I've been following the Fast and the Furious series since the first one in theater. While the sequels have been more subpar, the action has always been a lot of fun. So there was little expectation that the fifth in the series would be any better. Funnily enough, this newest installment is actually probably the best in the whole series.

Picking up right after the end of the fourth installment, but before Tokyo Drift, Fast Five has Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) busting Dom (Vin Diesel) out of his prisoner transit bus. They end up in Rio and old friend Vince (Matt Schulze) talks them into doing a job for a bit of cash. Unfortunately, this puts them in a bad position with a criminal kingpin who runs Rio by the name of Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). They know they need to quit the business and drop from the radar, but they need one last job to pull it off: stealing 100 million dollars from Reyes, which in and of itself is a near impossible task. And to top it all off, they have who is essentially a Black Ops guy named Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and a local cop, Elena (Elsa Pataky), after them to bring them in after they're accused of killing government agents. To help pull off the job, they bring in some old friends: Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Leo (Tego Calderon), and Santos (Don Omar).

The best way to describe the film is like The Fast and the Furious meets Ocean's 11. This is an over-the-top heist film through and through, with a bit of the added car flavor that the F&F films have always delivered. Of course you need previous knowledge of the films to have any idea who these people are and how they're connected (Hell, I've seen all the films and even I couldn't remember a few of them). Though there are some where the previous relationships aren't important--such as the characters I couldn't remember (Gisele, Leo, and Santos; for the record, Gisele and Leo are in the 4th film, which I only saw once, and Santos is actually a new character, which would explain me not remembering him). But if you haven't seen the previous films, there's a lot that's going to go over your head.

Anyway, the action is fantastic. Of course it is completely over-the-top and unrealistic, but they at least attempt to do it in as realistic a way as possible--an issue I had with the 4th film where there was some CGI because it was so unrealistic. In fact, the only issue I had in the movie with the action was the only issue I knew I'd have based on the trailer. When the car flies off the cliff and Brian and Dom jump from it as it falls toward the water--there's no way you can survive that fall, at least not completely unscathed. Otherwise, everything was fine. By the time we reached the end of the film, I had completely shut my brain off and wasn't bothered by the fact that 1 or 2 cars were able to pull a 10-ton safe (or something like that). And the big fight between Vin Diesel and The Rock? How awesome was that!

The heist aspect is a lot of fun. Just like the Ocean's films, we're given an ensemble where each person has their own job to do. Granted, by the time we reach the actual heist, some things have been rendered completely moot, but everybody still essentially has a job to do. Leo and Santos give us a lot of good comedy, though they aren't the only ones. Still, the film does have a bit of a tonal shift once the team joins in about halfway through. The first hour or so is a bit serious and gritty; however, once they get the heist idea and bring in the team, things become a bit lighter and more fun.

Currently, I only own the first film of the series. The second is OK, but it's the only on that doesn't include Vin Diesel (if you count the Tokyo Drift cameo), so it loses a bit due to that. Tokyo Drift isn't awful, but it's not much better than eh. I was pretty hyped right after seeing Fast & Furious, but after I let it sink in and thought about it more, the more I realized I didn't care for it all that much. It had a lot of action and I was hyped from seeing the original cast return, but outside that, it was pretty rough around the edges. So I allowed Fast Five to sink in for a couple days before writing the review... and I still maintain that it is one of--if not the--best of the series.

Rating System.
Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Yes, I really dug it that much. It's the heist factor--what can I say? It's not perfect, but it's a ton of fun. Anyway, stay tuned after the credits begin. There's an extra scene about halfway in that gives you quite a cool twist for those who have been following the series.)


  1. Good to know. I too have been watching these since the beginning. The film has been getting a lot of good reviews (which surprised me) - its actually fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

    I have enjoyed all of the films, Tokyo Drift being my least favorite (although it introduced us to Han, who I like).

    Doubt I will get to the theater to see this, but it is a definite DVD watch as soon as I can get it.

  2. Nothing wrong with a well-made, brainless summer flick. I think I will see this later this week :)

  3. Well, your review is much nicer than mine! But in the end, what do you expect, right? It wasn't awesome, but it was certainly more entertaining than "THE GREEN HORNET." Totally agree with you on the OCEANS 11 reference, too!

  4. Excellent review, could not agree with you more on pretty much every single point. So. Much. Freaking. Fun.

  5. A Royale? Damn! As you know, I had fun with this as well, that just seems...extraneous. Then again, you're the guy that gave Sucker Punch 4.5 stars and Drive Angry way too high a score, whatever that was. :P Clearly, you dig your action films.


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