It's fairly safe to say that almost everyone with at least a passing interest in a nice Friday DVD-night enjoyed the first movie in this Vin Diesel action series, The Fast & the Furious.
The second perhaps less so, the third one definitely not so, and the fourth... well, while still enjoyable it was getting really old, really fast.
Everyone except Hollywood would have called a time out by this stage. But being Hollywood and not letting go of an opportunity to make a quick buck, they quickly released the fifth movie in the series, demurely called Fast Five, before audiences could catch their breath.
How surprised was I to watch it and to find that I not only enjoyed it, but that it is arguably the best in the series - even better than the original!
Now just hold your engines a moment and let me explain. It's still not cranium fodder, but the okes certainly managed to fine-tune the recipe. Unlike its predecessors, Fast Five also doesn't try to be bright-eyed and splashy - no, this is all-out gassoline gussling stuff and it works really well.
Dwayne Johnson (formerly known as 'The Rock') is an especially awesome addition to the pack, even if he overacts just a tad. But the man's biceps make ol' Vin Diesel look like a snot-nosed preschooler - which is worth the admission fee to see all on its own.
Some of the set-pieces are a little too obvious (would you have guessed there will be a one-on-one showdown between Vin and Dwayne?) but for the most part the action sequences are visceral, heart pounding stuff.
Previous Fast & Furious films kept things fairly above board on the killing side - our heroes were reluctant criminals after all that only really boosted cars - but this time around the goody two shoes gang steps out of that character and lays into many an enemy with guns (and no, I'm not talking about Vin and Dwayne's biceps).
Although it may be a departure for the series, this is no doubt what would have happened in real life and it certainly makes the film more believable and gritty. Just don't expect things to be a sclean shaven as before - but at least it's not gory.
All-in-all, this is a Furious movie that is way worth the rental fee. It's exceptional action for a Friday night, even if it won't leave your brain oozing with concepts and new ideas. Still, it's switch off the old noggin' time - sit back and enjoy!
A few trailers, the usual director commentary and a few deleted scenes - nothing to write home about. The only real extra is a look at the way the cars have changed over the five films from splashy neon to gas-gussling seriousness - interesting if you're a petrolhead but it doesn't really add all that much to the film.