Tuesday 24 October 2017

Movies: Fast & Furious 5 * *

(12A, General Release)

Paul Walker, left, and Vin Diesel ham it up
Paul Walker, left, and Vin Diesel ham it up

Paul Whitington

In Fast & Furious 1, 2, 3 and 4, street racer and former convict Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) drove loud cars, evaded corrupt cops and still managed to retain the wounded air of a man who has somehow been mistreated.

He's at it again in F & F 5, and as the cheerfully trashy action film series has progressed, the fights and chases have grown necessarily more elaborate. The stunts sail wildly over the top in this film, which shows even more contempt for the laws of physics than its predecessors.

After Dominic's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and his ex-cop buddy Brian (Paul Walker) spring Toretto from a bus that's taking him to jail, they head for Rio de Janeiro where they hole up in the favelas and plot a major heist. Rio's criminal underworld is dominated by a ruthless crook called Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) and, after Dominic and his crew have a run in with him, they hatch a plan to steal all his money in one fell swoop. Needless to say, it involves brightly painted cars without exhaust silencers and a lavish escape plan that will engage half the city's police.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson co-stars as an elite government agent who arrives in Rio to track Dominic down and in, fairness, some of the high-speed stunts make pretty spectacular viewing. Indeed there's a kind of knowingly silly undercurrent to it all that almost wins you over -- were it not for F & F 5's dreadful dialogue and the fact that it barrels on for well over two hours. The addition of Dwayne Johnson to a film series already overpopulated by bad actors leads to a hamminess overload.

Still, it's fun at times and, with a sixth film in the works, there's no sign of any end to the madness.

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