Fast Five is the latest in the series of increasingly badly named films starring an assortment of stars. The Fast And The Furious came first, followed by 2 Fast 2 Furious (a better title than Highlander 2: The Quickening, I suppose), Fast And The Furious: Toyko Drift, Fast & Furious, leading into Fast Five. Which takes place between Fast & Furious and Tokyo Drift. This confuses me very much.
Luckily there is no danger of getting confused by the plot, which is basically Vin Diesel trying to steal money ($100 million, to be precise) from a Rio druglord after a car theft goes haywire and ends with him and his friends on the run. Chasing them is Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”), who seems to be perpetually sweating, even in situations that do not call for it (the climate of Rio might be to blame for this). It should be noted at this point that I neither remember nor care what the characters were actually called when I was watching the film (something this shares with The Expendables, instead just saying “oh, Vin Diesel and The Rock are going at it again.” As I have not seen the previous four, I am not aware whether there was greater or lesser character focus in this one but this instalment is not a character-driven movie. However, one thing that will not make one lick of sense to you is the post-credits sequel-hook.
The part of the movie that will most likely make or break a viewer’s opinion is the action sequence with the vault near the end of the movie. The first piece of vehicular destruction of the movie will almost certainly make you a bit less willing to suspend your disbelief, but the movie makes up for that later…by shattering it into a thousand pieces and just telling you to roll with it. The physics are both realistic and unrealistic at the same time, as the vault does not stop when the cars do (following the laws of inertia), but at the same time, two cars can pull a heavy bank vault down a road. The events of the scene would make for some stranger-than-fiction insurance claims in reality.
I’ll be honest – the film had its moments despite my expectations and some of the attempts at humour did make me laugh. If nothing else you can be impressed by the spectacle of the various stunts and vehicular destruction involved. Odds are that not all of you would view this film in the same way I do, and you could do worse than sit down and watch this film (which, after all, is not designed to be particularly high-minded and intelligent). It promises you high-speed chases, beautiful women and shots of The Rock sweating. And dammit, you get your high-speed chases, beautiful women and a sweating Rock.