DOUBLE TROUBLE: Walker and Diesel reunite to take on a new mission.
It's sporadically engrossing, at times absurdly over-the-top, but the thrilling stunt-work, physics-defying action sequences, and ample dose of humour make this latest instalment (the sixth) in the Fast & Furious blockbuster franchise one of the most fun and exhilarating cinematic experiences you'll have this year.
Returning to the director's chair, Justin Lin favours stunts and insane speed over solid and sensible dialogue. Thankfully, however, he proves to have deft touch with pacing behind the camera and demonstrates a grasp of how to bring all the elements into one helluva entertaining package.
In a nutshell, it's another tall tale of boys and their toys and tough girls who want a piece of the action, proving they can hold their own in the company of dangerous men -- chiefly the hard-to-ignore Michelle Rodriquez, who eerily reprises the role of Letty, and Gina Carano as a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners broad with whom she has a knock-down drag-out encounter.
For those who are familiar with the series, the story isn't hard to follow. After taking down a kingpin's empire, which left them $100 million richer, the crew has scattered across the globe, living on the lam, until agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson) catches up with them, and offers them a trade-off for their freedom: reunite the team and help him bring down the mastermind of deadly skilled group of mercenary drivers, which has been cris-crossing the globe wreaking havoc. To say the least, they all get much more than they bargained for.
Familiar faces Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges all reprise their roles with varying degrees of relish. Diesel still oozes enough machismo to fuel an army tanker.
The writing leaves a lot to be desired, but there is no shortage of heady speed chases and slickly choreographed fight scenes. Very much like the motor cars themselves (which seem to function on Red Bull), the movie's 130 minutes zip past, building to a heart-pounding crescendo, involving a race against time to save lives and the testing of the bonds of friendship. Tyrone's Verdict: B+