Complete A-Z list


Fast and Furious Five (UK)/Fast Five (US)

8/10

Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky, Jordana Brewster, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Joaquin de Almeida

Director: Justin Lin

Faced with a cast headed by muscle-bound monoliths Vin Diesel and Dwayne (“Don’t call me “The Rock”) Johnson, director Lin sensibly focuses on action, not acting, and in the process revives an apparently moribund franchise. Stay for the end credits and you will see a shameless plug for the sequel.

The setting is the grittier parts of Rio (without a single cute blue talking macaw in sight) and there’s even a plot of sorts - the reunion of partners-in-crime Diesel and Paul Walker planning their final big job with their gang, a $100 million heist that will fund their future freedom and bring an end to the depredations of vengeful and corrupt druglord de Almeida. But you need not bother to follow the feeble narrative machinations. Simply sit back and savour the melee of spectacular stunts, febrile fisticuffs, automobile crashes and assorted all-round mayhem that is the film’s raison d’etre. If you’re an adrenaline-driven action addict, you’ll happily ignore the preposterous plotting and wooden performances and enjoy a fast-driven action show that puts the ‘car’ into carnage.

It’s starts fast and furious and continues that way with thrilling set pieces that more than compensate for the lack of anything approaching real acting. Intellectual stimulation is deliberately eliminated. And should you wonder just how Lin revived the franchise, he employed no fewer than three editors (Christian Wagner, Kelly Matsumoto and Fred Raskin).

Incidentally the rating 8/10 is for action: performances get 4/10

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Universal Pictures. Colour.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Apr 2011