There is a certain mentality one must take before entering any action movie. If you don’t turn off your brain it will be difficult to enjoy the sheer magnitude of stupidity pulsating from the screen. For that reason, I walked into Justin Lin’s “Fast Five” with my brain off and my eyes glued to the screen.
“Fast Five” is the fifth installment in the “Fast and the Furious” film franchise, which if you haven’t heard already is all about going fast in cars and being mad about it. The film picks up with the ending events of the fourth film, with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) having been sentenced to life in prison. Dominic’s bus is intercepted by ex-FBI agent Brian O’Conner and Dom’s sister Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). Dom splits from the two and they agree to meet up in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
While waiting to meet up with Dom the now fugitive penniless couple decides to pull a quick job with their old friend Vince (Matt Schulze). The operation goes wrong and several DEA officers are murdered with the blame being put on Dom, Mia and O’Conner. A special American agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is deployed to hunt the trio down by any means necessary. Meanwhile, the trio discovers a computer chip in one of the cars they stole which pinpoints the locations of corrupt businessman Hernan Reyes’s (Joaquim de Almeida) money laundering locations. They put a team together to steal the $100 million from the businessman that literally controls all of Rio.
The plot is surprisingly jam packed for something that should be an action movie, and while the film is lacking in its trademark street racing, it holds its own in the action department. There are gunfights, car chases and a fistfight between Vin Diesel and The Rock.
The acting is about what one would expect from a movie that focuses so much on action. Pretty much every character delivers unremarkable lines while still being perpetually convinced of their own coolness. The film does have very likable characters however. Once the ragtag team of “Ocean’s Eleven” knockoffs assemble their continuous witty banter keeps the film from becoming a snooze. The bickering between Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) in particular was constantly funny.
Indeed the film leans more towards the heist genre than street racing, but despite the departure from the norm it handles itself rather well. The film moves at an energetic and appropriate pace with only the rare hiccup in story. Some choices in the script did make the film almost too cheesy such as Reyes beating his own employee to death for literally no reason other than to show “yeah this guy’s a hardass.”
“Fast Five” contains the most ridiculous and consequently entertaining final chase scene in any movie – ever. Suffice it to say it left me with the same impression I had when I realized the film was actually good: “did that just happen?”