Fast Five (2011)

Where the first in the series of action films was a remake of “Point Break,” director Justin Lin’s “Fast Five” is an iteration of “Ocean’s Eleven.” This time around, Justin Lin assembles characters from the first four “Fast” films to combine forces and steal from the richest man in Rio De Janeiro. When Dominic is broken out of jail by his old friend Briand and his sister Mia, he disappears leaving his friends to wonder where he ended up. During a big heist involving boosting cars from a local drug lord Hernan Reyes, Dominic appears to help Brian and Mia complete the job. But all goes wrong, when the group’s cohorts decide to change the deal. Little do they know that within one of the car’s is a chip containing a crucial stats about Reyes operation.

Meanwhile the US has enlisted the help of vicious federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a mean officer intent on tracking down the group and bringing them to jail. Dominic wants one last job now that new developments are arising between Brian and wife Mia, and the trio assemble a who’s who of the finest thieves from around the world. In spite of the charisma of the all star cast that fans of the series will recognize, “Fast Five” is still a showcase for the original trio of the series. Diesel has returned to the flash of Dominic Torretto without a single hitch and manages to make him a great anti-hero, who works outside the law, but still has some nobility. Paul Walker is the perfect antithesis to Diesel’s more intense turn, offering a great cohort in crime and danger who can bounce dialogue off of Diesel well.

Dwayne Johnson is a wonderful bit of casting as a new nemesis for the group. While he is strictly a man operating for the law, he charges in like a bull, and is never afraid to get his hands dirty at any point. Johnson is a foe that will really garner some worry from fans of the film that want to Dominic and his group come out clean, and Johnson takes the role by the balls. Most of “Fast Five” is a heist film and very little racing. Most of the races are implied with the big chase scenes reserved for the final leg of the film. Justin Lin finds some interesting ways to keep the car chases exciting and unique, the stunt work is pulled off flawlessly.

The additions of past cast members from previous films in the series work to the advantage of the series and its longevity. There are many ways for the arc to go, and Justin Lin is given the chance to open up new avenues to keep this series going for a long time. Every supporting player is given their own spotlight, and they keep “Fast Five” consistently entertaining and action packed until the very end. Director Lin and the writers know what the audience wants and they deliver in spades. From a last epic chase across Rio, to a fantastic fist fight between Diesel and Johnson, “Fast Five” signals the series just keeps getting better and better. “Fast Five” has really transformed this series from camp action cinema to exciting heist cinema.

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