Fast Five: Full-Throttle War With the Law

Summer is upon us and what better way to start blockbuster season than flipping a bus carrying convict Dominic Torrento? That’s exactly how Fast Five begins, right where 2009’s Fast and Furious ends – Dom (Vin Diesel) is convicted and being transported to prison. His sister Mia, now pregnant, and best pal Brian (Paul Walker) react to Dom’s sentence by doing what they do best – causing huge car crashes. This is pure popcorn entertainment at its very best and, besides one complaint, I loved every freakin’ frame of it. Its got really well-choreographed action, idiotic charm, and real stunt men doing real stunts. It’s the best bro-car movie since 2 Fast 2 Furious and the best of the franchise hands-down. It makes me want to do push-ups and pound a beer – at the same time!

After a news report states that NO ONE was hurt in the bus crash (seriously the thing flips like 11 times), we jump forward a few months to Rio, where Brian and Mia are hiding out. They get a gig from Dom’s ol’ buddy Vin (from the first Fast) stealing some DEA seized cars off a train. And BAM, Dom is there too. The job sours when it turns out that the Rio kingpin wants the cars and some DEA agents get shot. Is stealing DEA cars from a moving train ever easy?

Instead of fleeing Rio and running from the drug lord, Dom decides to rob the shit out of him. But he’s going to need help. EVERY secondary character (that’s still alive) from a previous Fast movie is called in. Tech expert Ludacris. Eye-candy Gisele who has the extremely important job of getting her ass grabbed by the kingpin. Motor-mouth Roman (Tyrese) who brings back his hilarious catch-phrase “I’m HUUNGRY” from Fast 2. Demolition experts Leo and Santos return as well. And let’s not forget Asian sensation HAN SEOUL-OH. Seriously, that’s Han’s full name in the movie. Fuckin’ A. There’s also Dwayne Johnson as DEA super soldier Hobbs. More on him later.

Snatching a 10-ton vault from a police station aint no cake walk, so the gang does some serious scheming and practice runs – complete with a mock police parking garage. And this is my only complaint. About 15-20 minutes of the film’s 2 hour run is spent on the gang stealing cars to find one with the agility to maneuver the parking garage without being spotted on camera. Then the plan gets flipped and the team just has to run ‘n’ gun. Way too much time is blown on running through the mock parking garage, only to throw it away in the end. BUT I can choke on my criticism because the actual heist is one of the greatest action sequences in forever.

I’m not sure how much of the vault they swag through downtown Rio during the climax was CGI’ed, but that shit is easy to spot so I’m going to say the majority of it wasn’t animated in post. Dom and Brian and their Dodge Chargers perform a full-throttle ballet as they drag the kingpin’s vault through Rio and it’s safe to say about 100 cop cars get annihilated in the process. It’s a well-crafted, competent sequence of stunt after stunt after stunt that honestly made me want to cheer. I love raw stunt flicks and this sequence has a serious old school feel to it. Bravo to the Lin’s crew and the stunt drivers for giving the CGI animators a day off. Besides real stunts, there’s plenty of helicopter shots so you get a real sense of perspective – something rare in this age of shaky-cam-BS.

The other action sequences are nothing to scoff at either. The foot-chase through a Rio favela is reminiscent of a Bourne rumble and the bout of fisticuffs between baldies Diesel and Johnson is pretty damn rough. You know it’s coming the whole film. It’s teased in all the trailers and TV spots. These two HUGE bald boys rumble. It’s a short but sweet sequence that actually reminded me of an out of the ring brawl from WWF. Just a lot of punching and grappling. Johnson sweats like he’s back in the WWF too. Always sweating.

Fast Five knows what the hell it is. It’s a mindless summer action flick with big stunts, small bikinis, and moronic dialogue. But it’s destined to be the Citizen Kane of 2011 mindless summer action flicks. It’s worth your hard-earned money to see on the big screen. Downloading cam-rips makes The Rock sweat even more profusely.