Fast Five

7 05 2011


The gang of criminals is back with a familiar story and explosive action.

In this installment of the popular street racing franchise, the crew attempts to steal one hundred million dollars from a drug lord in Rio de Janeiro. After being framed for the murder of some federal agents, the group is also pursued by an extraordinarily well-muscled drug enforcement agent (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).

fast five movie review

The other elements of the plot are not important: a large amount of money is at stake, and the crew must do everything in their power to acquire it.

Dominic (Vin Diesel) and Hobbs (The Rock) are the most entertaining characters. Both appear to have worked out immediately before filming. In some scenes, their lat muscles are so big that they can hardly hold their arms down at their sides.

When these two alpha males finally meet, they look like gorillas sizing each other up. They circle, make angry faces, and begin to beat furiously upon each other.

Fast Five also boasts a strong supporting cast, including Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, and other Fast and the Furious regulars. At this point in the series, they’ve developed an entertaining chemistry.

fast five movie review

The setting of Rio de Janeiro gives Fast Five a refreshing and exotic look. The final sequence, set on a bridge over the ocean, is especially stunning.

Furthermore, the streets of Rio create unique challenges for law enforcement. For example, when Hobbs tries to arrest Dom, he is quickly turned away by hordes of Dom’s gun-wielding friends. Later, Hobbs, in a marked police car, is fired upon by rocket propelled grenades in the middle of the day. In Brazil, the rules are (apparently) different.

Characters and plot play a starring role in many films, but not in Fast Five. Director Justin Lin has ensured that action is the most entertaining aspect. Physics exists only when convenient, and the main characters are amazingly resilient. In one sequence, Dom and Brian (Paul Walker) attack a train, steal a car, and drive off a cliff, only to jump out in mid-air and land safely in a small body of water.

fast five movie review

While car chases are the hallmark of the Fast and the Furious series, the audience is also treated to more varied action sequences, like gunfights and hand-to-hand combat. The gunfights take place on the gritty streets of Rio de Janeiro and strongly resemble a Call of Duty match.

Fast Five is best when it focuses on the action. Luckily, it doesn’t spend much time developing beyond that. Simply put, it’s an adrenaline pumping thrill ride that’s low on dialogue and high on brainless entertainment.