When you hit the fifth film in a franchise, there are no surprises. By now, you know what you’re going to get with The Fast and Furious; fast cars, scantily clad ladies, muscle bound guys and action stunts that are predictable and over the top. There’s no reason to worry about little things like a plot, character development or storyline. Let’s just get to the action.
After Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is arrested, his buddy Brian (Paul Walker) and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) bust him out of prison in a daring car/bus rescue. On the run, they flee to Brazil where they take a job stealing a handful of cars for a drug czar. But it turns out the drug czar doesn’t actually care about the cars, he wants a computer chip inside a car that outlines his entire operations. When they’re double crossed, they regroup and devise a plan to steal the czar’s money and flee Brazil. To help in their plan, they call on everyone they met the previous four films.
FAST FIVE half-heartedly attempts to change the pace of the Fast and Furious franchise by transitioning the films from movies about fast cars to movies about heists. True, we’ve seen heists before in the FF series, but this time the heist is the focal point for about half the film. As with all heist movies, the planning and preparation of the heist consumes most of the time and as you might expect, it’s not very interesting. FAST FIVE at times does a great ITALIAN JOB impersonation, but it’s all just filler until we can get to the next car chase or crazy stunt. Fans will be disappointed when they break the heist planning up to go win a car in a street race, only to cut away before the race begins and return to the heist planning. Five succeeds by giving us fast paced action and intense chases, but drops hard when it tries to develop a sophisticated heist. It was also frustrating that we spent so much time watching them plan and practice the heist, only to abandon the plan in the end.
However, the film excels greatly when the action begins. First and foremost, we get a great knock-out fight between Dom and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Watching Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson go at it in a very violent fight was worth the price of admission alone. Credit has to be given to director Justin Lin for giving fans what they wanted and not holding back. I also loved the two major action sequences in the film, the first being the train heist and the second being the race through downtown Rio. Both were outlandish and completely unbelievable, but they were filmed in a way that gave just a smidgen of reality. And that smidgen was enough to make the audience suspend disbelief and enjoy the show. I should also point out that those two action sequences were by far and away the best sequences we’ve seen in all five films. There was enough wreckage and destruction in the last sequence to make Michael Bay blush.
So it boils down to this; if you liked the first four films, you’ll love the fifth. There are no startling revelations here and scribe Chris Morgan didn’t rewrite the book on scriptwriting, but the action is fun and the actors ham it up pretty well. FAST FIVE is a great start to the season of mindless summer fun and a worthy addition to the Fast and Furious franchise.
Oh, and be sure to stick around after the initial credits. FAST SIX is right around the corner…