Today: February 25, 2024

Fast Five

Somewhere along the way the team behind this totally expected sequel forgot what made the Fast and Furious franchise so popular in the first place.

Somewhere along the way the team behind this totally expected sequel forgot what made the Fast and Furious franchise so popular in the first place. Ten years after the first instalment delighted teenage boys the world over with its endless supply of pimped out rides and half naked girls, this one takes us to Rio but it’s more of a poor man’s Ocean’s 11 then most may expect.

Ex-cop Brian O’Connor (Walker) and his girlfriend Mia (Brewster) kick things off by breaking her brother Dom (Diesel) out of prison in typically ludicrous fashion but are backed into a corner in an effort to elude the authorities. Luckily for them, that corner happens to be Rio de Janeiro, the stunning sun soaked city located in Brazil. Taking inspiration from every cop film ever made, the crew decide to forgo poverty and do one last job for a £11 million payday, a sum of money which according to Roman (Gibson) “could get a whole lot of vaginal activity”. Unfortunately they have to take on Rio’s most powerful gangster and ward off a trigger happy federal agent Hobbs (Johnson) but that won’t stop them from saying stupid things and playing with cars now will it?

The bile this franchise induces from critics is legendary but at least with a Fast and Furious film you know exactly what you’re going to get, but this time we have to wait 90 minutes to actually see a drag race and when it comes it isn’t even that good. Speaking of waiting, at 2 hours and 10 minutes Lin is truly pushing his audience to the limit. Each set piece is as stupid as the last – flying cars off bridges, catapulting buses that leave no casualties and vaults being dragged through cities – and are utterly enthralling and enjoyable but it’s the mind-numbingly boring bits in between that ruin the fun.

It’s fun nonetheless if you accept what you’re about to see which is cheesy lines aplenty, questionable sexual politics and the loudest, most bone crunching fight between The Vin and The Rock that may cause temporary deafness for everyone who see it. Speaking of Johnson, he is undoubtedly the star of the show. Not only is the former WWE star as wide as the screen and walk like Toy Story’s Rocky, each line is delivered with vigour and despite everyone else looking cool in the Brazilian breeze he is perpetually sweaty with and constantly sports furrowed brows. He’s almost the anti-hero you secretly want to win and Johnson should definitely steer clear of kid’s comedies in the future and utilise his skill for making the unbearable bearable.

Everyone else is as you expect; Diesel does some shouting and growling, Walker tries – and fails – to do some acting, the women pout and the men use everything on offer as it were an all you can eat buffet. The direction is simple and lurid and in case you forget where it’s set, there’s a shot of Rio’s Christ The Redeemer statue every 10 minutes as a reminder.

Despite its overlong running time, it’s sadly devoid of any actual drag racing but the Fast and Furious devotees won’t care either way, just make sure you stay through the credits for a bonkers set up to part 6. It’s actually the best bit in the whole film.

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