Five films in and the Fast and the Furious franchise finally gets itself into gear with the wonderfully over the top Fast Five.
Essentially, Fast Five is the first film to ride the wave of The Expendables movie. Ego is out and sharing the wealth is in with the action ensemble the new formula to success, and here an assemblage of Fast and the Furious favourites combine their B-grade powers to create an entertaining albeit schlocky time at the flicks.
It begins with the original trio of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), ex-FBI agent turned bad guy Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and his main squeeze Mia (Jordana Brewster) on the run from the Feds.
Calling the slums of Rio de Janeiro their new home (this is the second film this month to be based in the “City of God”), they call in some old friends (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang and others) to help pull off one last massive heist, this time on Rio’s drug kingpin Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).
Yet a kink is thrown in the works when dogged DEA Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) comes on the scene with his eye firmly set on Toretto and his “family”, and with Johnson’s addition comes that shot of nitro needed to make this action vehicle out run the lowest of expectations.
The Fast and the Furious franchise has been lacking the sort of opposition needed to present some sort of stakes amidst the vehicular action, and in Johnson comes the right type of action man antagonist for this type of movie. He also matches up wonderfully with Vin Diesel, with The Rock taking on The Diesel in a battle of bald headed, muscle ripping superiority that reaches its zenith in a well choreographed, bone crunching fight scene.
There is a glorious spasticity about the whole thing. No limits seems to be its mission statement, with director Justin Lin (in his third F&F outing) throwing everything at the screen, beginning with an imaginative and daring heist of three cars from a speeding train, and ending with our gear head heroes Dom and Brian dragging a mammoth vault through the streets of Rio, with Lin this time not overusing the CGI which made Fast & Furious feel like a videogame.
Of course, there are the usual scenes featuring macho posturing, women with skirts so short they’re practically belts, and woefully corny dialogue (courtesy of scribe Chris Morgan). Fans of the series will no doubt love what Fast Five has to offer, and maybe so will novices.
Just think of it as an Ocean’s movie with a lot less class and a lot more grunt.