Fast Five review

Paul Healy
I did receive an invite to the premiere of the fifth instalment in the Fast and Furious franchise but plans already in place meant I had to miss out the screening in the Savoy cinema on Wednesday evening and the undoubted shenanigans that normally take place when the great and the good of the Irish motorsport/tuning scene get together. Instead I had to pay like the general public to see the film on its release date on Thursday 21st. Thankfully she who must be obeyed is as big a fan of F&F as I am, for entirely different reasons, so it made for a good night out.

I went into the film not expecting a whole lot especially considering the disappointment of the fourth film but left pleasantly surprised whit what is possibly the best of the series since the original film. Its still a case of leave your brain at the concession stand and enjoy the film but this time they seemed to recapture the mix of cars, action, buff bodies and flimsy storyline that made the original film so popular.

Fast Five sees two of the protagonists from the first film, Brian O’Conner (Walker) and Mia Torreto (Brewster) doing their thing to save Dominic Torreto (Diesel) from being incarcerated for a sizeable chunk of time before going on the run to Rio de Janeiro. There they hook up with Vince from the first film (played again by Matt Schulze) who convinces them to take part in a job to further their run from the authorities. Unfortunately something goes wrong which sees our heroes fall foul of not only the local drug kingpin, Reyes ( Joaquim de Almeida) but also the FBI’s elite search crew lead by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Hobbs.

Out of revenge or necessity (you decide) the team decides to hit Reyes where it hurts by staging an audacious heist to relieve him of $100 million. This sees the team call in support from some of the players in the previous four films. From 2 Fast 2 Furious we have Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris), from Tokyo Drift we see Han (Sung Kang) and from Fast & Furious the delightful Gisele (Gal Gadot). We are also joined by Leo and Santos (Tego Calderon and Don Omar) two smaller characters from the previous movies who provide the comic relief. With the team assembled they all use their various skills to set the operation in motion all the time managing to stay one step ahead of Hobbs and his team of specialists.

Fast Five is not as car heavy as some of the previous films – they still play a large part but individual cars are not as central to the storyline as they have been previously. That said how many other films could pull off a combination of Dodge Charger (new and old), Porsche GT3 RS, Koenigsegg, Ford GT40 and a Gurkha LAPV. There is still street racing (which leads the one the films funniest moments), enough scantily clad women to keep you interested, a kicking soundtrack and an amazing fight scene between Diesel and Johnson when the FBI team finally catch up with their prey.

Its not groundbreaking (the first film took that honour), its not going to win any Oscars, nor is it going to change your perception of high speed car chases (they are still cool) but as a way for a petrol head to while away a couple of hours this is the best in the series bar the original film even if the editor appeared to leave a perfectly good race sequence on the cutting room floor. ‘This is how we roll’