Former cop Brian O'Conner partners with ex-con Dom Toretto on the opposite side of the law. Since Brian and Mia Toretto broke Dom out of custody, they've blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he's not the only one on their tail. Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can't separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey... before someone else runs them down first. Written by
"Home sweet home" utters Diesel's beefcake criminal Dom Toretto to Walker's baby-faced ex-cop Brian O'Conner as they sit in Toretto's souped up muscle car ready to race along the streets of Rio de Janeiro. There's more than a hint of irony in this; fans of the Fast franchise will know exactly what Dom means. The sequels spawned from the highly successful first film have been a mixed bag appealing to different tastes. Some have been mildly entertaining in their own way, but the one major issue they've all shared is a lack of recurring characters and follow-on narratives. 2009's Fast & Furious partially rectified that by having the main four from the original movie return, but it's this fifth entry that really starts to bring the whole series together.
There's supporting characters from every instalment featured here Matt Schulze's Vince from number one; Tyrese's big-mouthed Roman and Ludicrous' Tej from 2 Fast 2 Furious; Sung Kang's charismatic Han from Tokyo Drift; and Gal Gadot's sexy Gisele from F&F with a post-credits cameo to cap it off. Scribe Chris Morgan has obviously done his homework as, in addition to the 'who's who' line-up of co-stars, there are references to the previous movies (and characters that don't appear) and he introduces subplots that help build on earlier story lines. This integration of the Fast universe, along with the marvellously tongue-in-cheek mood, notches up a level of interest not before seen in the car-crazy franchise.
After taking a new course with Tokyo Drift, and failing to impress with Fast & Furious, filmmaker Justin Lin has well and truly ignited the series with exciting set pieces and lashings of well placed humour. He still struggles to effectively call the shots when exposition (or mere conversation) is required; however he clearly has a handle on shooting the various fast-paced action scenes. There is a spectacular heist of luxury cars aboard a train (with a marvellously ridiculous denouement); a Bourne-esque free-running chase along roof tops; and a bruising hand-to-hand melee between The Rock and big Vin.
Of the major stars, it's Fast newcomer Dwayne Johnson who shines the brightest. His epic bad-ass cop makes Toretto look like an absolute sissy, which is no easy feat. He also boasts many of the film's greatest lines and comes away looking the least corny something Diesel and Walker are evidently use to by now. The chalk and cheese pairing of the two wannabe action stars brings with it a decent slab of shonky acting. Chrome-domed Diesel is especially silly and unconvincing when required to open his mouth, but he looks good behind the wheel of a car and adds plenty to the unapologetic macho atmosphere.
Thanks to Morgan's decent script, Lin's solid grasp on the action and Johnson's tough-as-nails turn, this latest addition to a franchise that appeared to be running on fumes has just stepped on the gas.
3.5 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Average, 3 - Good, 4 - Great, 5 - Brilliant)
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