Fast & Furious 6
Director Justin Lin takes the high-speed action franchise to London, with Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson along for the ride
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel team up to defy the laws of physics anew in the fifth instalment of the cars going really fast franchise
It takes a certain chutzpah to roll out a film under the "fast" banner that lumbers in at a 130 minute runtime. Those 130 minutes might be action-packed, but fly by speedily, they do not. Equally, the lean, mean budgeting of the original (which cost around $38 million, and took $207 worldwide) has long since gone by the board, resulting in some spectacular explosions and a gloriously implausible opening gambit involving a train and a bridge, but also in a bloatedness that's at odds with trigger happy machismo of the meathead characters.
In the film's favour, you can see where that money's been spent. At least twice the first film's budget appears to have been lavished on the reservoir of baby oil required to burnish Vin Diesel and The Rock's prodigious biceps to a lustrous conker-season sheen. It's a shame this pair don't share more screen time mano-a-mano: to see them butchly sizing each other up is to watch two of cinema's most extravagant parodies of the male form square off, as fine a couple of walnut-burr heirlooms made flesh as Tom of Finland ever dreamt up. By comparison, all Paul Walker can do is twinkle blondly.
Lest any of this sounds even fleetingly homoerotic, now would be the appropriate juncture to mention that there are certainly women in this film. Some cameo strikingly in buttock form. Others actually have first names. Gal Gadot's character Gisele is even an integral part of the action. Her heroics include allowing herself to be groped on the ass in a bikini by a villain so that the team can then take the handprint necessary to pull off a daring heist. Not to give the impression she's a fondle-me-now trollop: Gisele initially pulls a loaded gun on anyone she suspects of fancying her, cementing once and for all her credentials as a balanced woman of substance.
Of course, accusing a Fast/Furious film of failing to deliver psychologically well-rounded characters is like complaining a pimped up Skyline GT-R isn't suited to the weekly shop and school run. The characters here work best when they verge on self-parody. With his resplendent bald pate and precision-goatee bearing a distracting resemblance to a paint-your-own-egg kit version of Lou Ferrigno's Hercules, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson deserves a truckload of praise for ever coming across as someone to be taken almost seriously. He undoubtedly provides a more credible anti-antagonist to our anti-heroes than the straight up villains (generic Hispanic flavour) can manage.
Like the proverbial fat person with a thin person inside desperate to get out, there's a great guilty pleasure somewhere in here, but the excessive runtime is a big black mark against the film. You simply feel that, like a lazy sculptor, somebody just couldn't be bothered to finish their job and trim the excess. What, were they worried they'd harm the intricate plot?
Starts well with dippily exciting action and daft dialogue, but outstays its welcome as it devolves into a deeply daft Ocean's Eleven riff.
Film4.com editor Catherine Bray catches an early morning screening of the new film from prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike... [caption id="attachment_2409" align="alignnone" width="508"] Shield
Film4.com editor Catherine Bray catches a film in Competition and a film in Un Certain Regard linked by their character's systematic refusal to play by the rules... [caption id="attachment_2404" alig