Fast Five Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated May 21st, 2011 at 10:48 pm,

fast five review Fast Five Review
Screen Rant’s Ben Kendrick reviews Fast Five

It’s been 10 years since The Fast and the Furious power-slid into theaters trailed by mixed reviews but an overwhelmingly positive reaction from fans. Future installments, especially 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, were panned by critics but (in spite of mostly nonsensical plots and sub-par acting) the films continued to bring in big bucks for Universal – delivering the same over-the-top action sequences grounded in illegal street-racing culture that fans had come to expect.

Now, director Justin Lin is once again stepping behind the wheel of another Fast and Furious film (side note: he directed Tokyo Drift as well as Fast & Furious) with Fast Five. The film not only stars the fan-favorite pairing of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), but also brings back a number of familiar faces from prior installments – as well as introducing hell-hath-no-fury DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) into the mix. However, saddled with so many personalities in one film, does Fast Five still deliver high-octane action and an engaging story?

Fans of prior installments will be pleased to hear that Fast Five is probably the biggest and most over-the-top film in The Fast and Furious franchise. It’s not likely to win over many audience members who didn’t see any of the earlier films but, for anyone who likes muscle cars, beautiful women, and heist films, Fast Five delivers plenty of pulse-pounding moments.

If you’re unfamiliar with the basic Fast Five plot, here’s the synopsis:

Since Brian and Mia broke Dom out of custody, they’ve blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom.  As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he’s not the only one on their tail.

Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can’t separate the good guys from the bad.  Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey…before someone else runs them down first.

While both Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are once again adequate as the leads in Fast Five, in a film packed with plenty of familiar faces, it’s Dwayne Johnson’s agent Hobbs – coupled with a competent heist script by Chris Morgan (Cellular, Fast and Furious) – that ends up elevating the project above many of the other installments. The rivalry between Hobbs and Toretto offers-up a number of interesting moments – which, despite plenty of cheesy and/or testosterone-fueled dialogue, successfully delivers intriguing moment-to-moment tension as well as larger character-focused story beats. Seeing the two heavy-hitters square off will, for most fans, deliver on all the hype the film has been receiving as a result of the pairing.

Dwayne Rock Johnson Vin Diesel Fast Five Fast Five Review

Vin Diesel and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in 'Fast Five'

The rest of the cast fills in the requisite heist roles (brains, brawn, etc) and, despite the large roster, still manages to avoid overwhelming the audience with too many stories. The side characters are mostly inserted for comic relief – and coupled with the in-your-face testosterone of the stars, it’s a nice relief.

The actual “job” itself isn’t the greatest caper audiences will ever see on film and there are plenty of potholes – as well as implausible scenarios. However, Fast Five moves quick and offers up a rapid-fire set of entertaining and humorous story beats – and, as a result, moviegoers probably won’t have enough time to dwell on many of the inconsistencies.

The film once again relies heavily on Toretto’s notions regarding loyalty and “family” – which lead to a pair of bizarre and altogether uninteresting side-stories that do very little to forward the narrative or the action. Everyone, meaning the core team of roughly ten people, is especially cavalier about the mission this round – which makes it even more bizarre to bog-down the reckless action stars with congratulatory hugs and kisses. As a result, Fast Five is at its best when it locks into the Italian Job-esque plot (albeit with a few less “brains”) – and is at its worst whenever melodrama and love is in the air.

Obviously, most Fast and Furious fans aren’t necessarily looking for a smart story with witty dialogue (though, it’s a shame because Morgan’s script this round is more polished than usual) so they’ll be relieved to hear that Fast Five delivers where it counts most: offering the biggest and best (albeit totally unbelievable) action of the series so far. The trailers spoil a number of the larger set-pieces (which involve words like cliff, train, and safe) but Lin still manages to offer a few surprises along the way.

