Fast & Furious 6 review (Blu-ray)

Diesel, Walker, Johnson et al race into our cinemas for a sixth time with this latest entry in the increasingly bonkers Fast & Furious franchise, which continues to move away from its street racing origins and create its own car-racing-crime-thriller genre. We need a better term for that.

The story here picks up after the events of Rio with the gang all fabulously wealthy and in hiding from Interpol's Agent Hobbs (Johnson). But he soon needs to enlist their help in tracking down a far deadlier criminal gang run by some English bloke named Owen Shaw (Evans) who is in the process of stealing some hi-tech military hardware. It turns out that this gang includes Dom’s (Diesel) former flame Letty (Rodriguez), who was apparently killed at the end of the fourth instalment. In return for their cooperation they will all receive full-pardons and so they team up with Hobbs which then leads to a lot of driving cars, blowing things up and trading the types of cheesy one-liners that would make even Schwarzenegger blush.

Anyone going into this expecting some clever, well-scripted and subtle thriller has almost no chance of finding anything to enjoy here.The action is over the top, and if I am being generous the dialogue is utterly atrocious and the acting ranges from wooden to cheesy. But for those who want to watch cars perform ridiculous stunts, watch The Rock beat the living crap out of people and wonder whether or not Diesel is capable of playing any other character, this is the perfect film. Now I was not the biggest fan of the franchise but Fast 5 was strangely brilliant and though this doesn’t manage to reach quite the same heights, it is still great fun.

Obviously, even if you leave your brain in your other car, there is still plenty to moan about with this film. While cars are speeding down roads or blows are being traded in one of the many well choreographed fight scenes there is little to complain about, but all too often we are treated to some overly sentimental moments between Brian and Dom, Brian and Mia, Dom and Letty or Dom and Hobbs. Surely it is only a matter of time before Fast & Furious morphs into a heartwarming love story between these two? There is a 20-odd minute period during the middle of the film where I totally lost interest as the racing/fighting/hilarious one-liners were cast aside and the sentimental stuff took centre stage.

But for all its horrific dialogue, its predictable plot and the deluded idea that we actually care about these characters, this is a stupendously enjoyable film. I can genuinely say that I have not laughed more at a film this year though I don’t know if all of those laughs were intended by the scriptwriters (I somehow think they weren’t). It is an utterly ridiculous film which, when not entertaining the audience with hilarious dialogue, pulls out some gloriously stupid set-pieces. At one point during a chase involving a tank, Dom appears to gain the power of flight, while the final set-piece takes place on an apparently never-ending airport runway. Special mention must also go to the very last scene of the film which brought about an almighty cheer from the audience. Stick your brain into neutral and enjoy one of the most enjoyable rides of the summer.

EXTRAS ★★★★ There are two versions of the film, theatrical and extended. You also get an audio commentary with director Lin; three deleted scenes (1:40); the four-part featurette The Making of Fast & Furious 6 (The Fastest of Them All, 10:06, Reuniting the Team, 7:34; Letty's Return, 4.42; The Mastermind and The Mole, 4:21); the four-part featurette Planes, Tanks, and Automobiles (The London Chase, 7:56; Highway Heist: The Convoy Attack, 6:28; The Antonov Takedown, 6:18; Dom and Letty Race Again, 3:35); the featurette Hand To Hand Fury (9:44); the featurette Take Control (19:18); the three-part featurette It's All About The Cars (On The Set With Vin, 3:16; Gearhead's Delight, 6:27; The Flip Car, 5:23).

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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