Review: Fast Five

by Christopher Misch

Dir. Justin Lin
United States
130 Mins

For better or worse, another Fast and the Furious sequel is upon us. With Justin Lin’s Fast Five, former FBI agent Brian O’Conner (played by Paul Walker) re-teams with ex-con Dom Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) this time on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, where they are forced to lie low in the aftermath of an assault on a prison transport bus, which freed Dom from federal custody.

During what was supposed to be a quick and easy job hijacking three sports cars from a moving train, O’Conner, Dom, and Mia (played by Jordana Brewster) take possession of a computer chip that reveals the illegal operations of Hernan Reyes, a corrupt businessman who turns to violent tactics in an attempt to get that chip back into his own hands.

But, not only is Reyes and his henchmen on their trail; also in hot pursuit is American DSS agent Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, aka the only man in Hollywood who can actually make Vin Desiel look puny). Hobbs along with his team of highly trained soldiers have been sent in to apprehend our heroes and extradite them back to the United States where long prison sentences await them.

In spite of this manhunt, O’Conner and Dom are able to elude both search parties long enough to assemble a team together (including Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) for one final heist aimed at Reyes’s 100 million dollar fortune. However, to protect his assets Reyes transfers all of his funds within the confines of a police station with local authorities paid off to protect it. In order to win the 100 million dollar prize, the team must somehow break into the highly guarded facility, and if you are at all familiar with the Fast and the Furious franchise, you already know being discreet ain’t part of the equation.

Fast Five opens with an incredible jaw-dropping escape sequence which sets the bar quite high for the rest of the film; a bar that unfortunately is unable to be completely cleared. The addition of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is the film’s greatest asset with his charisma, not to mention his body size, explodes off the screen. No one really knows what he was thinking when he signed on for Tooth Fairy, but he has returned to the action genre, and here he shall remain. Both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are adequate in retuning to the roles that made them Hollywood stars, but a downside to the film’s performances is Tyrese, who is as annoying as ever; and in fact is only to be topped in annoyance by T.I.’s irritable commentary in the dreadful Takers, which was released last year.

As with all the films in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast Five contains several unnecessary racing sequences thrown in to serve no purpose but to provide more action, and have no part in advancing the story. One particular scene involves, the team breaking into a police parking garage to steal four police cars necessary to aid them in their heist mission. After they successfully hijack the cars, instead of discreetly making their separate ways back to their base, they proceed to take part in a four-way street race down the central strip of Rio; heck Tyrese even has his flashing lights on. Be that as it may, when it comes time to providing action within the context of it’s underlying story, Fast Five doesn’t disappoint and if you consider yourself a fan of the series, you’ll appreciate Fast Five, as there is more than enough here to keep you in your seats. And while the film is no more than fast cars, hots bods, and action sequences, it is easily the best and most entertaining installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise.

54/100 - While the film is no more than fast cars, hots bods, and action sequences, it is easily the best and most entertaining installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise.

Christopher Misch

I've always loved movies, but it wasn't until under the tutelage of Professor Garry Leonard at the University of Toronto that my passion for the industry became an understanding of an art form. With a specific fascination in both the western genre and Asian cinema in general, I am of the view that good movies are either enlightening or entertaining, and if you are truly lucky they are both.
  • Deepayan

    The funny thing about Tyrese is that he’s 10 times more entertaining in the Bloopers and commentary track for 2 Fast 2 Furious than he is in the movie. It seems like the character’s handicapping him, rather than the other way around.

  • Christopher Misch

    But, Tyrese is almost as annoying in #Transformers.

  • Hamza Khan

    Saw this last night. I hate the franchise for a number of reasons, namely Michelle Rodriguez, Vin Diesel and Tyrese. However, even though I tried hard to rip it for the schlocky dialogue and god-awful acting, I couldn’t help but be thoroughly entertained. I hate to admit it, but I think I loved it.

  • Deepayan

    I wouldn’t know about that; I’ve blocked all memories of that movie.
    I think Tyrese’s skills may be better suited for a comedy. I’m thinking an Apatow-type role is where his strengths really lie. I could be wrong, though, but I’d be interested if he ever does something like that; otherwise, continue to count me out.

  • Christopher Misch

    You loved #FastFive? Coming from you of all people, that’s surprising. It definitely a lot of fun.

  • Hari Keshan

    I am not a huge Fast and the Furious fan, however, I did watch the first film and liked it very much and I also tortured myself watching the third installment “Tokyo Drift” But this latest release of Fast Five for me personally was a decent outing for the franchise. I agree with Chris on his statement regarding Tyrese and how annoying he was. His humor came off as stereotypical and at time just not funny at all.

    One of the things that I noticed (Along with Chris) was a few scenes that in the end had no significance or relevance to the movie. There is a lengthy scene in the film in which the Fast Five crew use various cars and drive them or drift them in circles trying to be “invisible” to various cameras set up in the base they are in. They all fail at this task. However, what go to me was there was no explanation or reason as to why this was happening and in the end it had no real significance in the movie. Perhaps, that was the reason they stole the cop cars?

    Another glaring moment in the film was when both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker both go to street car rally and challenge an individual to a race in what is dubbed as “car for car” where the winner walks away with the loser prized car. It was to pit a beautiful Porsche against what I believe was an American muscle car? (I am not the biggest car buff, so you guys can correct me if I am wrong). The anticipation of a great racing scene builds however, the scene cuts quickly and shows both Diesel and Walker, returning to their base with the Porsche in their possession. THIS caused many groans and complaints from the viewing audience in theater including me! Instead of getting what I feel would have been a decent racing scene between two cars, we were instead given the “cop car” race between the Fast Five crew. Pathetic!

    The Rock nailed this role and was for me one of the highlights of the film (a huge highlight!)

    This movie also took after Transformers 2 in regards to tag-team idiots. Transformers 2 had the two moronic robots in Skids and Mudflap and Fast Five had in Leo and Santos, who I feel did not really have to be in the film.

    The film was entertaining, however, it had its moments of annoyance and stupidity. I also heard there was a secret scene shown after the credits of the film? is this true? can anyone elaborate on it?


  • Christopher Misch

    You’re right Hari, if there was any moment in the film to have a street race scene it was that one with the blue Porsche. Why they skipped over it in favour of the ridiculous four-way police car drag race down the central strip of Rio makes absolutely no sense to me.

    The Rock really did own this movie; in fact there should have been more of him.

    I didn’t haven’t the disdain towards Leo and Santos that you did, but I can see how they could get on people’s nerves.

    There is a end of credits scene that includes a mention of Michelle Rodriguez’s character; leading us to believe that the sixth installment in the Fast and the Furious franchise is not too far off.

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