Fast Five

Directed By: Justin Lin

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, Elsa Pataky, and Joaquim de Almeida

Unless you're dealing with Harry Potter, James Bond, or a very entertaining serial killer, the fifth installment in a film series is typically a long shot for any franchise.  Hell, most series don't make it past three or four installments.  For reaching this milestone, I have to applaud The Fast and The Furious franchise.  In fact, we'll be seeing our boys Toretto and O'Conner burning rubber and kicking ass for quite some time.  In Fast Five, the franchise shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

The film picks up exactly where Fast & Furious left off.  As career criminal Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is hauled off to a federal prison on a bus, his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and rogue FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) decide to break Dom free and flee the country.  The Feds task their toughest agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), with leading a strike force to find and capture these fugitives.  The "Old Testament" Hobbs unleashes hell on Dom and his family.  As Dom eloquently puts it though, "running ain't freedom".

Mia and Brian go to Rio de Janeiro where they meet Dom's brother Vince (Matt Schulze).  While they await Dom's arrival, they take a job for some quick cash stealing some cars for drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).  Unfortunately, they're double-crossed by Reyes, and Dom ends up saving the day.  Out for revenge, the trio plans a $100 million heist to clean out Reyes.  They need more than just kickass drivers though, so they assemble an all-star team of crooks to pull off this mission.

For Fast Five, Justin Lin has really assembled an impressive cast.  Not only does he bring back our original duo of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, but he also brings Tyrese, Ludacris, and The Rock.  It's the best of the old films, but it also adds a new face to keep things fresh.  It's The Expendables with young people (ok...middle-aged folks).  Though the movie brings back elements of all the previous films, Fast Five ultimately marks a major turning point in the series.  While all four of its predecessors emphasized driving and being the best behind the wheel, this fifth installment is more of a pure action movie with elaborate fight scenes that are just as important as any stunts in the driver's seat.

While Fast Five is all about the action, the cast delivers plenty of comedy.  With the fast-talking Tyrese, the trash-talking Dwayne Johnson, and the hardly talking Vin Diesel, there are plenty of unique personalities on screen who bring their individual brands of comedy to the forefront.  These guys mesh well together to create a surprisingly hilarious film.

As much as I enjoyed Fast Five, there are some ridiculously unbelievable sequences in it.  There are plenty of times when Justin Lin lets impossible, unrealistic stuff fly by.  Just think about Dom and Brian driving off a cliff, falling hundreds, if not thousands, of feet to the water, and somehow surviving.  If that's not enough, think about Reyes' henchman Zizi (Michael Irby) who manages to survive every ass-kicking Dom's crew puts on him and his men.  He just walks out at the end of every action scene and tries to give a sinister look.  Does he just go hide somewhere in a corner every time he hears gunfire?  That's the kind of nonsense I'm talking about.

Fast Five accomplishes a great deal.  The film is a turning point in Dom's love life and his family life.  Dom even finds a new tag team partner in Reyes' bank vault.  It introduces a new badass villain in The Rock.  If the film didn't have some completely unbelievable parts, I might have given it a 0.03% rating.  As it stands, I'm giving Fast Five a 0.06% rating.  Have a few rounds of beer with this one.  Stick around after the credits as well for a huge surprise.