Fast Five deserves a high five! And 5/5 slices on my scale. I’m going to write this review in a different way as I normally would. To commemorate the fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious series, I will list five reasons why you should watch it and list five things that I found kind of…off in this fast-action flick. But to sum it up beforehand, Fast Five = Italian Job + Ocean’s 11, so if you like either of those movies or are simply a fan of the series, adrenaline rush to the nearest theater and enjoy the ride.
This time around, Fast Five picks up where Fast & Furious left off. A few cars driven by individuals of the main crew – Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and Han Lue (Sung Kang) – surround a prisoner transport bus like lions attacking their prey. With their skillful maneuvering, the crew successfully overturns the bus to break out Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Mia’s brother. From there, the action only progresses and the heat is on, especially when Brazil is their…getaway.
I’ll have a No. 5…to go!
It only gets hotter in Brazil! The Fast Five folks bring their antics to Rio de Janeiro. Director Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious), cast and crew shoot on location, which gives the film its apparent authenticity, but most of it was shot in Puerto Rico. But, who cares? The scenes in the slums sell the realism. Don’t forget all the sexiness that both locations offer.
Stick(shift) ‘em up! This film highlights cars as tools for crimes, even more so than the previous installment of the series. It shows that cars are used for more than racing. Vehicles are used to steal other vehicles…from a moving train – and that’s just the first job. For the big heist, memorable characters were brought back from past Fast films that surely add to the fun, including Tej (Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson).
High Vault-age! Fast Five takes the meaning smash-and-grab to the next level when the ultimate plan is to attach cables to a bank vault which is yanked from the building by two Dodge Chargers. The resulting damage might be one of the most destructive heists in the history of Hollywood. Even if it’s highly unlikely in real life, it is certainly a sight to see on the silver screen.
A race with authority! What’s even more unlikely is a special quarter-mile race that takes place on film that I’d love to see in real life. The four main fellows make a friendly $1 million bet in rides that only those in authority have the privilege to drive. It gives a new meaning to high-speed chase.
Heavy hitters! Aside from planning the big heist, the usual suspects are fugitives. On their tail is Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a special federal agent with a dry, yet playful humor, ordered to bring them back to the U.S. He encounters Dom several times. On one visit, they inevitably rumble, with each hit delivered with a punishing purpose. It seems way more real than the WWE.
What the f…?! Take five.
Lack of sizzle. When I think Brazil, I can’t help but think Brazilian cuts and bubble butts. There was hardly any, if at all. Sure, there were sexy bonitas, but not much for a movie shot in warm climate. Maybe the sexiness was focused on the leading ladies – Mia, Gisele (Gal Gadot) and Elena (Elsa Pataky) …and of course the cars. Or maybe, I’m expecting too much.
A round cable discussion. As amazing as the vault scenes were, I couldn’t stop thinking about the cable. What the hell was it made of? Adamantium?! (Marvel reference) I’m sure there are super sturdy cables out there, but what and how was the cable attached to the vault? A simple clasp? They seemed to attach it to the vault fairly easily and quickly. I’m sure if it is that durable, it would take a longer time to secure it. I’m just vaulting now, er, I mean venting.
Cash and burn. This is the only spoiler: Instead of stashing the cash in banks, the $100 million was spread throughout Rio in safe houses. The team decided to infiltrate the first of 10 houses and not take the money, but burn it. According to many films involving large amounts of cash that I’ve seen, the money they engulfed in flames had to be in the millions. I immediately thought, “Isn’t that gonna subtract from the $100 mil?!”
For Christ’s sake. Although the Christ statue atop Rio is iconic, heavenly huge and majestic, it was overdone in this film. If a film were in San Francisco, a director wouldn’t repeatedly show the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe ‘cause we also have other landmarks, like the Transamerica Pyramid, Trolleys, Alcatraz, etc. We already know that it is set in Rio. Do we constantly need a reminder? Oh yeah, it might’ve actually been shot in Puerto Rico. Establishing shots are necessary, but it is obviously stock footage and shot from different angles and times. Yaaaawn.
A new character? I shouldn’t hate on this, but we already know that Mia and Brian are a couple. It’s been known since the first film. The romance has not only rekindled, but something else has sparked – life. Another spoiler, but nothing special. Mia is pregnant and creates dialogue between the extended familia. Some fun, some serious and most cheesy. Does it allow for a sequel? Stay tuned after the credits, too.