Review: 'Fast Five' is a Furious Start to the Summer's Entertainment
by Jeremy Kirk
April 29, 2011
Let's just get the engines started. Fast Five is the best film of the Fast and the Furious series. That's actually saying something when you consider the history of fifth installments in established franchises. I'm not going to go through a list, good or bad, but outside of Empire Strikes Back - yes, I know it was really the second Star Wars movie, but I'm making a point here - and Order of the Phoenix, film series have usually gone to scraping the creative barrel by the time the fifth movie comes along. Not so with Fast Five, a non-stop fusion of quick chases, splashy characters, and cracking action set pieces that officially stamps the Summer movie season as open. Sure, said stamp might be a bit plasticized and CGed over, but it hits with style and velocity not previously seen on this level in this franchise.
Fast Five once again teams Vin Diesel and Paul Walker as fast-moving thieves Dominic Toretto and Brian O'Conner, respectively. After breaking Dom out of a prison transport - an opening that carries over straight from the end of Fast and Furious - the team, along with Dom's sister, Mia, played by Jordanna Brewster, goes to Rio where the score of a lifetime awaits. Pulling together a team comprised of various characters from the previous Fast and the Furious movies, they are now going after $100 million of a shady businessman's life savings. It'll be dangerous, and on top of the the challenge laying before them, a federal task force led by Agent Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson, is hot on their tail.
Clearly director Justin Lin is not new to this franchise. Fast Five is the third film of the series he has directed, and while he delivered the extremely fast Tokyo Drift, he runs in a different direction with Fast Five making every action scene as furious as possible. Fast Five has some incredible set pieces, and they begin right at the start. That opening break-out scene is simple, quick, but its usage of action design, sound, and a solid utilization of effects both practical and CG sets the tone for the fever that's about to come.
It isn't like the Fast and the Furious movies are bereft of typical bang-bang-shoot-em-up action, either. Aside from Tokyo Drift, they aren't just about street racing. Each of them has a nice mixture of racing and gun-play regardless of how those were individually executed each time out. Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan aren't interested in toying with the street racing any more. Instead, they load this new movie down with huge explosions, lots of fists meeting faces, and even more bullets hitting bodies. One scene that even teases a street race doesn't even go through the pains of actually showing it. We know what the result will be. Why spend 10 minutes of pointless racing when the suspense can't possibly be present? And what's way more important than all of that, the action Lin and Morgan do include in Fast Five is all presented in an exciting, entertaining, and unforgettable way.
But all that action would be null and void without the characters. Thankfully they understand this, too. They do their best to build the relationships between members of the team especially Dom and Brian, who are fully on the same side for the first time in the franchise's history. Never mind that Diesel and Walker haven't ever found their thespian ways. The characters' bond is strong enough to overcome any histrionic issues we may have in the casting. Bringing characters from past films back in to make up the team was a great idea, too. These are characters we know even if we don't exactly love them. Even so, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris - neither of whom have been seen since 2 Fast 2 Furious - offer up much of Fast Five's comic relief. Whether it's effective, genuine, or neither, it's still a welcome change of pace from the intensity brought down by the movie's barrage of action scenes.
Johnson is a nice addition to the series, too. He gives the Hobbs character a level of sincerity as well as celebrity clout that makes it easy to see the movie from his side of the action. This isn't a throw-away character put in the mix just because you have to include some idea of law enforcement. He brings something extra to the entire film. While a spin-off probably wouldn't work - I'm just going by law of averages as far as spin-offs go - there are definitely worse ideas the Hollywood machine could come up with.
Loaded down with enough blazing action to fill a Summer blockbuster, Fast Five is the Fast and the Furious movie action fans have been frothing for for years. The cars are there. The races are there. One particular chase scene late in the film brings incredible originality and a stunning execution to the climax of a film that has already delivered oodles of hard-hitting and top-notch action. It's a culmination to a series that has had ups and downs, but it finally feels like the Fast and the Furious series has reached its peak. And while a post-credit sequence delivers up the perfect launching point for a FuriouSix, we can only hope it's Justin Lin at the driver's seat once again.
Jeremy's Rating: 8 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 31 Comments
Such a glowing review for a flick I expected to be a piece of crap. I don't know if I'm confused or intrigued. So long as the action is understandable, not zoomed in all the time and not done in a nauseating Greengrass-style I could see myself enjoying this.....at home in September once they make it available for rental.
Voice of Reason on Apr 29, 2011
So is this you admitting that you expect movies like this to get trashed by reviewers? Tokyo Drift aside, these movies rock hard.
Medesign on Apr 29, 2011
this was such a great movie it did what fast and furious TRIED to recently and revamped the entire series! bring on part six i say!
Chip_Tha_Ripper on Apr 30, 2011
Check out what Sky Ferreira, Akon, and Keri Hilson have to say about H&M Fashion Against AIDS http://t.co/S3BS57l
fanboy on Apr 29, 2011
Cruzer on Apr 29, 2011
Jericho on Apr 29, 2011
Good review, I like the franchise myself but honestly I never really expected too much out of this one.
