Fast Five (2011)

fast five IMDb

When Ben told me that Fast Five was the best in this series, I was skeptical. I’d been burned twice before by these turbo powered dick flicks, and had also seen the trailers for the terrible looking 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift (who comes up with these titles?). However, this one is actually really good. Like, I’d watch it again good.

The biggest improvement over past installments is the plot. Where the first movie was Point Break with cars, Fast Five is Ocean’s 11 with cars. Normally I’d scoff at the fact that this series has now co-opted two better films, but the “ensemble cast pulling off a heist” angle is a natural fit for this series. The final result isn’t quite as polished or full of twists as Ocean’s, but it’s a lot of fun to watch.

This movie brings together cast members from the previous four installments and combines them to perfection. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel return as the stars of the show, but cede the screen to their co-stars when the story calls for it. Stand outs include Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson (both from 2 Fast 2 Furious), and Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious). There’s great chemistry between these actors and the original cast members, and all bring unique talents to the operation. My only real qualm is that Gadot’s character’s talents consist primarily of flirting for information. Still, she gets into the action more than Jordana Brewster does: her character is reveled to be pregnant and subsequently sits out most of the action. Another excellent addition is Dwayne Johnson. I’ve always been impressed by The Rock’s transition from wrestler to actor, and Fast Five is another example of his remarkable screen presence.

This may not be a great movie, but it’s a lot more fun to watch than any other movie in the Fast & Furious franchise. The cast is great and the action is upped. This is the first in the series that made me curious to see what comes next. I still don’t care about the cars, but I’m starting to care about the characters.

Rating: B

How many film series hit their first home run in their fifth outing? None that I can think of. The Fast and the Furious series has never really appealed to me, I saw this fifth instalment because I am a fan of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and my nephew wanted to see it. This movie reinvigorates a barely alive franchise. It takes some guts to play with a tried and true formula. This series has had four moderately successful instalments and you would have to have some balls to take what has worked for four movies and turn it on its head. The first four movies were generic action flicks that had loud explosions and fast cars, but this fifth movie is basically a heist film. It is a cross between Ocean’s 11 and The Italian Job. I enjoyed this film a lot. All of the returning characters know their roles by now and the newcomers fit in nicely.

Fast Five opens with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) being busted out of a prison bus by his friend, Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). They free Dom and go on the run through South America. Eventually ending up in Brazil where a familiar face (Vince Schulze) offers them a job stealing cars from a drug dealer. They accept the job, but things don’t go smoothly and they end up with one of his cars back at their base. This car shows the location of all of the dealer’s drug money, totalling over 100 million dollars. Dom and Brian decide this will be enough for them to retire on and decide to rip this money off as this is drug money and the only person getting hurt is a horrible drug dealer. To pull off this heist, they assemble a crack team made up of people from previous films (Ludacris, Gal Gadot, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Tego Calderon, and Don Omar). While they are planning this robbery, the team become aware of Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). He is a federal agent tasked with capturing Toretto and O’Connor and returning them to America to pay for their crimes.

I loved this film. It is a smart story with enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The cast have fantastic chemistry, especially Diesel and Walker. They have played these roles enough now that they are very comfortable with each other. Their whole crew of thieves have tremendous chemistry with each other, you feel like these guys have been friends for some time. The Brazil setting was also lovely, some of the cinematography and locations are gorgeous. While the story was great, I’m not watching a Fast and the Furious film without expecting some extreme car action, and there is plenty here. Mostly contained around a fantastic climactic scene involving two cars and a giant safe containing 100 million dollars. It is such a great sequence and one of the highlights of the whole Fast and the Furious series.

This film builds on Walker and Diesel’s terrific chemistry established in the four previous films, and adds a fun heist plotline in an exotic location. It hits all the marks for me in terms of what I expect from my action films. It is one of the most fun action movies I’ve seen in recent times.

Rating: A-

3 thoughts on “Fast Five (2011)

  1. Pingback: Fast & Furious 6 (2013) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  2. Pingback: G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

  3. Pingback: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) | From The Abyss to Zoolander

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