The Fast and Furious series kicks into high gear and fires on all cylinders with FAST FIVE (2011).
FAST FIVE is a good-natured heist film in the style of OCEAN'S 11 (2001). It has the added plus of Dwayne Johnson costarring as a federal agent who might be the only man big enough and cagey enough to take on Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel).
The movie picks up exactly where FAST & FURIOUS (2009) left off, showing us how Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) spring Dom from a prison bus. Given that over half a decade passed between the second and third movies, it was nice to have that kind of continuity. In that regard it reminded me of the Jason Bourne series.
The trio end up living on the run in Rio. Mia and Brian are expecting a baby, so Dom proposes the proverbial "one last heist" in order to fund everyone going off into the sunset for a happy ending. To that end, he rounds up the old gang, including Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sun Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot, the upcoming WONDER WOMAN), and Brian's old friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson).
Meanwhile federal agent Hobbs (Johnson) is hot on Dom and Brian's trail. As he closes in to make his arrests, he finds himself unexpectedly allied with our antiheroes. (One of Hobbs' best lines about Dom and Brian comes when he tells his fellow agents, "And above all else we don't ever, ever let them get into cars!" Loved it.)
One of the running things which is amusing in these movies is that despite being a crook, Dom is a stickler for saying grace before meals. And his most prized possession is the crucifix which belonged to his late girlfriend Letty. Yet he doesn't seem to see the disconnect between that and his lifestyle...
This is a fun movie which is satisfying on multiple levels, including humor, great action set pieces, and quieter moments in which we watch relationships deepen. Familiarity with the characters developed over several films makes it even more enjoyable.
FAST FIVE was directed by Justin Lin and filmed by Stephen Windon. It runs 131 minutes.
Parental Advisory: FAST FIVE is rated PG-13 for extensive non-graphic cartoon violence and some mild sexual content.
FAST FIVE is on DVD and Blu-ray. It can currently be streamed on Amazon.
FAST FIVE follows THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001), 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003), and FAST & FURIOUS (2009). A related film, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT (2006), takes place after FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013).