Fast Five Cast Fast Five Review

The cast of 'Fast Five'

That said, muscle-car fans may feel a little cheated this round, since there’s considerably less focus on racing, augmenting rides, etc. – and a much greater focus on “the job.” Fast Five still spends plenty of time celebrating the speed-racing culture, but it’s more of a side-thought this round, rather than the primary drive for the story – and, though some die-hard fans might feel slighted, the film is better as a result.

As a side note, it’s worth mentioning that Fast Five will be releasing in IMAX in addition to regular screens – though it’s hard to understand exactly why. Unlike The Dark Knight (which utilized the format to immerse viewers in the Gotham City streets) or even Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (which bumped the robots up to a near life-size scale), the Fast Five scope is too claustrophobic and the action too frantic to really make use of the format (at least visually – since, admittedly, the engines sounded great).

Of course Fast Five isn’t going to take home very many wins from the award circuit, but the film delivers on its promise of over-the-top action, beefy meat-head bravado, and beautiful cars. The series has found new traction in the heist format, abandoning the stale and somewhat limited street-racing culture of the earlier installments – resulting in a fun and immensely entertaining ride.

If you’re still on the fence about seeing Fast Five, check out the official trailer below:

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[poll id="150"]

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know what you thought of the film.

Fast Five is currently playing in theaters.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

TAGS: fast five

62 Comments

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  1. I plan on seeing it tonight.

  2. Why does Tego have a wrestling belt on his shoulder????

    • Haha it’s a shirt design.

  3. How long do I have to wait for “FasTen” ?

  4. What’s with the -1% for 2 stars?

    • JRJ,

      What do you mean? I’m not following…

      Vic

      • I think he means that when he looked at the poll, the “2 stars” count was at -1% of the total votes. It isn’t that way now, however.

  5. Sounds hilariously bad yet radical if your say 13?

    Ok can we start up the next Riddick film please.

  6. Loved every minute of it, will be seeing it again and again. Best movie so far this year for me. :)

  7. Looking forward to seeing it soon. Thanks for the review, Ben. And i gotta know. Do you think the stunt shown in the top picture of the article was really the two actors doing the stunt themselves?

    • I doubt it. I know Walker and Diesel did a lot of their own stunts but I would guess they had them standing up on a car in a wind tunnel or something ;)

      • That stunt was thoroughly intense. I got chills and laughed so hard when Brian looked up, saw the cliff, and was like “Oh shi…”

  8. well done fun for the movie, great start to the summer movie season. Yes, the action sceens are pure hollywood fun and fluffy goodness, but the its the a good build off the last film for sure. I’ll want to see it again on the bid screen and deff put into the collection. It is what it is, a good popcorn film for the start of the summer with a great set up in the credits for the next film.

  9. This is one of those movies that you shouldn’t expect much from. Just go see it to have fun.

  10. I just saw Fast Five. It was legit. I first read a review on LAcritic.com, but this reviews seems to be on point too… I guess great sites think alike.

  11. Saw it 2 weeks ago in the UK and have gone back twice to watch it again was that good..

  12. great movie, am definately seein it again before Thor comes out next week

  13. Dude on MSN gave it 4 1/2 stars and Ebert gave it 3 and you give it 3 1/2 which means it should be a flick worth checking out. Especially the fight between Rock and Diesel

  14. Wow i’m shocked. I never expected a person that actually is suppose to review films to actually like this trash. Sad sad day.

    • 97 out of 123 reviewers at RottenTomatoes gave this favorable reviews. It’s junk food but it’s tasty junk food.

      Vic

      • haha certainly was,i’ve only seen one other(the third) and i dont regret seeing it opening day after work

    • I liked it a lot. I hadn’t seen any of the previous “Fast” movies. The end chase scene is the best crash-em up I’ve ever seen on film.

  15. That picture up top is funny with Vin and The Rock face to face.Vin Diesel MUST be standing on a box or something,because I know that he’s not anywhere the same hight as The Rock.

