Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Animadversion: Six down and still fast

June 09, 2013

The Fast & Furious franchise is nowhere close to hitting the breaks or slowing down. Why would it, when they have another fan-pleasing masala event with trademark hi-octane cars, a big muscled cast and logic-defying stunts?

Fast & Furious 6 picks up the beat from Fast Five which had a big heist, some character build-up and a clincher at the end that re-introduced Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Dominic’s (Vin Diesel) soul mate who supposedly died in part four.

A franchise recapping title sequence of the last two Fast films leads to Dominic and Elena (Elsa Pataky) cozying in a calm life in Canary Islands. But trouble arrives in paradise when Diplomatic Security Service agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) hands over info that Letty has been seen with a gang of thieving fast drivers, headed by ex-special forces operative Shaw (Luke Evans). The gang has stolen components of a device that can disable power in its vicinity with plans to sell it to the highest bidder in the international black market.

Hobbs needs Dominic’s team, who in return will be pardoned by the US government. His roll call is the comedic relief Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), the couple Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) and brother-in-law Brian (Paul Walker), who leaves his newborn boy and wife Mia (Jordana Brewster) to go against Shaw’s gang. A special mention goes to Gina Carano (the ex-mixed martial artist and star of Haywire) who plays Hobb’s partner Riley, who steals the show whenever she throws punches, body locks or tackles.

Exuberantly directed by Justin Lin (of the last four Fast & Furious films) and loosely written by Chris Morgan, it’s all about action and personalities and this film has fast cars jumping out of cargo planes, tanks that make scrap iron out of cars, and midair human catching. It doesn’t need much else — except maybe another sequel. Fast & Furious 6 is released by Universal and Footprint Entertainment, and rated PG13.

Epic: adventures in the forest Blue Sky Studios’ lush, beautiful feature, Epic, is wonderful as kiddie fodder.

In it, 17-year-old M.K. (Amanda Seyfried) comes to live with her estranged father in the middle of nowhere after the death of her mother. Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), a typical all-klutz, absent-minded professor with no social skills, lives close to a large scenic forest in his cluttered home with his high-spirited, three-legged dog, Pug.

As this is an animated film, Professor Bomba isn’t a loony guy wasting his time on nonsense for the forest is filled with tiny people called Leafmen. The Leafmen are an army that rides hummingbirds headed by Ronin (Colin Farrell) the leader of the soldiers with a semi-surrogate son named Nod (Josh Hutcherson).

The Leafmen have a job of protecting their Queen Tara (Beyoncé Knowles), a magical being who take care of all the life in the forest. Here the baddies are rot-spreading Boggans, whose leader is Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), who wants to destroy everything.

Directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots), and loosely inspired from William Joyce’s book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs (with a story by James V. Hart, Daniel Shere, Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember), the film is written with adventure in mind and no emphasis on plot.

Epic lags in story and depth, but visually it is breathtaking with excellent flight sequences that profit with every dive and swoop of the film’s 3D medium. There’s also an entertaining side cast, including Nim Galuu (Steven Tyler), a yellow caterpillar aping the Wizard of Oz, Mub the slug (Aziz Ansari) and Grub the snail (Chris O’Dowd), who bring continuous elements of comedic banter.