A High Octane Review of Fast Five

Once again rolling out of Universal Studios is a brand new model of Fast and Furious film. This year’s vehicle carries the fresh sounding name Fast Five, but don’t be fooled, while updated with added punch, this model feels comfortable and familiar.

You must ask yourself “What do I want in a film?” If your answer is a heartfelt, honest portrayal of life that jerks tears and quests for Oscar gold then please look elsewhere. This movie is pure popcorn enjoyment. Filled with thrills, laughs, and a little heart you get exactly what you expect plus some.

Fast Five opens right where the fourth film Fast and Furious left off. Vin Diesel’s character Dom is on his way to a long boring life in prison when his family and friends decide his freedom is more important. Expect a strong scene of automotive ballet and the first of many Dodge vehicles to show just how tough it can be. This daring escape sends our heroes on the lam to Rio.

Brian (Paul Walker), Mia (Jordana Brewster), and Dom have two large issues in the Rio. One is the drug lord that owns the entire city, the other is a federal agent played by Dwayne Johnson. Through a series of predictable, yet truly entertaining, actions by everyone in the film Dom’s little family ends up in over their heads. Obviously it is time to fix everything by pulling a huge heist and committing several felonies.

Here is the great news for any fan of the franchise. As the heist takes shape Dom and Brian put together a dream team crew encompassing characters from every single film. Everyone has a favorite character somewhere in this extended family as Fast Five knows what its core audience really wants and delivers.

As an entrance to summer, Fast Five is the perfect early season popcorn movie. The summer movie crowd loves explosions, action, comedy, likable characters, and easy to follow stories. This movie fulfills all these simple requirements. As an example it takes less than 30 minutes before a train robbery (yep, you read that correctly) goes horribly awry and Dom is forced to destroy a car that most films wouldn’t even dare drive. That is actually the beginning of the core story. You can imagine the car carnage that must take place during the high speed finale. Insurance adjusters should avoid this movie as it could lead to sleepless nights and terror filled nightmares. As a bonus you do get to witness a knockdown, drag out, multi-room battle royale between a massive Vin Diesel and even larger Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

While filled with many great cars the cynic will quickly realize that the biggest donation to the production fleet was supplied by Dodge. Since the new Dodge line does include a couple muscle cars that fit right into the Fast and Furious flavor this, fortunately, does not feel like the huge product placement it is. Don’t let this scare all you car fanatics out there though. There are more than enough interesting cars from enough different makes that you and your friends will be playing name that car for many viewings.

An amazing cast of characters gets a few welcome additions in this long running franchise. Add to that enough high speed action and wrecked autos to keep the adrenaline up and you get a solid film that should throw the summer movie season in gear and slam the pedal to the floor. By the way, do yourself a favor and sit through the first couple minutes of the credits for a franchise expanding bonus scene with yet another returning actor. At five films strong let’s see if the series has the horsepower to make it to James Bond level.