Fast Five has a ludicrous story, some of the worst dialogue of the Fast and the Furious franchise, and the acting's not all that impressive either. But what saves this fifth installment of the F&F series are its incredibly intense, totally wild action scenes. Fast Five's final chase sequence involving a stolen vault is, hands down, the best action sequence of the entire franchise.
Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker), and Mia (Jordana Brewster) are in Rio because they're wanted in the U.S. Dom's an escaped convict and Mia and Brian are the ones responsible for breaking him out. They get by by pulling illegal odd jobs, including the first massive action set piece of the film: the robbery of a speeding train with three U.S. Marshals on board. The bounty they're after isn't stowed away in a safe. No, they're after...surprise!...a few very fast, very expensive cars. It's nice how cars can always be worked into the storyline, isn't it?
Now, why go to all the trouble of pulling off a complicated heist that requires special equipment and puts them all at risk of losing all of their limbs and/or their lives just for a couple of hot cars? Well, because if they didn't, then there would be no Fast Five. See, the badder bad guys (our F&F gang are only semi-bad) want something that's hidden in one of the cars, something that's worth $100 million (say it like Austin Powers - it's much more entertaining that way). But our guys don't know about this hidden 'thing' which we won't disclose because one) it would probably be considered by someone to be a spoiler, and two) even saying what it is wouldn't make any sense without the whole plot spelled out and, let's face it, who really cares about the plot of a Fast and Furious or Fast and the Furious, or Faster and Furiouser or whatever F&F tag they want to give to any film associated with this action franchise?
I can all but guarantee that after seeing the film, you'll care not one iota about the plot. It makes zero sense, the dialogue - with the exception of Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris' lines - is only there as a way for the audience to catch its collective breath before another fight scene or chase, or to give the audience a cue it's okay to get up and get some popcorn or a soda.
Fast Five's story requires no analysis whatsoever. The film's basically an excuse to get past F&F players back together, to add in The Rock so that Vin Diesel can go mano-a-mano with one of the biggest action studs around, and to zoom around in fast cars and destroy things. But Fast Five does separate itself from other Fast films by featuring more foot chase scenes, more gun fights, and a Ocean's 11-type heist. Rumor has it the sixth Fast movie will actually be a full-on heist film, and Fast Five does its job of turning the corner on the franchise and heading that new direction.
Director Justin Lin's tackling his third Fast film with Fast Five, and he's got the recipe down pat. Same with the main cast of Fast players - Vin Diesel as Dom, Paul Walker as Brian, and Jordana Brewster as Mia. Rejoining them are past Fast cast members Tyrese Gibson as Roman, Matt Schulze as Vince, Sung Kang as Han, Gal Gadot as Gisele, Tego Calderon as Leo, and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges as Tej. Not much is demanded of any of the actors, other than to look good and occasionally give each other a hard time so that we know that despite the fact they're all running from the law, and they're preparing to take down an evil drug lord, really, it's just all about having fun.
Fast Five does what it's supposed to do. Its purpose for being is to entertain audiences with cool chase scenes, fast cars, and lots of action. It's not here to tax our brain cells. And it accomplishes what it sets out to do better than the last two Fast films managed to pull off. Which, granted, isn't all that difficult to do. By the way, this one apparently exists in a world after 2 Fast 2 Furious but before Tokyo Drift, and after Fast and Furious. Confused? Don't be. I've explained there's no need to try and dissect the story.
Fast Five, when it concentrates on the stunts (there's even a Parkour-ish chase through the alleys and streets of Rio), will satisfy most Fast fans. It's just too bad the film spends so much time trying to set up a story that's not all that interesting in the first place. Stick to the action scenes with the next Fast film, that's my free advice to those in charge.
Fast Five was directed by Justin Lin and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language.
Theatrical Release: April 29, 2011