I viewed this “blind” without having seen any of the previous “Fast & Furious” offerings. Previously a series which apparently involved car theft and street racing held little appeal . I am pleased to report that my preconceptions were wrong, and I thoroughly enjoyed two hours and twenty minutes of preposterous fun.
The moral problem of rooting for robbers is side-stepped by the fact that they are robbing from even badder guys – a drug baron and his cartel. Vin Diesel enjoys himself enormously as the robbers head honcho, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson enjoys himself even more as Hobbs his special forces nemesis charged with hunting him down.
The plot itself is a classic Hollywood formula. The robbers double cross each other, the good guys are sent to catch the bad guys who are out to steal from the even badder guys. The chief good guy hooks up with the prettiest girl, the bad guys come unstuck, but so do the good guys, who then form an understanding to thwart the even badder guys.
Director Justin Lin directs with style and brio with car scenes used sparingly, and therefore very effectively, the gaps being filled in with old fashioned heists, rip-offs, foot chases and shoot-outs. Elena Neves as the honest cop is hot and shades Jordana Brewster as the gangsters moll. The Brazilian/ Rio location shots are milked for all they are worth with plenty of swooping over the favelas, Christ the Redeemer ,the Corcovado mountain and the Copacabana.
The climax, a raid on a vault is plain silly, but great fun and Paul Walker is excellent throughout playing alongside Vin Diesel. A minor problem is that the normally imposing Diesel is physically dwarfed by Dwayne Johnson who is clearly here to stay for the next instalment. An adrenaline rush from start to finish with blue skies, stunning scenery, pretty girls, muscle bound guys and fast cars , clichéd? Yes. Fun ? Hell, yes too!