The Fast and Furious franchise is one that I have never been overly fond of. The first one was decent, but all others that followed were just not very good at all in my opinion. Fast Five takes the whole idea of what these movies are all about and turns them on their head with lots of big time action and less of a focus on the import car culture and racing.
Back in the forefront are Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) as high stakes thieves who are on the run from just about every type of authority you can think of. After a major heist gone wrong puts a mysterious yet highly valuable item in their hands, the pair head to Brazil with questions about who was behind the job and what exactly did they find themselves in possession of.
With the FBI, CIA, and just about every other form of law enforcement hunting down the two men and their crew, federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team are the first to locate their whereabouts. With Hobbs on their tail, Toretto and O'Conner devise a plan that will not only help them put a Brazilian drug lord out of business, but will also enable them to escape the criminal life for good. All they have to do is pull off one of the more insane robberies ever concocted.
Director Justin Lin has been responsible for two other installments in the series so he knows the characters intimately enough that he can hold together the essence of the franchise while taking it in a whole new direction. The first thing you will notice about Fast Five is that it is a much bigger and more ambitious project than any of its predecessors. From the opening sequence all the way to the big (and I mean big) finale, there is more action than all of the previous films combined and everything is bigger, badder, and flat out better.
One thing you do not want to look for is Oscar worthy acting performances, I mean, just look at the cast. I would say that The Rock is the most respectable name on the list with Tyrese Gibson maybe a not so close second. The emphasis here, as always, is on style and eye candy. There's more than enough here for the ladies and guys will have no problem with both Jordana Brewster and Gal Gadot.
Speaking of The Rock, if you have been waiting for him to play a character on screen that is more like his wrestling super star alter ego, then you will be happy to see what he does here as he literally and figuratively flexes his muscle bound persona for the cameras.
Fast Five has turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise and, in my opinion, is one of the best action movies of the last several years. As long as future installments stay focused on jaw dropping chase scenes, big time explosions, and non stop action, then I will be there to cheer them on just as much as I did with this one.