And the Oscar goes to... the cars

| 18 Aug 2011

Excuse the staccato. On a Boeing 777, heading for Monterey, can't sleep. Just watched Fast Five – sequel to the sequel to the sequel to the sequel to The Fast and The Furious – on a 3x4in monitor in the seat in front. Verdict? Erm, well it's a long flight so it neatly filled a couple of hours. No worse that the first, either. Let's leave it at that.

Certainly not joining my 'fave car flicks' list, although I must confess there are a few ropey ones in there already – Redline 7000 anyone (badly cut-together race scenes, husky bird in an MG 1100 et al)? I also have a soft spot for the decidedly average Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry as well – bit of a muscle-car theme developing, and that's before you mention the obvious Vanishing Point, Two Lane Blacktop etc.

Anyway, the reason for this is the cars in F5 as it is known, apparently. Like earlier editions in the  franchise, it likes to use classics but, again like its predecessors (and indeed the naff Nic Cage Gone in 60 Seconds remake), it can't seem to resist buggering about with them. The GT40 has a modern sat-nav system – although, rather pleasingly, bad cop 'The Rock' does comment on it being "a crime in a classic" – the '63 (I think, not my specialist subject) Vette is done up as the Mako Shark concept car [the jet-lag must have got to you Al, that's a Grand Sport Roadster] and, worst of all, the nice early Pantera is dripping with chrome and low-profile rubber.

Then comes the film's salvation: our heroes try to blend into the background in Rio, on the run from the scary Mr 'The Rock' (iffy actor-wrestler drops the wrestler bit). And what cars do they use for this undercover mission, to meld seamlessly with the local pick-ups, Chevy Caprices and Beetles? Why, a deliciously scruffy matt-black 1970 Dodge Charger and a super-cool and beautifully detailed early two-door Nissan Skyline, of course! Sorry, can't tell you a year for the latter (rather more subtle than the one pictured above from C&SC's June 2009 article) without reference material, but '60s (I think), a GTR (the first?), and über-cool.

So no, not a great flick, but worth it for a glimpse of car-porn – can't believe that neither of the petrolheads beside me spotted the Skyline. So come on folks, top five great cars in stinky movies?