Since taking over the franchise with Tokyo Drift, director Justin Lin has done an amazing job developing the mythology of this ridiculous series. Things have gotten so insane that Fast Five is basically an Ocean’s Eleven-style heist movie. That’s right the gang’s all here: Dom, Brian, Mia, Han, Roman, Tej, Tego, Rico and Gisele. What’s that? Those name’s mean nothing to you? Well, go read the Fast and the Furious retrospecticus if you want. You don’t really have to though, because Fast Five stands enough on it’s own that you could probably appreciate it even if it was the first movie in the series you saw. And you definitely should see it.
Dom, Mia and Brian are on the run after busting Dom out. They’re hiding in Rio de Janeiro just trying to survive when their old buddy Vince shows up and offers them a job. Things go south pretty quick and soon enough American super agent Luke Hobbs (The Rock) is on the hunt for Dom and his team. So Dom decides it’s time for one last huge job, after which everyone will disappear. How do you do a job like that? You bring in the dream team.
What’s kind of amazing about Fast Five is how little it has in common with the rest of the franchise. Yes, these guys’ specialty is racing, but the film actually opts to not show a gratuitous race sequence. On the other hand, what we do get are a few harrowing chase scenes, including one on foot and the totally insane finally heist chase. It’s got to be seen to be believed. The movie has plenty of gunfighting and even the long-awaited fist fight between Vin Diesel and The Rock. That might have been the most muscular scene since the arm wrestling in Predator.
I know there’s going to be plenty of movies to keep everyone entertained this summer, but I think Fast Five is a great place to start. It’s long but it never feels like it. The starts do well enough that you won’t hate them, or feel disappointed. The action is top-notch. This is the least car porny, bromantic entry in the franchise and an excellent action movie, I don’t care who you are.