Director: Justin Lin
Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson
In this instalment of the Fast and Furious series, former cop Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) partners with ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) on the opposite side of the law. Since Brian and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) broke Dom out of custody, they've blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he's not the only one on their tail. Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can't separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey… before someone else runs them down first.
Although this is ostensibly the fourth sequel in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast and Furious 5 is a departure from the series’ street racing roots. More a heist movie along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven and The Italian Job, there are almost no “true” racing sequences in the film apart from the climactic finale – street racing and car enthusiasts may feel a little cheated, but action fiends will find themselves with quite an adrenaline rush at the end of the movie.
The laws of physics have never really come into play for movies like this one, but Fast and Furious 5 goes one step further and totally ignores the existence of physics. It’s a grand visual spectacle for sure, especially the final reel – but one must not allow any rational thought to seep in or the reality check will ruin the proceedings.
Like all heist movies, the truly fun part of Fast and Furious 5 is when the crew is put together and the caper executed, and this is done pretty well despite the collective lack of acting skills. However, the film runs at least a half hour too long, and some judicious editing will really have helped to move things along. Much as the action sequences are well choreographed, more than two hours of high octane action and literally thousands of quick cuts makes the viewing experience a little more fatiguing than it should be.
An interesting addition in this instalment is Dwayne Johnson, who plays an FBI agent who’s doggedly on the crew’s trail. Both Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson were pipped to be the spiritual successors to Schwarzenegger and Stallone, and while both have not really lived up to this expectation, the close quarters combat sequence between the two action stars is one of the highlights of the movie.
This is the quintessential Summer blockbuster – loud, mindless action that is actually very enjoyable once you look past its flaws. Stay for mid-credits sequence that features a surprise cameo and promises at least one more movie in the franchise – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering how Fast and Furious 5 has turned out.
* * * (out of four stars)