For a quick recap, this is the latest in The Fast and the Furious franchise, following on from ‘The Fast and the Furious’ (01), ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ (03), ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’ (06), ‘Fast and Furious’ (09), and ‘Fast Five’ in 2011, all of which possibly makes this the worst named film franchise in history, so much so the marketing campaign for this instalment included a fan based vote on what to actually name the new one, and it seems the fans have a bit more common sense than the previous lot’s producers.
It’s primarily set in London, with the film imagined as a sort of bridge between the series focusing on underground racers and becoming an action platform that simply has fast cars, hot girls (including the quite stunning Gal Gadot, Miss Israel 2004, and Gina Carano, the mixed martial artist that went on an ass kicking rampage in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Haywire’ two years ago) and many, many cheesy one-liners – most often courtesy of Dwayne Johnson’s returning character, Luke Hobbs. Here we see a team up between Hobbs and Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto, as their combined forces are required to take down a highly skilled team of heist drivers led by Welshman Luke Evans (who played Zeus in ‘Immortals’, and will appear as the hero Bard in the forthcoming Hobbit films) and just maybe save an old colleague they had previously given up for dead in the process.
It starts off promisingly, with tight action from director Justin Lin (who helmed no’s 3,4 & 5), but eventually it just becomes too far fetched, and with a lot of the sequences taking place at night it’s visually a little tiresome and repetitive to watch. It also suffers massively from predictability in terms of dialogue, story, and what will happen to most of the characters, and has been to no mean degree ruined by advertising a huge ten minute or so segment of the film with the trailers shown before other previous big name releases – certain screenings of ‘Star Trek – Into Darkness’ and I think ‘Iron Man Three’. I’d already seen the same footage three times prior to seeing it in the actual film, and other frequent film goers will doubtless have the same reaction of ‘Argh not this bit again!’, especially as it comes toward the climax of the film, a climax also featured in some of the film’s normal trailers.
One of the best bits actually appears at the very end – after a screenshot of text warning people not to try any of the stunts they’ve seen at home, a tad unnecessary really, the story continues and sets up the next film, tentatively entitled ‘Fast & Furious 7’, with a surprise appearance from someone you might just recognise… Some of the shoots took place in Glasgow doubling as London (though filming took place there too whilst the Olympics were on) something which prompted Vin Diesel to state his claim to Scottish heritage and that one of his ancestors, he won’t say who, is in fact buried at the mysterious Rosslyn Chapel (the one from ‘The Da Vinci Code’). An interesting bit of trivia, but, whether or not it’s accurate, what isn’t in doubt is that he has been confirmed as the person to play Kojak in the planned big screen adaptation of the titular detective’s crime stopping antics, ironic as he used to watch Telly Savalas (the original Kojak) coming in and out of the building he grew up in whilst they were filming the tv series in his neighbourhood of New York City.