They’re back. Yes, all of them.And they’re in the mood to dole up whole new genres – Action Porn, Car Porn, Heist Porn, Wisecrack Porn, Masculinity Porn. Call it whatever you want, there’s no denying that Fast Five is more than just a decent piece of mindless entertainment.
Dom Toretto (Diesel) has style to burn and he’s armed with a bunch of familiar oddballs to pull off a colossal heist in South America. Brian O'Conner (Walker) and Mia (Brewster) are on the run, and have holed up in Rio post the events in Fast and Furious. And they’re going to have a baby – which is pretty much the only bit of character development in this film.
The trio jams with Vince (Matt Schulze), the meat-head from the original film, in an attempt to rob multiple luxury cars from a moving train. They foil the plans of the biggest drug lord in town (Almeida) and end up on the wanted list of a special task force led by the hulking Luke Hobbs (The Rock). Toretto and O'Conner finally arrive at the logical conclusion that they must pull off one last big heist, obtain new passports and identities and flee the country.
The heist requires a team. Enter ‘conman’ Roman (Gibson) from 2 Fast 2 Furious, ‘technician’ Ludacris from the first two films, ‘logistics guru’ Han from Tokyo Drift, ‘driver and hottie’ Gisele from Fast and Furious, Leo and Santos from Tokyo Drift. Raah-Raahs and fist-pumps. Of course, none of them do anything other than sipping beer, hanging out at street racing gigs, sneering, and desperately looking mean to justify the macho mood of the film. Anyhow they do manage to formulate a plan, in spite of Hobbs gradually closing in on them. Outrageous is the norm – for instance the gang obtains the fingerprints of the crime boss by having him pat the skimpy bikini wrapping Gal Gadot’s buttocks.
Once again, the imagery is ultra-slick – with a nearly imperceptible mixture of live stunt driving and CGI, beautifully packaged and slapped into life via jump-cuts, tilt shifts, slo-mo and pizzazz. Universal bumped up the film’s budget up from $70 million to $125 million and it shows. We are treated with a plethora of Dodge Chargers which somehow manage to go really fast and even occasionally drift. Between the brilliantly flashy police car drag race and half a dozen shootouts, director Justin Lin pummels us with swooping overheard shots of the statue of Christ the Redeemer. The laws of physics are ignored for an extended amount of time, and Diesel and The Rock engage in perhaps the most memorable brawl on celluloid since Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick crashed through walls in Terminator 2.
Vin Diesel and The Rock seem to surround the low-key, almost invisible Sung Kang; Walker and Brewster generally sleepwalk and let the cars to the work; but Calderon and Don Omar bring some much needed colour with their one-liners. Gadot gets an opportunity to show a little skin, and Gibson hilariously hams as is expected of him.
Fast Five is the best film of the series. It’s a guilty pleasure to watch two plus hours of endless amounts of action. Do hang around during the end credits, because Justin Lin offers a surprise that renders hanging tongues and ear-to-ear grins.
First published in DNA