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5.0 out of 5 stars "...Ratchet It Up..." - Fast & Furious 5 on BLU RAY, 21 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Fast & Furious 5 - (Blu-ray + DVD) [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
You would think after 4 movies of high-octane action-packed boys-will-be-boys vehicular carnage that number 5 in the franchise would suffer from repetition and an inevitable fizzle out of thrills. But in fact Fast & Furious 5 is the opposite. Never have I seen a more ludicrously entertaining actioner film - starting out like a great AC/DC riff that just keeps on going until you're whooping in your chair come the clever pay-off ending...

After a daring break out in the USA from a moving prison bus - this time we find Dominic 'Dom' Toretto and his carjacking pal Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) holed up down in Rio de Janeiro with Dom's sister and Brian's lady Mia (Jordana Brewster). They need money and a heist of vintage cars seems like an easy mark - but things go wrong and three DEA agents get killed. Dom's gang are not just fugitives now - but on the FBI's most wanted list.

Sent in to hunt them down comes Sergeant Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and his crack team of special ops - aided by local cop Elena who has lost her husband to gangland violence (the beautiful Elsa Pataky). Cue revving of super-charged engines, eyeball-bleeding editing, public building destruction, babes in sweaty teeshirts (lovely) and set pieces with moving trains and a ten-ton bank vault tied to the back of two cars to be used as a wrecking ball. You'll be sat there with your popcorn mid air and your jaw dropped open...

Why is it so good? Like Bond - this is a film series that exists only to entertain. Mix this in with a plausible backstory, great use of Rio's inner city Favelas for chase sequences (above and below), a posse of actors and actresses you can't help but like - and visually ingenious car stunts that escalate until the rip-roaring bridge finale - and frankly what's not to love? There's believable chemistry between Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, funny one-liners for the wisecracking duo of Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson, a fast motorbike for Gal Gadot and $100 million dollars for Sung Kang to steal from a Drug Lord (Joaquim de Almeida as Reyes) who has the police in his pocket and the poor people under foot.

Unlike other franchises - F&F also genuinely works for and with the fans. This is evident in the huge amounts of fact-filled extras (70 minutes worth) featuring deleted scenes, breakdowns on how the hair-raising and dangerous stunts are done - and interviews with the actors having a laugh to camera throughout. Your admiration for the stuntmen will know no bounds.

Defaulted to 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio - there are bars on the top and bottom of the screen. But even stretched to Full Screen - and with a budget in excess of $100 million - F&F5 looks incredible. The pounding English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix delivers too. Subtitles are English SDH, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Dutch, Icelandic, Korean, Portuguese and Traditional Mandarin.

In a fit of staggeringly informative grammatical imagination - the Sunday Mirror kindly tells us on the outer box that Episode Five of the series is "Fast, Furious And Fun". Luckily this stunning actioner has a little more than that monosyllabic summation to offer you. Put more elegantly - it absolutely f***ing rocks. And would you Adam and Eve it - Fast & Furious 6 is even better.

Hand me that machine gun and tin of Castrol GTX baby - I'm off to save the world - yet again...
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