Dir. Justin Lin. USA. 2011.

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The ‘Fast and Furious’ series has obviously reached  a low-point; where there is nothing new to tell except put on a show of some smartly integrated borrowed stunts (a few new ones too) and have the cast go through the motions of a furious chase and escape action frenzy. This one also misses out on the car chases. The few one-on-one’s are more of an ego thing between the two leads(played by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker). Screenplay by Chris Morgan based on the characters by Gary Scott Thompson, is pretty scatty.

Brian(Paul Walker) the ex-cop turned criminal and Mia(Jordana Brewster)  have just broken Dom(Vin Diesel) out of a 25 year jail sentence, and head to Rio where  Vince (Matt Schulze) has a new job lined up for them. They have to sneak out three cars right off a speeding train for a drug lord named Reyes (Joaquim de  Almeida) but the two decide to keep two for themselves and from therein begins the hot pursuit action that serenades the pic right from start to finish. The Feds led by Agent Hobbs(Dwayne  Johnson) and Rio cop Elena (Elsa Pataky) are close on their heels and so are the druglord and his henchmen. The pace of the film is fast and furious right on 5th gear(living up to it’s name), the action is high end liberally spangled with never-seen-before effects  and the brawn quotient is also higher thanks to the addition of muscleman Dwayne Johnson.

The whole scenario  appears bigger and more explosive than the earlier instalments. Mike Gunther’s stunt work appears to be top-end and rarified  while the complimentary FX also looks superior. The accompanying sound and background score keeps the pulse pounding at a furious rhythm and the only relief appears to be when Dom comes on the scene. His laconic silences appear to be the calm before the storm.  The entire narrative follows a free-for-all  set-up  where physics and logic have little say. It all boils down to what the filmmakers want to show and it’s done  with impunity. Lets not talk about the acting because there isn’t much of it on display. This film is more about personalities and how images can be kept alive and enhanced by exaggerated posturing.

For sure the ten year  run of this roadshow looks all set to continue - with Eva Mendes coming back into the scene- the end credit sequence makes that crystal clear!

Rating:   *  *  *

Johnson Thomas

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