Notable Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson, Joaquim de Almeida
Review: Some franchises struggle just to make three movies. Fast and the Furious managed to make it to five films in no time, with no sign of stopping any time soon. Since 2001, three directors have contributed to the expansive franchise, but with Fast Five, Justin Lin (The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift/Fast & Furious) has finally returned to the fun and glory of the original. Up until now, a new Fast movie was more like a grim inevitability. But after Fast Five and its little Easter Egg extra scene (stay for the credits people, trust me), I’m actually excited to hear about the next installment in this high-speed series (helped by a tantalizingly revealing after credit scene). I know. Me? Excited for a Fast and Furious movie? Believe it. Congratulations Fast Five for making this stale, 10-year-old franchise relevant again.
In the newest update to the story, Dom (Diesel), Brian (Walker) and Mia (Brewster) are headed to Rio de Janeiro after breaking Dom out of a 25 year prison sentence. Laying low, Brian and Mia turn to old pal Vince (Matt Schulze) when he offers them information on an upcoming job swiping cars off of a moving train. Brian and Mia join from the start, and Dom meets up with the rest of the crew. But when the plan goes awry and the group finds out they’re now wanted by the most powerful criminal mind in Rio, they devise a plan to go on the offensive and rob him blind. To do so, Dom and Brian decide to form a team of familiar faces including the suave Roman (Gibson), techie Tej (Ludacris), “chameleon” Han (Sung Kang), the feisty Gisele (Gal Gadot), and explosive duo Leo (Tego Calderon)and Santos (Don Omar). Together, they aim to take the man known as Reyes (Almeida) for all he’s worth and flee the country. That is if super commander Hobbs (Johnson) and his team of elite soldiers don’t find the wanted Dom and Brian first and drag them home to the great US of A.
A two man wrecking crew…
What Fast Five did for the series at this point is transform it from a franchise based on the underground racing circuit into a B-grade action romp complete with silly characters, over the top action, and so many unintentionally funny moments it’s hard not to enjoy. There’s one specific fight scene between The Rock and Vin Diesel that was the perfect example of Lin getting away from all senses of reality. The characters weren’t just people on-screen. Vin Diesel was transformed into this Mongoloid superhero car junkie who apparently is the toughest man on earth, while Johnson himself was more of a GI-Joe looking tight-fitting shirt enthusiast than an actual human. As the fight progresses, both overly masculine brawlers proceed to deliver so many blows to each others head it’s a wonder how either aren’t brain-damaged by the end. Not only that, but it’s also a wonder how the building itself is still standing because of all the structural damage done during the fight. It seemed that every wall or pillar in the room they were fighting in was knocked down at some point, as if the two were looking to see just how many possible things to break. Getting up after being thrown through one concrete wall? Maybe doable for Vin Diesel. Getting up after being thrown through numerous walls and windows be it Vin Diesel or The Rock? You’ve got to be thinking those injuries are catching up while the entire crazy fight is going down. But, it’s hard to have a problem with the audacity because it’s so much damn fun. Lin injected a heaping helping of action that the other films were lacking, and the addition of The Rock to the cast was the perfect actor to bring in for it. His dominating presence posed a worthy foe for our fleeing characters. And have no worries for those of you who somehow stuck through the other films. Lin finishes Fast Five with balls to the wall car chase that will have the original gear heads loving every minute of it, sticking to what made The Fast and The Furious popular in the first place. Compared to the other Fast and Furious movies, Fast Five rockets forward on what feels like an unlimited supply of NOS, leaving the rest of the films in the dust.
To have the ultimate fun with Fast Five though, you MUST detach yourself from all forms of logic. For every reason I enjoyed Fast Five, so many will hate it. Yes, it is nothing but a brainless entertainment that defies all rational though. For all intents and purposes, the movie should have been over after the first heist scene, during one of many times that Dom and Brian defy death. Normally, I would just stare at the screen in bewilderment and think to myself a million different reasons why that particular scene makes no sense at all. But not this time. I surprised myself by sitting there and laughing, just giving up on sanity. I completely let go. I could finally come to terms with the fact that it was a Fast and Furious movie and that’s it. I mean what could I really ask for? So when I was given a package of horribly awesome one liners, catroonishly over written action heroes, mind-blowing car chases, and adrenaline pumping action; could I really be that upset?
Lin finally got it. He finally found a way to balance the car chases with some action worth watching, bringing a new edge to the Fast franchise. By dragging Johnson in on the fun, he brought someone who could not only rival Diesel, make him look like a baby back bitch for once. But with a two-hour and ten minute run time, it’s no wonder that Lin took some questionable editing choices just to speed along the process. Glaring moments in the film were passed over, skipping on details that just make you have no choice but blindly accept what is happening. You’ll ponder: “But why? How did they do it?!” Honestly? Who cares when you have fast cars, explosions, big muscles hot women horrible puns, guns, and giant vaults being swung around causing mass chaos and destruction. Oh hells yeah. Unleash your inner frat bro and tap into everything that is awesome, it’s the only way to make it through.
Final Rating: An unbelievable 7 out of 10