Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist

Director    Justin Lin
Starring    Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris
Release    29 APR (US) 21 APR (UK)    Certificate 15
3 stars


21st April 2011

Fast Five? Fast & Furious 5? 5ast 5ive? Fa5t & Fiveriou5? Whatever the hell you decide to call it, this macho, manly franchise shows no signs of pulling into the slow lane. Grrrr!

Picking up where we left Fast & Furious, with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) busting Dom (Vin Diesel) out of a prison bus, the action tears out of the blocks and doesn't let up for the staggering 130 minute running time. Trust me, you'll be knackered come the credits.

Now wanted criminals, Dom, Brian and pregnant Mia hide out in Rio. But after a pretty spectacular train robbery leads to a local corrupt businessman wanting the trio dead, and with a certain wrestler hot on their trail, they get the whole team back together. Pooling characters from the previous movies to pull off one last big job - involving lots of money and a massive safe - Dom and Brian seek to claim their freedom. It's got more in common with Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job than it has The Fast And The Furious at this point, but hey, that's progress of sorts.

I guess that makes this guy George Clooney.

Justin Lin, who by now is a veteran of the series with three movies under his belt, knows all the cam-shafts and carburettors of automobile action. It's as if he's realised how outrageous and overblown the franchise has become and totally embraced it, with logic and physics burned out in a plume of tire smoke.

With the street racing - the foundation of the franchise - relegated to the back seat, limited to one quick drag race with stolen police cars (the Brazilian police drive brand new super-charged Dodge Chargers, by the way), the way is paved for the Heat-esque heist. But that's not to say boy racers won't get their car porn fix: there are still enough motors on offer to fill a showroom or three.

In keeping with the previous instalments, the man-love between Walker and Diesel is an ever-lingering presence, whilst Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson squabble as if there's only room for one black guy in the movie. Gibson is blessed with some questionable dialogue ("Eleven Million Dollars? Sounds like a hell of a lot of vaginal activity to me!") but the banter, jokes, jibes and camaraderie between the cast feels very real and unscripted.


Nothing quite matches up the presence of man-mountain Dwayne Johnson, who completely steals the show as man-mountain Special Agent Luke Hobbs. A mildly-sexist pig who doesn't take shit from anyone, he demands a female police officer because he likes her smile and then tells the Rio Chief of Police to "stay the fuck out of my way." The Rock has definitely brought it, slotting into this testosterone festival with ease.

There are a couple of inevitable shortcomings; how many establishing shots of Christ The Redeemer, Copacabana Beach and the slums do we need? It's set in Rio, we get it. The chemistry between Dom and his love interest? Almost non-existent. But who cares? 5ast Five: The Fasterier is still utterly over-the-top and completely outlandish, and it's an entertaining enough diversion until Fa6t 6 Furiou6 chugs into existence.

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