So the other night, I finally sat down to watch the fifth instalment of The Fast and the Furious franchise aptly named Fast and Furious 5 directed by Justin Lin, returning as the director for the franchise since the 3rd installment. Released in 2011, even though I had never watched any of the previous films, I became intrigued by the film after seeing the trailer. It looked slick, fast paced and entertaining – a great action film in the making (and I like action films).
The film opens with a recap of the ending of Fast and Furious (the 4th instalment which brought back original cast members Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster) in which Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is jailed for a minimum 25 years. It seems all is lost until ex-cop, turned good friend Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Toretto’s sister and O’Conner’s girlfriend Mia (Jordana Brewster) elaborately crash the bus allowing Dom to escape. All this takes places in the first minute and a half of the film, so it certainly starts with a bang.
The three are then on the run; Brian and Mia end up in Rio, and running out of money they take part in a simple heist; as Dom joins them the job goes drastically awry causing the deaths of three federal agents. This is where the film properly starts, with the three facing the wrath of a powerful drug baron (Ramon Salazar from series 3 of 24 for the observant eyes out there), and also Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a special elite task force leader sent to take the trio down, as they’re wrongly blamed for the deaths of the federal agents. The three decide that with the information they unwittingly stole, they will perform one last job and disappear forever.
This sequel brings together quite a few familiar faces from the franchise including Matt Schulze, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, giving loyal fans of the series a film representing the entire Fast and Furious franchise, truly playing on the importance of ‘family’ that is constantly mentioned by Dom Toretto during the film. The film features fast-paced car sequences with even better cinematography, making you feel as much a part of the action. The acting isn’t going to be winning any of them any Oscars, but the script is filled with typical boyish one liners and the chemistry between some of the returning actors is definitely there. The three leads gel nicely together, particularly the tough-guy, ‘bromance’ style relationship that Paul Walker and Vin Diesel’s characters share. Jordana Brewster (who I definitely recognised from The Faculty after a quick IMDB search) is a nice addition also, bouncing off the two men, whose characters clearly care about her equally. Dwayne Johnson is a good addition to the action series, a man no stranger to action considering his past within the WWE. Hobbs and Toretto also serve as great sparring partners, with a competitive one-upmanship of cat and mouse going on between them.
If you have never seen the other films in the franchise don’t worry you can definitely get away without having watched them, although after a little read of Wikipedia, the film and characters’ background makes more. If you’re in the mood for a action film that doesn’t require a lot of over thinking then grab some popcorn and watch this. Fast forward to the end of the credits as well for a bonus scene that sets up Fast and Furious 6, which is currently shooting, scheduled for release in 2013.
“We find ‘em, we take ‘em as a team and we bring ‘em back. And above all else we don’t ever, ever let them get into cars.” Hobbs, Fast and Furious 5