Saturday, 23 April 2011



A fantastic, fast, furious fifth installment.

12A, 130 Minutes. Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordan Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, Matt Schulze & Dwanye Johnson. Director: Justin Lin. Screenplay: Chris Morgan

Time to give into your convictions because cinemas greatest guilty pleasure has returned, just when you thought enough sequels was enough 'The Fast & Furious' franchise forward throttles into 'Police Academy' numbers for 'Fast Five', the latest and possibly greatest parts of the series in terms of excitement and action. Vin Diesel is back in the drivers seat, with Paul Walker riding shotgun as the best of the rest of the films return to car pool in an ensemble, heist piece which has shades of the 'Italian Job' and 'Oceans Eleven'. Set in the stunning, beautiful city of Rio who needs to watch a film about an animated bird? Instead if 'Fast Five' is your pick this Friday expect the heat to be turned up in one of the hottest action films for years, complete with more action, more bullets, more cars, more girls and more guys willing to go to the cinema then ever before.

In the confusingly titled 'Fast & Furious' fourth film, Vin returned to act, fine-tune, produce and help put the Diesel back in this franchise and what has resulted is a brand new saga to a series that was running on fumes when it drifted through Tokyo. Now Diesel and Paul Walker are on top, career-saving, re-defining form and what's more they've brought some old friends along for the ride. Matt Schulze (Vince) returns for the first time since the original film to make things interesting and awkward with Walker's Brian character. While we are given a double dose of '2 Fast 2 Furious' as singer Tyrese and rapper Ludacris return to bring more entertainment to this exciting, thrill-ride. Jordan Brewster is also back as Brian's love interest to give this white knucklehead ride more heart while franchise favourite Sung Kang returns with a rest-assured resurrection, despite looking like his work was done after 'Tokyo Drift' (you've got to love prequels). Still, if that doesn't make you believe in ghosts be prepared for more surprises as this so-called 'dumb' film follows it's heart from the last movie and tries to get all clever entering twist territory.

The plot obviously is simple, but still the thrills and spills that are better then most more then make up for a paint by numbers artistic direction. Following the fourth installments end Brian and his new other side of the law pals unbelievably break Diesel's, Dominic "Dom" Toretto character out and what follows is more sensational stunts and awesome action that are more ludicrous then the movies supporting cast. Still, it's all part of the inhibition-aside action that make this picture one of the best reasons to put that diet on hold and pick the popcorn back up. This is the perfect weekend picture, as watching these criminal characters on the run is the best movie escapism you'll see all year. In-between drag racing cop cars and pulling vaults across the freeway and making Michael Bay's 'Bad Boys 2', car-dropping direction look tame (and to do that to the man that took 'Transformers' too far is an achievement in itself), Dom and his crew have to evade the capture of Dwanye Johnson's DSS Agent character. As 'The Rock' keeps rolling, he becomes a welcome addition to this series, even making Vin Diesel look puny in comparison... (mini-Rock anyone? (pebble?)) that is until they fight, that's when you know it's really on.

With 'The Rock' cooking up more action and Diesel and Walker firmly back in control of this franchise this film motors forward and with great performances from the charismatic Tyrese, the hilarious Ludacris and the cool and collected Sung Kang, plus a cameo this writer predicted and you'll be glad to see coming this franchise has all the right parts to have enough left in the tank for a sixth movie. You best believe it's coming and after this movie there will be no doubt you'll want to see it coming. Like a hitch hiker left at the side of the road even this films worst critics and everyone will be left with their thumbs up. With everyone back and on the right path this series has enough torque to go the distance and it's thanks to action packed, adrenaline fuelled films like this. The 'Race Wars' junkies may be a little disappointed with it's lack or races but the other set-pieces more then make up for it. Either way though even Charlie Sheen knows winnings winning and this film doesn't do this by an does it by a mile. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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