Fast Five puts Fast Cars in Focus

Fast Five is the fifth installment in the odd The Fast & The Furious franchise that often had nothing in common between movies except cars, which is OK with me because I like cars.

The Fast & The Furious was a fun movie about the world of sport compact cars spiced with a dash of crime and cool stunts. 2 Fast 2 Furious brought back only Paul Walker from the original moved the location to Miami and was not too bad. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift had only cars in common with the other films and brought director Justin Lin to the franchise but was awful in a Transformers 2 “full of sound and fury signifying nothing” way. In Fast & Furious, Lin tried—he really tried—to make  a good movie but only partially succeeded. In Fast Five he puts it all together with a film that’s part Oceans 11 and part The Italian Job (the re-make not the classical original) substituting Dodge Chargers for Mini Coopers. But hey, it works.

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Fast Five brings back many of the character and actors from the first two films and brings in Dwayne Johnson as the cop that’s hot on their trail after Paul Walker’s character breaks Vin Diesel our of a bus taking prisoners to jail. This is a fabulous set piece using a full-size bus flipping in the air and crashing. It’s an amazing sequence that sets the stage for the rest of the film and since this new movie is essentially a heist film, continues on to another spectacular set piece where Walker and Diesel steals cars —from a rolling train.

Dwayne Johnson is a wonderful addition to the cast, chews the scenery, and during the credits (don’t eject the disc!) there’s an uncredited appearance by the beautiful and mind numbingly sexy Eva Mendes with Johnson hinting at another sequel (The Swift Six?) and answers the question why isn’t Michelle Rodriguez in the film. The final heist is very Oceans 12 in that they’re stealing from a really bad gut but do it with a hunch of Dodge Chargers echoing the bank robbery in For a Few dollars More but using horsepower instead of horses.

Fast Five is fun (three and one-half kernels out of five) romp for anybody who loves action films with great car chases.

Cross posted from my movie blog—IHatePopcorn.com