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Fast & Furious

After the mediocre response to its last outing, the Fast and the Furious franchise appeared doomed.  However when desperate times call for desperate measures, an eager producer’s limits knows no bounds.  Recruiting its original stars and returning to the first film’s flavour, the mega bucks this fourth entry has already generated vindicates the old maxim that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. 
Continuing his dodgy dealings in Central America, wanted criminal Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) receives a nasty shock.  Learning his girlfriend has been murdered, he follows a deadly trail leading to the doorstep of notorious druglord Braga (John Ortiz).  Also on Braga’s trail is FBI Agent Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) who, assigned to arrest him, sees the chance to settle some old scores.  Clocking a mileage of revenge and redemption, both men zoom full throttle towards achieving their own desired quests.
These films are almost like its characters - defying you to criticise them.  As a willing paying customer you know what to expect and that’s exactly what you get.  If you want loopy plotting, risible dialogue all mixed with macho men, hot chicks and fast cars then this is the place.  Fast and Furious is shameless escapism at its best and it knows it - and all the more enjoyable for it.  Directed with great energy by Justin Lin, each frame is painted in broad comic book strokes with the goodies and baddies wearing gangster bling with pride.  Pleasingly there is a bit more to chew on plot wise this time as the dynamics between the leads continually change between being friends and foes giving events more dramatic weight. 
It’s generally the car racing fans want to see and there are loads on display.  Of particular note are the opening and closing stunts effectively bookending events with a tunnel death-race a novel twist.  Diesel and Walker slip into their roles with ease and are given their moments to shine, with Diesel increasingly becoming the new Arnie with his barrel chested mumbler eagerly swatting the bad guys.  The decent CGI work is another bonus although thankfully the stunts are mostly done ‘for real’ making them more exciting.
A typical current example of presenting bare bones action with little story, Fast and Furious is entertaining nonsense.  Breathlessly announcing a fifth entry upon this one’s huge success, its producers must thank their lucky stars that four wheeled demons are just as much in vogue as the ones Marlon Brando rode in similarly themed rebel flicks over fifty years ago.
Rating out of 10:  6

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