Never in a hundred years did I think I would be writing such a positive review for a film from the Fast and the Furious franchise. I never cared for the films growing up and the only one I actually didn’t mind, was considered the worst of the series (2 Fast 2 Furious), but I sit here, writing my review in shock. Fast Five was great and I enjoyed it very much. Everything managed to flow so perfectly together which resulted in a great kick off to the summer movie season. Fast Five is a popcorn flick in so many ways and it must be experienced on the big screen.
Fast Five starts right where the fourth film left off, Dom (Vin Diesel) is now in prison and Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) help break him out. From the opening five minutes, you know that Fast Five has amped up on the action majorly. They waste very little time and dive right back into the heist game by planning a job that involves stealing cars off of a moving train. It’s crazy and very fatal, but it’s just the job that Dom in the crew was looking for, but what’s a Fast/Furious installment without a little twist added to the mix? Things never go according to plan when you’re in the fast lane and Dom and company soon find out that they messed with the wrong crazy drug lord.
So we have Dom and friends on the run from the US government and now they just made enemies with a very powerful man in their current hiding place, Rio de Janeiro. This brings us to the introduction of my favorite character in the movie, Hobbs, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Hobbs is a tough as nails federal agent that dedicates himself to his work. When he gets a list of names to capture, he immediately deploys with a team to track down Dom, Brian and Mia.
While Hobbs is on the hunt, Dom and the team decide to call a few old friends and pull one last great heist. The rest of the movie falls in to place with just the right about of carnage mixed with bone crunching action. Fast Five is a fast paced action film that never lets up. It has very little down time and the car scenes manage to keep outdoing themselves until the very end. It’s what every fan of the series hoped for and it managed to attract a new fan (myself) by combining the crazy car stunts with a massive amount of hand to hand combat and gunfire, not to mention a decent heist story.
The reason Fast Five turned out so well is because everyone involved understood what they were making. They wanted to deliver a film that was faithful to the fans of the series while adding more story and action to grab fans of the action genre. Director Justin Lin manages to succeed with Fast Five by mixing some very striking visuals and top quality action. The makers of this film pride themselves on using real cars for the stunts and it really does show. I HATE it when a movie like this uses CGI for the car stunts and sequences and luckily Fast Five kept the CGI to a minimum.
In addition to the normal car races and chases, Fast Five provides you with tons of action via hand to hand and gunfire. The chase scenes through the narrow alleys of Rio were captured really well thanks to a steady cam and a sense of direction. I always had an idea of where everyone was and what was going on, which is a key element in these fast paced scenes. Sometimes a director shoots everything shaky cam and you end up walking out of the theater with no clue to what just happened and a massive headache. There is none of that in Fast Five.
The acting for the most part is decent. You kind of know what to expect from actors like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. They’re not going to win any Oscars for their work in the Fast/Furious franchise and they know that. I tend to laugh at Diesel whenever he is on screen because he looks like a monkey, but I managed to keep my giggling to a minimum in this one. The rest of the crew all held their own and really had great chemistry. Everyone that was a part of the “team” really did feel like they were a team. Most of the jokes that they bounced off of each other landed well and no one got to the point of being too dumb or silly.
That being said, the real show stealer was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Fast Five is proof that The Rock still has a very physical presence in the action genre. He’s ripped and out of control. He delivers every single line with intensity and while some seem a little cheesy, I understood what he was going for. He was the ultimate bad ass and it worked! The fight between him and Diesel was excellent and just watching The Rock destroy countless enemies put a smile on my face. I’ve been waiting for him to break out again in the action genre and Fast Five couldn’t have come at a better time. He was rebounding off of the box office disappointment, Faster (which is awesome) and he needed something big to jump onto.
The only complaint I have with Fast Five is the somewhat crappy dialog. The moments are brief and it’s usually when something serious is going down. If you can get past that then you’ll be set for one hell of a ride. I dismissed it, but I can see where others won’t be so kind. Just remember what kind of movie you’re watching.
Overall, Fast Five is exactly what it’s claiming to be. It’s another entry in the Fast/Furious franchise that’s loaded with cars and action. What makes it so much better than the other films is the fact that it focuses more on an actual story and some cool action sequences while the cars are used as a connection for the film. If you already like the series then you will love this one! If you aren’t a fan of the series, but you’re looking for a good summer popcorn flick, check out Fast Five! It’s an absolute blast and a great way to kick off the summer!
Fast Five – 8.5/10