8:00 PM, 6th August, 2011
Having broken notorious ex-con Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Diesel) out of custody at the end of the last film, his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and former cop Brian O'Conner (Walker) are now on the run to Rio de Janeiro to start a new life together. After a botched job - involving the attempted theft of three cars from a moving train - Dom, Brian and Mia becomes the targets of a ruthless crime lord named Hernan Reyes (the slimy Joaquim de Almeida), who had some very valuable information hidden on one of the cars. Backed into a corner by Reyes, who literally owns the city and its not-inconsiderable police force, the trio must call on some old friends to fight back and earn their freedom (and a handy $100 million in spending money) once and for all.
In addition to reuniting many cast members from previous instalments of the Fast and Furious franchise - including Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and Sung Kang (Wikipedia has a very helpful chart that shows you what characters appeared in which films) - Fast Five also adds into the mix action hardman Dwayne "I refuse to acknowledge his Disney films" Johnson as a US agent that doggedly pursues Dom and Brian after they are wrongfully blamed for the murder of some DEA agents aboard the train.
Johnson's infectiously enjoyable performance, particularly in scenes opposite Diesel, is just the tip of the iceberg of one of the most enjoyable all-out action films (it's not actually about street racing anymore) in recent memory. Brainlessly over-the-top, yet effortlessly cool, Fast Five is undoubtedly the best film in the series so far.
10:25 PM, 6th August, 2011
The Fast and the Furious may be a decade old this year, but this franchise-launching, action-packed street racing film can still hit the adrenalin-pumping spot.
The premise is straightforward: Brian O’Conner, an undercover L.A. cop (Walker) attempts to infiltrate a street racing gang headed by ex-con and elite racer Dominic Toretto (Diesel) to uncover the culprits behind a recent rash of increasingly-violent truck heists. In order to do so, the good guy cop must first partake in some less-than-legal activities to prove his worth (although he seemingly has a lot of fun doing so). O’Conner soon finds himself questioning his loyalties, however, when his newest friends become the prime suspects in his investigation.
Fans will be well aware that there have been some hits and misses in the Fast and Furious franchise over the years: the most recent entry, Fast Five, has become a fan favourite and a critical and box-office hit, while that spin-off set in Tokyo… not so much. But this is the one that started it all, and there’s nothing like reliving a solid cinema-going experience that has ‘guilty pleasure’ written all over it. Along with its classic undercover cop storyline, there’s plenty of male bonding, macho posing, rival gang posturing and even a budding romance for the more estrogen-fuelled amongst us. Couple all that with a plethora of sleek ‘doof doof’ cars, as well as some seriously cool stunts that still hold up and impress even today, and you’ve got yourself a thoroughly entertaining time ahead.