Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five (2011)
  • Time: 130 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Justin Lin
  • Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson


Former cop Brian O’Conner partners with ex-con Dom Toretto on the opposite side of the law. Since Brian and Mia Toretto broke Dom out of custody, they’ve blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom.


  • I wasn’t expecting much from this, because once again it’s one of a series… but I was wrong! I liked the first “Fast and Furious”, but afterwards it was getting worse with the second & the third. This one is getting closer to the level of the first movie. Of course it’s very unrealistic, but I guess that’s something you know from the beginning :). My opinion: it’s the best since the original, so thumbs up for director Justin Lin!

  • Usually, the fifth instalment of a long-running franchise is a re-hash of what made the original so popular, becoming increasingly tiresome in the process. 2009’s fourth entry, Fast & Furious, which saw the core cast members return from a two film hiatus, was surprisingly fun, being less about flashy cars, nameless gyrators and the underground world of street racing, and focused more on the ‘family’ of criminals to whom the plot was centred around. Returning director Justin Lin, who has been on board since 2006’s Tokyo Drift, continues this idea and makes a movie more exciting and action-packed than the one’s that came before.

    After rescuing their friend Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) from a lengthy jail term, Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend Mia (Jordana Brewster) flee to Rio de Janeiro to evade capture. Whilst they await the arrival of Dom, they pull a job with old acquaintance Vince (Matt Schulze), from the first movie, capturing a set of cars seized by the D.E.A. on their way, by train, to the U.S. When they discover that two of their crew are only interested in one car, Dom – who arrives mid-heist – gets Mia to steal it herself and the rest barely escape with their lives. The car turns out to be the property of drug lord Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), and contains a microchip detailing the whereabouts of his $100 million fortune.

    In an attempt to open the franchise up to a wider audience, Fast Five sees the series change from underground street racing and petty criminality to full-on fisticuff action, bagging a huge ensemble to support it’s aspirations to be a heist movie. And it works. This is still stuff of the cheesiest variety, ignoring the laws of physics and asking us to suspend our beliefs far too often, but the idea of these criminals – who evolve into Robin Hood-types – who help each other like a family is nice. Lin brings back familiar faces Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), Han (Sung Kang), and Gisele (Gal Gadot), but it’s a newcomer that steals the show.

    As Hobbs, the enormous, baby-oiled D.S.S. agent assigned to capture Dom and his crew, Dwayne Johnson proves to be a great addition. With his ridiculous size, he’s a credible threat to the likes of Dom, and their scenes together, including one inevitable smack-down, are laced with testosterone and a bit of humour, two things that Johnson does remarkably well. The main set-piece involves two cars dragging a stolen safe through the city streets, leaving a wave of destruction in their path. It’s a gleefully ridiculous climax, and Lin proves himself wise by using minimal CGI. It doesn’t break any boundaries or offer anything new to the genre, but it’s a satisfying way to spend two hours with your brain on auto pilot mode.

    Rating: 3/5

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  • “We find ’em, we take ’em as a team and we bring ’em back. And above all else we don’t ever, ever let them get into cars.”

    The fifth installment of the popular Fast and Furious series (2001, 2003, 2006, 2009), Fast Five is, as fanboys have claimed, the best of the franchise thus far. I admit I have not seen the prequels prior to this, and even so, I doubt I would be even motivated to consider reviewing them, thus I cannot and will be unlikely to check the legitimacy of those claims.

    That means this review is purely based on my observations of this film per se, and without any prior knowledge about this franchise nor its characters other than its long-running theme of fast cars, crime, and hot women.

    Fast Five stars two muscle men in Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, who in one inevitable and obligatory scene are pitted against each other in an unarmed muscle fight to see…well, who has more muscles. It also stars franchise veteran Paul Walker, and a huge supporting cast of mostly relative unknowns.

    This gang of characters pulls out a daring heist of a vault containing a hundred million dollars belonging to a corporate-disguised drug lord with ties to the mob and the police. Diesel, who plays Dominic, leads his team in the heist, while Johnson, who plays federal agent Hobbs, chases after them.

    Directed by Justin Lin, who helmed the third and fourth installments of the series, Fast Five scores highly in its execution of action. Lin shows that he is well-adept at directing car crashes, gunfights, and ka-booms, with the film providing fans with a near orgasmic brand of pedal-flooring excitement.

    The action scenes are surprisingly clear to see and easy to follow. In fact, they are so well-edited that not only do they generate suspense, but also present a kind of orchestrated sleekness not frequently seen in action movies these days.

    Some, including myself, would feel that the action is extremely unrealistic in the way it defies the laws of physics. The most obvious example is the entire climactic sequence involving two cars hauling a huge metal vault along the streets at full speed creating havoc that inconceivably does not seem to hurt anyone collaterally.

    However, it is in the nature of this franchise that action is required (or rather, demanded) to be unrealistic. Lin emphasizes this in the prologue sequence in which a police bus containing prisoners somersaults acrobatically after colliding with a car to the cheers of fans in the theater.

    Fast Five’s story is slightly thicker than a wafer, and is serviceable only to the extent of progressing the plot. Some characters may seem surplus to requirements but they do provide the occasional off-color humorous remark on their present circumstance.

    In addition to the weak narrative and undeveloped characters, the entire film is not very well-paced, despite the excellent editing of action. Much of the film drags along during times of planning of the heist and the test-driving of real sporty cars. A number of expository scenes could be trimmed to create more urgency; in fact, I feel that this film is a good twenty minutes too long.

    Fast Five gives a movie-going experience that alternates between adrenaline-pumping high and dull lows. If your diet consists of brainless entertainment, this is your key to salvation. If you are an action fan, this would also be your territory. For those whom are just plain curious like me, I say try it out and judge for yourself.

    GRADE: C+ (6.5/10)

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