Main cast: Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), Paul Walker (Brian O’Conner), Jordana Brewster (Mia Toretto), Elsa Pataky (Elena Neves), Tyrese Gibson (Roman Pearce), Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (Tej Parker), Matt Schulze (Vince), Sung Kang (Han Seoul-Oh), Gal Gadot (Gisele Yashar), Joaquim de Almeida (Hernan Reyes), and Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs)
Director: Justin Lin
Before I begin, I have to point out that Fast Five takes off immediately from where Fast & Furious ended, so this movie and this review contain spoilers as to what happened in the last few minutes of the previous movie. It doesn’t matter whether you are spoiled or not, if you ask me, because this movie – this franchise – is all about the bang, bang, boom and not about the plot, but watching this movie while having watched the previous movies as well does allow you to enjoy Fast Five a bit more. You see, it reunites nearly all the secondary characters that appeared in the last four movies, so those who enjoyed those previous movies may enjoy the little nudges and “what they have been up to since then” references here.
Where we last left these folks. Dom refused to leave a wounded Brian as the cops converge, so Dom ends up sentenced to 25 years to life with no possibility of early parole, much to Brian’s disgust as the man had initially arranged for Dom to walk free in exchange for Dom’s assistance in taking down a drug lord. Well, no matter. As Dom is being transported to prison, Brian, his sweetheart and Dom’s sister Mia, and two of their old buddies hop behind their cars to spring Dom out of the prison bus.
Mia and Brian head off to Rio first – apparently, that’s the place everyone goes to in order to avoid being captured by those pesky American law enforcement agents – and while they wait for Dom to join them, they let themselves be persuaded by an old acquaintance, Vince, to participate in a heist to steal some luxury cars. Oh, it’s an easy job, blah blah blah – you know what that means, I’m sure.
Dom soon arrives to join them, and it is soon apparent that things are not right. There are DEA agents on the train, and Brian realizes the cars are seized properties. The guys they are working with are unusually interested in one particular car, and when the inevitable double-cross occurs (from Dom’s side, heh), Mia steals off with that car while Dom and Brian take on the others. The problem is that the drug boss – yes, another one, but that’s what you get for moving to Brazil, I guess – Hernan Reyes really wants the car badly and he would do whatever it takes to get it back. And then there is the problem of the DEA agents that were killed during the heist. Dom, Brian, and Mia are the prime suspects, the US government sends in Luke Hobbs to take those three in. Vin Diesel versus the Rock, death match beginning in 3, 2, 1…
Fast Five is insane. It’s everything a big, dumb, brainless movie should be – entertaining, fast-paced, and calculated to short circuit the adrenal gland. It’s also adorable when Brian and Vince call in big guns, and all the main buddies from previous movies show up to kick some ass. Dom hooks up with a local cop – although the whole thing screams rebound to me after Dom’s stoic grieving of Letty in the previous movie – while Gisele and Han start examining one another’s tonsils up close. Of course, Brian and Mia take their relationship to mawkish new levels. But don’t worry, all the cooties from the snogging don’t get in the way of the glorious impossible physics and cheerful explosions here. The twists and turns are on the predictable side sometimes – there is always a bridge ahead, snort – but they work in getting me at the edge of my seat.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker still have an adorable bromance brewing between them, and in this movie, they have developed this easy-going and confident camaraderie that translates very well on the screen. Both of them can be quite wooden in their acting – okay, very wooden – but their characters’ personalities balance each other off very well. These two also have pretty good chemistry with their female co-stars that play their love interests, and the other cast members hold their own pretty well. Dwayne Johnson is being Dwayne Johnson, no surprises there, but he manages to inject some new intense dynamics in this series, and Luke Hobbs fits right at home in this cast of sociopaths.
The last half hour can be too ridiculous at times, but I’m willing to play along as this movie is one crazy non-stop rush from start to finish. After all, it’s not every day that I come across a movie this crazy, this fun. Hot people, crazy intense action scenes, fast cars, and all that adrenaline rush – Fast Five is exactly what I want it to be and more.