Cruzer on Apr 29, 2011
I can't friggin' wait! What a solid review, that was awesome Jeremy. You just got me more excited to see this...and my excitement level was larrady high!
BigR on Apr 29, 2011
Saw a screening of this a couple weeks back and didn't go in with expectations and ended up having a goodtime and enjoying it. Only seen the sequels once each and didn't really care for them especially the last one with that CG underground tunnel crap. This did a great job of practical and CG. Definitely a great entry and the crowd went wild at the surprise ending. Never thought I would say this but I'm excited for the next one!
Cal on Apr 29, 2011
Completely agree--just got back from seeing it...loved every freaking minute. Vin vs. Johnson was fantastic. What was even better was the theater crowd--they really got into the film. A slam-bang action film with fast cars and great characters and one hell of a surprise at the end. This is really the best film of the series and what can I say? I had a blast. Bring on the next one.
Anonymous on May 1, 2011
I can't wait! I'm going tonight. With the exception of part 2, I quite enjoyed the movies. Thanks Jeremy!
Chris A. on Apr 29, 2011
I only care for "The Fast and the Furious" "Fast and Furious" and this one, the in betweeny sequels blow.
Xerxexx on Apr 29, 2011
lol awesome headlining picture, he's doing a weird De Niro face
PyroDark on Apr 29, 2011
Love these movies!
M.K. Nielsen on Apr 29, 2011
Ive found anything thats worth reviewing by FS is usually a near masterpiece of whatever genre its in.......an all out action movie reviewed here? This must be good.
Cody W. on Apr 29, 2011
Remember that they reviewed sucker punch
Max s. on Apr 30, 2011
Sucker Punch like Watchmen is a love it or hate it film, and it was loved here.
Xerxexx on Apr 30, 2011
But in most places was hated
Max s. on May 2, 2011
pshhh Tokyo Drift was sick as hell
Anonymous on Apr 29, 2011
i gave it 9/10 when i went to see this was awesome!
A5J4DX on Apr 29, 2011
Saw this film last week here in Australia and I have got to tell you that this film is so awesome. I agree this is the best film in the series. The action is totally insane. If it's true and Justin Lin is indeed making the next Terminator film than I think that we can erase that last sequal Salvation from our minds for good.
Last Son on Apr 30, 2011
I'm going to a midnight showing tonight, can't wait!
jah p on Apr 30, 2011
Dwayne Johnson should seriously be considered for Best Supporting actor, he is fantastic. Hilarious, intense, macho, and just flat out a bad ass. Lin definetly went for the Inception "vibe" by having a large ensemble and by offering non stop action set pieces. Very entertaining and fun, aside from a few issues.
Zac917 on Apr 30, 2011
This movie was the biggest pile of bullsh i've seen. 8 out of 10? Really? The intro was kinda wicked and then everything just crashed in the middle. Script ran the wrong way and it was completely laughable that these two wimpy cars drag a 5 tonne Safe around like it was nothing. The rocks sudden change of heart killed the tension halfway and the pacing was gone half way through... If you give this garbage an 8 then (yes, i get it. Im just another asshole with an opinion, however you can still have or lose credibility) you are easily entertaint. Let me guess, Transfor2 was an 9/10? Really if you like decent movies, save the money, watch it on netflix later on and watch something else. You will thank me later for it
Anonymous on Apr 30, 2011
Toan Nguyen on Apr 30, 2011
I just hope paul walker's lazy acting and nasley surfer accent doesnt drive me nuts, and Ludacris , and Tyrese.....Oh nevermind I think Ill Net flix to be safe.
McWilly on Apr 30, 2011
Can't believe some film can actually get such opening. Waiting for Fast Five to be released in India. But I am not able to find much of the photos and all here. I found some cool ones for Fast Five on a website called http://www.desimartini.com Though the info you have given me is amazing. Thanks man...
Fast Five on Apr 30, 2011
Aside from slight pacing issues in the 2nd half and dwayne's character's "reversal" being a bit flat, the only gripe I have were the too quick camera cuts during the final chase. Way too hard to keep track of the action and took away from the believability of them dragging that safe. I recall a behind-the-scenes segment for The Empire Strikes Back where the FX gurus talked about shooting the AT-ATs lumbering (walking slowly) to show their large scale and massive weight without having any reference buildings or landscaping in the shots. (There was nothing but snow dunes). If Lin had cut those shots a half-second longer, or taken a few cuts out the chase scene would've played out much better.
Anonymous on Apr 30, 2011
Who could forget such memorable lines as "mission freaking insanity" or "never ever let them get into car". Lol just saying pretty cheesy trailer
John stamos on Apr 30, 2011
FAST FIVE is both faster and more furious. A look back at the FF5 franchise: http://j.mp/knkanD
Rick Chung on May 1, 2011
Great match up between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Desiel. Strong character performances from Dom and Brian, great action!! Love how they bring in all the characters from the previous films. This was the best of these movies!!!
Batsupe on Jul 10, 2011
Sorry, new comments are no longer allowed.