This review originally appeared on Reel Film News (www.reelfilmnews.com)
Good summer movies keep you watching the screen while just blowing your mind with the sweeping special effects that make you ask yourself…how did they do that? They’re usually called “popcorn” flicks because you just keep sitting there shoveling popcorn into your mouth while never looking down. And considering most summer movie blockbusters are sequels, it takes a lot to bring back the same audience, as well as increase the audience’s attendance to the franchise. And the best way to do that is to take what’s successful and work on that and reinvent yourself to appeal to a broader audience. Fast Five does just that.
Taking a movie that is about fast car racing and turning it into a movie about fast car racing and a heist are writers Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson of the last in the series successful films, Fast & Furious. And it’s also directed by the same person as well, Justin Lin. These guys seem to get it when it comes to reinventing a series that has been successful, but seeing the possibility for all that much more.
This time around we bring back all of the characters from all of the films in the series. We start out by focusing in on Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) who team up to break out Mia’s brother Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). They all go their separate ways after the dramatic breaking out of Dominic off of the prison bus we see him on at the end of the last film
Brian and Mia make their ways down to Rio de Janeiro where they go to see Vince (Matt Schulze). He offers them a job and of course since they need the money they take it. Enter Dominic as well on a well-choreographed train stunt that will blow you away. Let’s just say things go bad and we’re introduced to our bad guy, Reyes, well played by Joaquim de Almeida. He’s after something, but we don’t quite know what. We’re also introduced to Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a determined agent out to get Brian and Dominic and will shoot, kill, and do just about anything to get his prey.
Flash forward a bit to Dominic and Brian wanting to put the hurt on Reyes and the only way to do so is to steal all his money, $100 million dollars in all. But in order to do that we definitely need to bring the entire team back which consists of Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris),Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), and many others you’ll recognize from the previous films. They are set to plan a master heist to steal from Rio’s most powerful and influential man. Can they do it? Will they succeed? That’s where all the fun is.
The great thing about this film is they never lose sight of what worked in the previous films. All the characters personalities blend perfectly and the writers pair certain characters extremely well to play off of each other. This film has humor, action, and even a little heart. Basically everything.
I love the addition of Hobbs. Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel are perfectly matched. These are two well fit guys who I would love to see in life truly fight each other. I’m not convinced who would come out on top, only that they’re paired well together. Yea, Johnson’s goatee in the film is a little strange, but you’ll get past it pretty fast. I truly believe he’d do anything to get everyone.
This is a great start to the summer and a film that anyone can see, even if you haven’t seen any of the previous films. It wraps things up nicely at the end, but with a film franchise so successful…do you really believe Universal is going to let this one fade away into the sunset (on the beach)? A little hint for everyone who sees it…stick around past the end credits with the imagery and you’ll be in for a little surprise!
FINAL GRADE: A –
Movie Review by Bill Ayres