IF the average car has five or six gears, one suspects that those driven by Vin Diesel in the Fast and Furious films depend on no fewer than 11. Such is the absurdity of the world they inhabit.

To say the least, I’m fairly certain my little red Suzuki Alto would struggle to parachute from an active plane.

When Gary Scott Thompson first conceived his little tale of illegal street racing, back at the turn of the century, it was to be a cut and dry trilogy.

Two decades later, three has become ten and the Fast and Fast franchise has raked in well over six billion dollars worldwide. It’s no mean feat.

Named simply: F9, the latest in the series comes from returning director Justin Lin. His is the script too, co-penned with Daniel Casey. The regular cast are all back in place, with one very familiar face that we haven’t seen in some time.

We open in flashback. A dark reminiscence of 1989. A terrible accident. A death. Devastating ramifications. In the present, Dom Toretto (Diesel) is enjoying life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Roderiguez) and their son. It’s a quiet life but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon.

Sure enough, it’s not long before Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) rock up with news of Charlize Theron’s criminal mastermind Cypher.

Her capture by Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) has been foiled and Dom knows exactly who’s behind the attack. That which follows will force Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew must come together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered…Dom’s forsaken brother. He’s played by John Cena.

F9 is as bonkers as they come. Totally insane. Characters come back to from the dead - hello Han - car chases defy logic and - unless I dreamed the whole thing and it’s still 2020 - I’m fairly sure a Pontiac Fiero gets launched into space.

It’s way too long, overstuffed and ridiculously sincere. On the other hand, F9 manages to be less of a drag than its direct predecessor through sheer force of nature.

The cast are game and the effects spectacular. I dread to think what they’ll do next.