I wish I could say that Fast Five was the fastest, most furious movie of the series, and that there wouldn’t be faster, more furious movie all year. I have to be honest though. Fast Five just wasn’t fast enough for me, and it’s hardly furious at all.
It opens with the prison break suggested at the end of Fast & Furious. Then in Rio, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordanna Brewster) go on a run with their old L.A. racer Vince (Matt Schulze). Dominic (Vin Diesel) shows up on the heist, but the deal goes bad and DEA agents get killed. So the feds send in Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his boys from the Diplomatic Security Services to bust them.
People make fun of the Fast and Furious movies for being light on plot, but the problem with Fast Five is that there’s too much plot. I should have known something was wrong when they showed the prison break. The stunt is straightforward and not as cool as if it were implied, and it’s got nothing on the pre-title tanker sequence from Fast & Furious.
The first heist has some good moments like ripping open the side of a train for Dom’s grand entrance, and Brian does some Keanu-worthy jumps from/onto moving vehicles. Then they start taking apart the GTO the Brazilian gang was after, because they’re still expert mechanics. Here begins a lot of explanation about a chip and Reyes’s (Joaquim de Almeida) drug money.
Hobbs busts onto the scene with charismatic bravado. He asks a character, “Am I right?” and when she agrees, he replies, “Of cours I am.” He walks through a gang of Brazilian gunmen on pure attitude and tosses official papers aside, because he gets it. This is the job just because it is. A rooftop chase between the DSS, the Brazilians and Dom’s gang balances three elements with complicated movements, but it’s never quite awesome.
From here it’s a solid hour of all exposition. Dom and Brian get the team from previous sequels back together. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) help with the technical and Gisele (Gal Gadot) and pre-Tokyo Drift Han (Sung Kang) handle intel. It’s nice to see everyone again but they waste a lot of time on stupid scenes like Roman fast talking a guard. That’s a shame because he was funny in 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Dom maps out Reyes’s entire operation. Then the DSS re-figures it out on their own. Dom and Brian finally go to a street race party, complete with Brazilian T&A, and they skip the race. I get the joke that we just assume they won, but when there’s been no action for a while that’s a flat out failure. THIS is the race you leave implied? Instead we see the crew make practice runs for the heist they’re planning against Reyes.
We finally get a quarter mile race about 80 minutes into the movie. I think they saved all their fury for the climactic sequence, which is good. There’s certainly not enough Hobbs. I appreciate all the talk about family but all those plot scenes weren’t building any character. You do get to see Diesel and The Rock fight, about as cathartic as Jet Li vs. Dolph Lundgren in The Expendables.
Because I was anticipating it so highly, Fast Five becomes my first official disappointment of the summer, and that makes me FURIOUS.