Film review by John Campbell
It occurred to me that, having now seen all six of this godawful franchise, half a day of the time allotted me in this vale of tears has been squandered in watching mind-bludgeoning stupidity. And there is a seventh coming, for we are told as much in the final scene when new tough guy on the block, Jason Statham, kills one of the gang of good-guy hoons (all of whom, I’ll wager, would go to water if thrown into the fray of State of Origin).
Vin Diesel, lured out of a retirement that entails shagging curvaceous blondes in a palm-shaded seaside casa, is back to counter the threat to world peace posed by the villain Shaw. If not an actor in the Shakespearean mould, Diesel is commendable at doing smouldering anger and delivering lines of up to nearly nine words, if not very quickly. The plot is only there to enable yet another car pile-up, fist-fight or shoot-out, while Vin’s bullet-proof crew are as cool as all get-out.
But the star of the show is Dwayne Johnson. I can’t put my finger on why I like him, but, as Hobbs, the Interpol cop, he displays the attractive quality of a bloke who simply cannot believe that he’s going to get a squillion bucks for pretending to be a boys’ own hero. In an array of spray-on T-shirts that expose arms so massive that he can get them no closer than 45 degrees to his similarly pumped torso, a smirk never seems far from his face and it is this hint of levity that makes him so much more tolerable than the dangerously deluded Diesel – the thought that Johnson might actually believe the tripe does not bear consideration.
The cinematography and stunts are sensational, as they should be for $160 million, with not one but two screeching chases that beat hands down the effort of Bruce ‘the Bruiser’ Willis in a semi on a turnpike in Die Hard 4. I left with a drumming pain behind my right eye.