Over-the-top, impossible, outlandish action sequences and the occasional corny dialogue litter the landscape of “Fast Five” – and it works.
The fifth in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “Fast Five” gathers all your favorites from the past movies and sets them in the middle of Rio, hiding out after busting Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) out of prison – or rather the prison bus transporting a load of convicts. That prison break sequence kicks off the movie, with Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordanna Brewster) showing off the driving stunts that are the cornerstone to these movies. But what’s great about “Fast Five” is that there’s an actual story. It’s not just about the racing and chicks in short shorts – don’t worry both are still here.
After coming together in Rio, and in order to get some cash flow coming their way, Diesel, Walker and Brewster fall back on what they do best – steal cars to pawn for major dough. The result is an action scene packed with expensive cars being pulled from a speeding train. But things don’t go that smoothly, putting Walker in a bad situation.
When the train heist doesn’t go as planned, the news coverage puts them on the map and gets the attention of federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who slips seamlessly into a genre he knows well.
Still in need of some major cash, now as a way to buy their freedom, the group decides to rip off the biggest drug lord in all of Rio. This is where supporting favs from the past, like Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson), come into play, along with some other familiar faces from previous “Fast and Furious” movies. They each bring their skills together to pull off the biggest job they’ve had to date.
This change from a basic action, racing movie into a group heist flick with all the popular elements fans love helps breathe new life into this franchise. The action scenes are longer, more ridiculous (in a good way) and remind you what a summer movie is supposed to be – a mindless, fun, make-believe world set within a grounded story line. I mean stealing from a corrupt drug kingpin while being chased by federal agents is something you could see in a serious dramatic pic. But you wouldn’t be forced to believe that two mid-sized cars could pull a bank vault from a cement wall and drag it around the streets of Rio, while using it to stop the police who are in pursuit.
That is a great summer movie to me, and “Fast Five” can walk away with its head held high. Full disclosure…I’m not always Vin Diesel’s biggest supporter and I felt this franchise, despite making heaps of box office cash, was tired and had run out of steam. But it’s definitely a new day for the folks behind the “Fast and Furious” brand and you can be sure to be entertained watching this movie, as well as not spoken down to either. It has a tongue and cheek tone at times that tells you not to take everything so seriously. The crowd in my theater even clapped and cheered out loud, especially when Diesel and Johnson finally throw down.
“Fast Five” is a “see” in my book. The only regret I have is that I didn’t watch this one in IMAX. So if you get the chance to check it out on the giant screen, I think the action in this one should translate very well.