Director: Justin Lin
The fifth in the Fast and Furious franchise is as loud, ridiculous and dumb as its predecessors. The movies in the series have become a blueprint for Hollywood at its most crass, a teenage male fantasy brought to life with impossibly shapely women, a thumping soundtrack and astonishingly fast cars. The strange thing is, this isn’t necessarily a criticism of the movie.
Vin Diesel plays Dom Toretto, the hero of the original movie, who is sprung from jail by friend and former FBI agent Brian O’Conner. Along with Dom’s sister Mia, who also happens to be Brian’s lover, they flee to Rio. After a car heist goes wrong, they find themselves incurring the wrath of the corrupt Hernan Reyes. They also have to contend with a crack squad of American agents led by the stoic Luke Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson). Soon, with the help of some familiar faces (at least to fans of the previous films) – they plan to pull off one last daring robbery that will allow them to live the rest of their lives in freedom and comfort. But with Reyes and Hobbs both out for their heads, will they survive long enough?
Yes, this is stupid. Yes, this is unbelievable (especially a final chase sequence which involves dragging a bank vault around the streets of Rio). But the film knows this and never attempts to take itself too seriously. Even the ‘emotional’ moments (which usually consist of one character staring at another and then turning round to shoot someone) are done with tongue-in-cheek. And usually a loud explosion. All the cast have about as much emotion as the vehicles in the film: Diesel and Johnson and the rest of the men are muscly and monosyllabic whilst the females get by showing copious amounts of skin. Lin himself is a competent action director and the set pieces do impress (though the anticipated fight suffers from so many fast cuts that you go ‘what the hell is going on now’).
It’s about cars, girls and fighting and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. For sheer gall alone, “Fast Five” provides much entertainment. Just not much intellect.