Fast and Furious Five aka Fast Five (2011) – movie review

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Movie review by EDF

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot
Director: Justin Lin

So we have hit the five mark with the movie franchise that does not seem to run out of juice. After Vin Diesel decided not to return for the first sequel, the leading man role fell on Paul Walker’s shoulders. Needless to say, the second and third movie did decent business but there was enough life, and a decent script to bring Diesel’s character Dominic Toretto and his crew back for FAST AND FURIOUS, number 4 in the series. For those that might not have seen it, Michelle Rodriguez’s character Letty, Toretto’s girlfriend was murdered. Even though Toretto avenged her death, he still felt that he failed in his responsibility for keeping his band of thieves, his family, safe.

At the end of number 4, we see, Toretto heading to prison and the rest of the gang in hot pursuit of the prison bus. This is where FAST AND FURIOUS FIVE aka FAST FIVE begins, and we know that Toretto will not be on that prison bus for much longer. A highly improbable escape is set in motion, thanks to Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). Now finding themselves in Rio to escape the US authorities, and also penniless, they accept a job to rob some cars being transported by CIA operatives on a train across Brazil.

What Toretto does not realise is that the cars are hot, very hot, and the US government wants them back. They send in Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team to retrieve the cars and to apprehend Toretto’s gang. Even though one is trying to avoid the other, as they are in a foreign country and in someone else’s territory, they both have to contend with the local kingpin Reyes (Joaquim De Almeida), who not only has a small army of machine gun wielding thugs, but also has the police force on his payroll. Will Toretto and his gang hit one last payday or will Hobbs bring an end to their dreams? Why is Reyes so interested in the stolen cars? Is this the final chapter of THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise?

The interesting thing you will notice about this fifth instalment is that, compared to the others, the action sequences look more natural. Even though it is not obvious if and when they used green-screen or CGI, you can bet they were used in the movie. In fact, the action sequences are more believable to the point where you are left wondering how they shot certain scenes. The scene where you see Vin Diesel and Walker driving off a cliff in an open top car, and you see them jumping out of the car, while it is in mid air, as it is hurtling down, is just mind boggling. Folks, this isn’t THELMA AND LOUISE, more BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. The action and excitement is cranked up to full throttle. The final action set piece is so over the top, even though it is something you have never seen before in a movie, it is extremely enjoyable. When Dwayne Johnson appears on the screen, you can immediately see why he is called The Rock. His body seems to be chiselled from stone and thankfully his acting is anything but that. The guy has great on screen charisma and you just wish he would do more action movies.

Overall, this is the best of the five movies. It reintroduces characters that have appeared in the previous four movies and it does not matter if you are familiar with them or not. It has all the thrills of a heist movie, at times unbelievable but enjoyable action sequences and a positive message to top it all off. If this is to be the last movie in the franchise, it might be an overused phrase but in this case, it is very relevant – they have saved the best for last and deservedly so. The season of blockbuster movies for 2011 has now officially started.

5 out of 6 stars