The FAST & FURIOUS series have never been the type of film tailored specifically for a film lover such as myself. I love a good action film, but there has always been a heavy focus on the specific types of cars racing down the streets at irresponsible speeds and I’ve just never been a huge car lover. I have however, been able to enjoy them on the action level because I get a kick out of (forgive me for this) fast and furious action. If the series has been good at anything it’s delivering action set pieces that move fast and are a lot of fun. FAST FIVE is easily the fastest and most furious of any film in the series before it while also being the funnest.
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Dominic Toretto) all flee to Rio after Dom is freed from a prisoner transfer and they all land on top of the most wanted list. While in Rio the trio accepts a job to lift some cars from a moving train. The job goes bad and lands them in hot water with Reyes, the head honcho in Rio and a Special Forces tough guy, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), hell-bent on tracking the fugitives down. Dom, Brian and Mia decide that they are tired of running and they come up with one last job to give them each enough money to buy their own freedom.
My relationship with the FAST & FURIOUS series is one best described as love/hate, except by love I mean a mild fondness. When I was much younger and much less opinionated I actually liked THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS quite a bit. I hated 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, didn’t bother with TOKYO DRIFT and was lukewarm on FAST & FURIOUS. FAST FIVE is actually the only sequel of the franchise I ventured out and saw in theaters, along with a very vocal and rowdy crowd to join me. The result was a very entertaining and fun popcorn flick with some pretty impressive if ridiculous action sequences.
To be perfectly honest the action sequences are completely over the top and extremely ridiculous. The opening features Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster pulling off a daring escape by literally making a bus full of prisoners flip and roll several times in brutal fashion. This is ridiculous because as I was watching it all I could think was that there was no way anyone could survive this, but the following news story reports that not a single person was killed. I can forgive that, it is a brainless action film, lest I forget; the rest of the action set pieces are slightly less crazy until you get to the ending sequence which I won’t spoil. The ending, while still over the top is completely awesome, exciting and easily justified the price of admission.
I don’t always like Dwayne Johnson (I mean TOOTH FAIRY, really?), but he was very well cast in FAST FIVE as Hobbs, the crazy special forces muscle head incredibly focused on taking Toretto down. I found Johnson to be one of my favorite characters in the movie; he plays it with a certain level of intensity and humor that I found refreshing. I have to say though, the amount of sweat dripping off of him on this movie almost becomes unintentionally funny. Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and Jordana Brewster aren’t any better or worse than they’d been in any previous installment, but Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson are both much better than I had hoped they’d be. One scene in particular I loved was the first face down Diesel has with Johnson; the dialogue back and forth was exactly what I wish there was more of in the movie.
FAST FIVE doesn’t coast on the strength of the performances within it, but on the action which as I mentioned before, is very enjoyable and exciting. Unfortunately, the film clocks in at two hours and ten minutes and while it moves from one point to the next pretty quickly, it still run a little long. The final action scene goes on for quite some time and just when I thought the credits were getting ready to roll there’s an additional set of tacked on character wrap ups I could have easily done without.
FAST FIVE is a little bit of everything you expect from the franchise that features fast cars, action and cheesy humor. What lacks in logic and laws of physics it makes up with some very adrenaline fused car chases, foot chases and fight scenes. The dialogue is always far from high class or well thought out, but the film definitely delivers on visually striking set pieces. If you are a fan of the series then FAST FIVE should be everything you ever wanted. If you have the same type of relationship I have with the series, you will still have one hell of a good time with the adrenaline pumping action scenes.