Movie review: “Fast Five”
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. 2 1/2 of 4 stars.
Film fans looking for a testosterone-drenched, adrenaline-pumping, nitrous-fueled, explosion- and bullet-riddled thrill ride need look no further than “Fast Five.”
Elaborate and excessive to the extreme, the fifth film in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise not only mashes up the physics-defying street-racing action of its predecessors with a daring heist scheme but also casts Dwayne Johnson as a foil to Vin Diesel’s antihero Dominic Toretto.
Guilty pleasure seekers will find plenty to relish, as director Justin Lin revs up the story with a fleet of careening and crashing vehicles, a bevy of scantily clad women and beefy bad boys and a reunion of intriguing supporting characters from other films in the series.
But with a more than two-hour runtime, “Fast Five” proves the cinematic equivalent of scarfing a gallon of triple-chocolate ice cream laced with Pop Rocks, and the movie may well induce a headache, upset stomach and should-have-known-better feeling.
“Fast Five” picks up right where the fourth installment, 2009’s “Fast & Furious,” left off, with former federal agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) pulling off a spectacular and absolutely implausible assault on the prison bus transporting her brother Dom, a gifted street racer and criminal with a heart of gold.
Now fugitives, Brian and Mia flee to Rio de Janeiro expecting to reunite with Dom, but his pal Vince (Matt Schulze) has not heard from him in weeks. Vince had hoped to recruit Dom for a job stealing high-end cars from a freight train, and since they are strapped for cash, Brian and Mia take her brother’s place on the crew.
The job goes bad, but Dom arrives at the last minute to help Mia escape with the most coveted of the cars, a Ford GT40. The Drug Enforcement Administration agents who seized the cars are killed in the crossfire, and Dom and Brian are captured by Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the Brazilian crime kingpin who set up the job and desperately wants something in the GT40.
Blamed for the deaths of the DEA agents, Dom and Brian are bumped to the top of the most-wanted list. Tough-as-nails Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) arrives in Rio with his crack team of fugitive apprehension specialists, and he also recruits inexperienced but straight-arrow local cop Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) as his team’s translator.
Dom and Brian give Reyes’ goons the slip, disassemble the muscle car and find a computer chip containing details of the drug lord’s $100 million money-laundering network. Not only could that much money buy the fugitives a new life, it also would allow them to take down Reyes.
They enlist some of their best pals and fan favorites from the franchise to travel to Brazil and help with the heist. The players include Brian’s fast-talking friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson), tech-savvy hustler Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), recon expert and wheelman Han (Sung Kang), weapons specialist and all-around tough cookie Gisele (Gal Gadot), and bickering explosives authorities Leo (Tego Calderón) and Santos (Don Omar).
As the eclectic international team plots the complicated heist, the chemistry among the secondary characters provides a welcome break from all the crash-bang action and sfrom the wooden acting by Walker, Diesel and Johnson, whose performances range from barely passable to downright painful. But the bone-jarring face-off between Diesel and Johnson lives up to expectations.
“Fast Five” runs on too long, crams in too many races and follows the usual heist movie course a little too closely. But amid the bombastic action set pieces, the sequel, which won’t be the last installment in the series, also takes a few audacious curves, including a surprising stinger worth waiting out the credits.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 13515Oklahoma tornadoes: The 'Big Dog,' the little boy and the hug that triumphs over tragedy
- 10081Oklahoma tornadoes: Cost, custom keep basements scarce
- 9722Finding Addyson – One family's struggle in the Moore tornado
- 8902Oklahoma tornadoes: Plaza Towers Elementary School teacher shoved students into bathroom as wall collapsed
- 6661Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill to join Blake Shelton at "Healing in the Heartland" Oklahoma tornado benefit
- 5295Oklahoma tornadoes: Woman meets the military officer who shared the clothes off his back
- 4594Story behind the photo: Family members describe desperate search for one another after EF5 twister
- 4515Oklahoma tornadoes: Sooners bring back some smiles to Sydney Angle's teammates
- 4167Oklahoma tornadoes: 27 remain hospitalized from tornadoes
- 4139Oklahoma tornadoes: Thunder reverses the role, takes a turn at cheering on the community
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients