Fast & Furious 6 (3 stars)

Fast & Furious 6

If you like your stunts outrageous and your plot soapy and undemanding, this won't disappoint

For a franchise with simple tastes – gleaming cars, well-oiled muscles and bikini babes – the Fast & Furious series has always been ultra-willing to re-tune its engines. This time, we’re in London – a first – and the gang, led by Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto and Paul Walker’s ex-cop Brian O’Conner, are in league with Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), the DSS Agent who tried to bring them to justice in the previous Rio-set episode, when they heisted $100 million.

In a neat switcheroo, Hobbs wants the lawbreakers to help capture pro-hijacker Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) – though it’s not the lure of free pardons for their past crimes that motivates them. Rather, it’s the re-appearance of Dom’s ex, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) – thought dead after the fourth movie – who is working with Shaw. With Hobbs now accompanied by sidekick Riley (Gina Carano), you can almost see returning director Justin Lin rubbing his hands in glee; Rodriguez, the star of Girlfight, against ex-MMA athlete Carano – the female equivalent of last episode’s Rock vs. Diesel smackdown.

If you like your stunts outrageous and your plot soapy and undemanding, then F&F6 doesn’t disappoint. The action is exhilarating, as Lin gives us a 100mph drive-by – Canary Wharf, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station providing the picture-postcard backdrops. A race through Piccadilly Circus is arguably the best use of the landmark since An American Werewolf in London.

Evans’ “precision”-driven criminal a worthy opponent, not least with his ‘flip-car’, a Formula 1-style vehicle that tosses oncoming traffic in the air. If it sounds ludicrous, it is – though it doesn’t come close to what’s to come. Tanks, airplanes and a post-credits cameo that sets up next year’s seventh episode. While the two-hour plus running time may be too much carnage, like those old cliffhanger TV serials of old this is one franchise that knows how to keep the fans flocking back.

Fast & Furious 6 - Final Trailer

Fast & Furious 6

  • 3 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 2h 10min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Justin Lin
  • Written by: Chris Morgan
  • Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Sung Kang, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, John Ortiz
  • UK release: 17 May 2013

Justin Lin's third entry into this series sees O'Conner and Toretto team up to take down a heroin importer.