By Rama Gaind
Film: Fast and Furious: Fast Five
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Matt Schulze, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Elsa Pataky, Joaquim de Almeida
Director: Justin Lin
Built on speed, this is one film where the story tends to move slowly, but the action is top notch.
Vin Diesel is Dom Toretto, a criminal with street-racing in his blood, who plans a heist in Brazil and in the process Dwayne Johnson becomes a part of the reunion of some of the stars from previous installments.
Former policeman Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend Mia (Brewster) help Dom to escape from a prison van and join him in Rio de Janeiro.
Director Lin takes the time to show some stunning cityscapes with the expertise of cinematographer Stephen F. Windon, together with some hair-raising action as they steal some luxury cars from a fast-moving train.
When they catch the eye of the corrupt local rich guy Reyes (de Almeida), no effort is spared in causing him a lot of grief.
As they are forced to confront a shared enemy, Dom and Brian engage in a new conviction that sets them on a path to outdo their common enemy. As a result, they push the limits from behind the wheel – all the while partaking in elaborate convoy heists and crossing international lines in meticulously executed tunnel crawls.
While screenwriter Chris Morgan throws in some light dialogue that invite some smiles, Johnson seems to have no trouble injecting some fun into delivering his faltering technique.
Walker and Brewster are anything but sophisticated and if you couple that with the knowledge that Fast and Furious Six is on its way soon, then you will really need to be a die-hard fan to continue watching this franchise.
Fast, furious and loud, this is one of those films that doesn’t require much concentration. It’s total escapism.
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Australian actor Chris Hemsworth has travelled well from his Home and Away days and proves his worth in this title role from a Marvel comic.
A spectacular torso is one distinguishing feature of this blonde, blue-eyed Adonis who has been banished from his world of Asgard and sent to live among humans on Earth.
On terra firma he falls right into the path of astrophysicist Jane Foster (Portman) and her offsiders Erik (Skarsgard and Darcy (Kat Dennings). It doesn’t take long for him to become one of this planet’s supreme defenders.
This is an energetic, funny fantasy directed by Kenneth Branagh, the Shakesperean actor-director who starred in his own movie versions of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V.
The wonder and majesty of Thor’s world is well-conveyed by Branagh, who also stirs in some elements of fun as the God of Thunder competes with life in the human world.
While Hemsworth combines down-to-earth likeability with superhuman physical traits, Hopkins plays his father Odin with pride.
Special effects and high-spirited action can be overwhelming, at times – and it’s certainly more overpowering than a figment of one’s imagination.