  16. Watched it today and I’m defiantly going to watch it again when Thor releases it was really good and I hear they are working on fast six I’m curious where they’ll go next

    • Should have stayed for the credits and beyond: they give a hint for the next movie

    • Like Jay said, stay for the after credits scene if you want a hint where they may go next.

      Great action film. DJ and Vin really need to be headlining more action films IMO

  17. Simply put, it’s one of the best action movies of recent years. If you’ve enjoyed any of the previous FAST movies, this one will knock your socks off.

  18. Just saw the movie tonight awesome lots of action love the FAF franchise no matter how many more come out ill be there.

  19. how is the camera work for the action b/c i get sore eyes with hollywod’s new fetish of including shaky cam into every action/fight/chase scene.

    • a couple more questions, how hardcore are the action scenes (shoot outs, fist fights etc) and how big/noticeable the plot holes (could you explain some). just want to get a rough idea of what to expect. i dont have high expectations for it (FF5), but i dont want to sit through something almost as bad/stupid as F&F4.

      • There are definitely a lot of quick cuts and shaky cam footage. But not as bad as some recent films (*cough Battle: LA).

        As far as plot holes, there are some. It’s not an especially competent heist film – but it’s adequate when coupled with some over-the-top action scenes (which range from silly but exciting [the safe scene] to very physical and intense [the clash between Diesel and Johnson]).

        • cool, good to know i wont be feeling sick throughout the movie ;)
          also, why have they moved the stars to the bottom of the page, the top was so much better b/c straight away we get a rough idea of what the review/movie is gonna be like.

          • they want you to read the review I think and not just go off of the rating. Not necessarily you but the folks who do that.

  20. i highly recomend it ive seen it and it is 1 of the best films ive ever seen

  21. I absolutely love this movie. Just wow…I hope some of y’all had stayed through the credits and saw the extra scene. It drew a big WOW and WTF from the audience :O

  22. I loved this movie, I will definitely watch
    it again.

  23. It was a good action flick, even though the laws of physics were thrown out the window. And definitely stay passed the ending credits; that totally blew me away. 4/5 for me.

  24. I just saw this movie. It was excellent. The plot, the story, and action, especially the fight scene between the Rock and Vin’s character, Dom, was all excellent. 4.5 out of 5 is what I give this movie. I think I read somewhere where it was given 2 stars (I don’t think it was screerant though).

  25. Yeah, screenrant, You guys are wrong on this one (with the 3.5 rating). I never really cared for this franchise, but this particular one was good. This movie is worth 4.5.

    • Mr. Day,

      3.5 is not a bad rating at all. It’s very much on the positive side of the scale.

      Vic

      • Understandable, Vic. I just think it should have been rated higher. This particular movie has made me interested in the ones I did not see. I did see the fast five where the main actors were Tyrese and Paul Walker, but now I am interested in the others.

  26. I have loved all of the movies, but this one was the best. It confused me about the chronological order though. i thought han died in tokyo?

    • Fast and Furious (#4) and Fast Five (#5) take place *before* Tokyo Drift (#3), but after The Fast and the Furious (#1) and 2 Fast 2 Furious (#2).

      If the franchise continues with Han, my guess is they’ll either:

      a) flashback to the scene in which he died, and reinvent it, showing that he actually faked his death

      b) keep joking about how Han will “one day” make it to Tokyo (making every film since Tokyo Drift actually a prequel to that movie)

      c) not bring the actor back, so they can restore the continuity (whereby every subsequent film takes place after the time frame of Tokyo Drift)

  27. FAST FIVE is both faster and more furious. A look back at the FF5 franchise: http://j.mp/knkanD

  28. loved it. It was great seeing my beautiful island Puerto Rico in the favela, vault, beach, and bridge scenes. Made me wandered if they shot anything in Rio. Also the movie would be a good analogy for what the Avengers should be. A good action movie with a group of characters from many movies coming together for a difficult task, with sufficient screen time between them.

  29. Loved this movie, best one yet, that scene after the credits was excellent!

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