Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reprise their roles as racing-addicted rivals. They’re on the run from the law and just trying to survive.
Fast Five reunites them with characters from the first four The Fast and the Furious films. New to the mix is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a special federal agent assigned to nab them.
The addition works.
Fast Five opens with Diesel being busted out of a prison bus. Later, while hiding out in Rio de Janerio, they’re offered a job. It’s a train carrying high-priced racing cars. A double-cross by a mafia boss gets U.S. federal agents killed, and the gang tagged as the killers.
As must-be-stopped rogues, Johnson is the agent summoned to round them up. The plot centers on avoiding him and a plan to rob the mafia head of all his money so Walker, Diesel and friends can retire rich and free.
Johnson and Diesel both bulk up for their roles and wear T-shirts a size or two too small for bragging points. The two beefcakes do a much-anticipated and quite fun brawl. Packed into the plot before and after are plenty of fast-edit car chases, people chases and gun fights where bullets spray all around the heroes and immediately nail faceless villains.
Fast Five does break the sequel mold. Normally a series deteriorates as it progresses. Until Fast Five that was the case for The Fast and the Furious rehashes. Each redo was worse than the one before.
With a bit better plot and character familiarity, Fast Five is more fun than the original and now ranks — at least in this critic’s opinion — as the best of the bunch.
Please make no mistake. Nothing here is remotely cerebral. The fast car, equally fast action and hope-to-be high living plot is pure guilty pleasure.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and violence. It opens Friday, April 29 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.