this prequel to Tokyo Drift, ex-FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker),
his partner Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and ex-convict Dom Toretto
(Vin Diesel) are running from the law. The trio recruits a familia of
drivers and thinkers from past films, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson),
Tej (Christopher 'Ludacris' Bridges) and Han (Sung Kang) to rob Rio de
Janeiro's most notorious drug mogul Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).
Impatient fans of the Fast and Furious franchise will probably be
frustrated by Fast and Furious 5's (titled Fast Five in the US) somewhat
slow start, as the standard images and sounds of pimped-up cars,
skimpily clad women, and loud urban music are not met until well after
the first twenty minutes. So, what happens in the first twenty minutes?
We're treated with sweeping aerial views of Rio, a train hijack to
obtain sports cars, and an uninteresting parkour-influenced chase scene
over the corrugated favela rooftops, as Special Agent Hobbs (Dwayne 'The
Rock' Johnson) and co. try to capture our three fugitives. After
watching the animated film Rio, it's glad to see the real city on screen
and catch a glimpse of the colourful 'Haas and Hahn' art installation.
Some of the most intriguing aspects of the film are the sequences in
which the lead characters perform sly manoeuvres. For example, Mia and
O'Conner are Rio's Bonny and Clyde as they deftly steal a ticket
inspector's ID card. Also, the tactics that the familia enact in order
to obtain Reyes' money, safely located inside a police station, are
ingenious and reminiscent of the looting efforts seen with Clooney and
Pitt in Ocean's Eleven. Some parts of the plan will leave you thinking,
'Wow. I would have never thought of that!' And it's also quite cute to
see English subtitles, when characters speak Portuguese, rush into the
screen from the side, like cars, before speeding off again.
However, despite the cleverness of the film, there are also many holes
in characterisation and action. For example, among the law enforcement
team there is Portuguese translator Elena (Elsa Pataky) who actually
does no translating. Also, the climactic fight scene between Hobbs and
Dom is more like an excuse for the muscled actors to show off their
ruggedness, crashing through doors, walls, tables and windows. The first
thing that came to mind was, 'Hobbs angry. Hobbs smash.' Also just as
silly is the kiss that Mia and O'Conner share after exiting a sewerage
tunnel; apparently, when your partner announces her pregnancy, all sense
of hygiene goes down the drain. Furthermore, the lovey-dovey looks
between Dom and Elena, towards the end of the film, are highly
predictable and scoff-worthy.
Fortunately, Tyrese's presence as Roman enlivens the film's atmosphere
as he reprises his humorous, fast-talking ways from 2 Fast 2 Furious. He
is likeable as usual and one of the few men who can deal with difficult
situations without getting cartoonishly aggressive. Paul Walker we're
looking at you. Similarly, 2004 Miss Israel, Gal Godot, is a godsend as
Gisele Harabo, the cool, no-nonsense woman who will shoot or castrate
any male chauvinist if she had the chance. Thank goodness she is part of
the film's cast as she is able to neutralise all excess testosterone in
Audio, Video & Special Features
Universal release an amazing Blu-ray release thanks to its 1080p
presentation with extraordinary clarity, colours and deep blacks. Sound
is equally as good in high definition, especially the action scenes.
There is a wide gamut of special features that are definitely targeted
to those who enjoyed this over the top action film.
Theatrical movie & extended options
Scene Explorer - Train Heist, Vault Chase, On the Bridge and later &
The Big Train Heist
Reuniting the Team
New Set of Wheels
Brian O'Conner: From Fed to Con
Enter Federal Agent Hobbs
Doms vs. Hobbs
Set with Justin Lin
Inside the Vault Chase
were enamoured by the bromance plot, humour and soundtrack of 2 Fast 2
Furious or captivated by the US-Japanese cross-fertilisation in Tokyo
Drift, watching the fifth installment may be a big cine-crime indeed.