DVD round-up: Fast Five, 13 Assassins, Only Fools, Corrie

The week's film and TV releases reviewed

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FILM

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DVD of the Week
Fast Five (Cert: 12)
4 stars
In a nutshell: Starry sequel that’s faster and more furious than ever

In The Expendables of car chase movies, Vin Diesel leads an enormously enjoyable reunion of returning cast members from every chapter of the adrenaline-pumping franchise. Diesel and his bank-robbing cohorts plan one last mega-heist so they can disappear for ever, while at the same time evading tenacious FBI agent Dwayne Johnson, who is closing in on their operation. Director Justin Lin overdoes the picturesque swooping shots, but that’s the only blot on the high-velocity landscape. Impossible to take seriously, with the ripped cast surely in on the joke (super-macho Johnson in particular is an absolute hoot), this is slick, white-knuckle action on an epic scale. Alan Jones

Formats: DVD and Triple Play (Blu-ray, DVD and digital download)
Extras: The DVD includes both theatrical and extended cuts, commentary from director Justin Lin and deleted scenes, with additional featurettes included on the Blu-ray

Water for Elephants (Cert: 12)
3 stars
In a nutshell: Love is a circus for R-Patz and Reese

After so much adolescent mooching in the Twilight films, Robert Pattinson emerges as a mature leading man in this engaging adaptation of the bestselling novel by Sarah Gruen. But he still manages plenty of quiet brooding in the role of lost and lonely Jacob, who runs away with the circus during the Great Depression and takes on a job as the show’s vet. He falls hard for troubled Reese Witherspoon and her elephant sidekick, but she’s married to domineering ringmaster Christoph Waltz, an Oscar winner for Inglourious Basterds, who adds fire and urgency to what is otherwise a softly smouldering romantic tale. Stella Papamichael

Formats: DVD and Triple Play (Blu-ray, DVD and digital download)
Extras: DVD includes profiles of Pattinson and Witherspoon, while the Blu-ray also features an audio commentary from the director and writer as well as various production featurettes

13 Assassins
(Cert: 15)
4 stars
In a nutshell: A dedicated band of warriors sets out to kill a warlord

There’s a whiff of the classic Seven Samurai about this excellent reimagining of a little-seen 1960s Japanese action film. But, in the hands of cult director Takashi Miike, maker of the horror film Audition, this remake transcends its humble origins to become a minor masterpiece. Koji Yakusho stars as the respected samurai who is charged with assembling a team of assassins to kill a brutal lord (Goro Inagaki) whose ascendancy would spell disaster for a peaceful Japan. The controlled set-up gives way to a terrific, 40-minute climax that’s sheer martial artistry in all its mud-splattered glory. Dave Aldridge

Formats: DVD and Blu-ray
Extras: Deleted scenes and an interview with the director

Other highlights:
A Little Bit of Heaven – Terminally ill Kate Hudson embarks on a romance
Kind Hearts and Coronets – Rerelease for the darkly comic Ealing classic
Scarface – Al Pacino and his little friend make their Blu-ray debut

TV

Only Fools and Horses: Complete Anniversary Box Set (Cert: 15)
4 stars
In a nutshell: The full Peckham saga. Lovely jubbly!

It’s one of the most beloved comedies of all time – so much so that when the 1996 outing Time on Our Hands aired, it was watched by 24.3 million viewers, the highest ever UK audience for a sitcom. Here we get the full story, from the early years in which Lennard Pearce as Grandad occupied the armchair at Nelson Mandela House to later episodes that saw Del Boy fathering a child and Rodney marrying Cassandra. The series arguably outstayed its welcome by a few Christmas specials but, at the peak of its powers, it brought unrivalled laughs and pathos, mainly thanks to John Sullivan’s writing and the performances of David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst. David Brown

Format: DVD
Extras: None

Coronation Street ­– 1990-1999 (Cert: 12)
4 stars
In a nutshell: Weatherfield as it was

It was the era when Raquel walked down the aisle to marry Curly and Deirdre was sent down for fraud (Free the Weatherfield One!), while Bet and Rita’s blazing row in the Kabin went down in history as one of Corrie’s best ever bust-ups. Relieve these great moments, plus many more, with this selection of the best episodes from the 1990s, available for the first time on DVD. True enthusiasts may also want to seek out box sets of previous decades, which handily get a rerelease, while the Best of the Noughties is set to follow on 3 October. David Brown

Format: DVD
Extras: None

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Other highlights:
Dexter – series five – Dexter struggles with his guilt but finds unexpected solace in the form of Julia Stiles
Modern Family – series two – The Pritchett clan return for another season of the hit comedy