIN GILLET
Islander Sports Editor
SYRACUSE — Deer Creek State Park in Midvale has become the first Utah State Park to get a comprehensive, 360-degree mapping by Google’s Street View Trekker team.
Local officials are vying for Antelope Island to be next, and a Google official agreed it could happen.
The effort was made on the part of Google, which took over the Provo’s fiber-optic network in Provo. It hopes to “create a comprehensive, accurate and useful” map of the Midway state park.
“Utah’s connection to outdoor recreation is critical to our unparalleled quality of life and a robust economy,” said Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, in a press release. “We want Utah’s outdoors to be accessible to residents and visitors, and this program will provide access like we could have never imagined.”
As part of the initial mapping, students from the local high school and other community members from recreational groups such as Friends of Utah State Parks, the Mountain Trails Foundation and the Wasatch Mountain Club joined Google and Bell to launch the Trekker project.
“This tour is part of Google’s commitment to Utah,” said Google’s Charlie Hale. “Last month when we announced Google Fiber in Provo City, the nation saw Utah’s innovative and technologically savvy spirit. Today, they’ll also see the area’s natural beauty with this new imagery from Deer Creek State Park.”
The Trekker itself weighs approximately 40 pounds and stands four feet tall. As many as 15 lenses point in all directions and take photos every 2.5 seconds.
The Trekker allows for Google to map locations that vehicles are unable to get to, such as parkland trails and through narrow terrain.
Locally, a representative for Google has said Syracuse’s Antelope Island could be a target for the Trekker.
“I know there are a lot of people that live in Davis County that are encouraging Antelope Island to be the first one done in that area,” said Angie Welling of Love Communications for Google. “There is quite a bit of Davis County representation among the recreational groups, so they’ve been pushing to have the Antelope be the first in Davis County.”
Welling did not confirm that Google will come to the park, however, and said the members of Google “typically don’t release any information about where they’re going until a few days before they go out and start mapping.”
Regarding Deer Creek, Ranger Steve Bullock said the trail is very popular among bikers and hikers, as well as anglers and many other outdoor groups.
“Thanks to Google, people around the world will be able to see what we have to offer in more detail than ever before,” he said.
For more information about the Street View program, visit google.com/help/maps/mapcontent/streetview/faq.html.