If you are a fan of intelligent action films like Source Code, this is not the film for you. The Fast and The Furious movies are famous for their fast cars and loose plotting, but now, in the fifth installment, not much has changed except the scenery. Relocating to Rio de Janeiro, our trio from the last film (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster) start to tire from life on the run, so they decide to steal the biggest score of their lives, and just disappear, with help from a few friends (in a greatest hits collection from the previous films). $100,000,000 is a lot of cash, so predictably catches the attention of hardcore DSS agent Evans (Dwayne Johnson), and a local drug baron who has Rio under his little finger, who want to capture them at any cost.
Semi-passable acting, silly dialogue and jumps of logic are present and accounted for, but what has been missing from within the third and fourth films, a sense of fun, has finally made a reappearance. The testosterone is pumped up; the cars have revved their engines; silliness decides to run rampant. While the films so far tried to even give a sense of realism, this film takes reality and punches it in the face. Two cars dragging a vault from corner to corner across Rio, knocking any tree, lamp post or police car into pieces, and casting a former Miss Israel as a no-nonsense street racer proves that this film is aware of, and revels in, its B-movie tendencies.
One on one wrestling, group against group gunfights and lots of action makes sure the dry pauses involving the word ‘plot’ and ‘relationships’ are a distant memory, as we wait for Vin Diesel to kick somebody into a different shade of purple. While I criticise the acting, it must be said that Dwayne Johnson brings his charm and personality to the film, as he is a breath of fresh air compared with the overall wooden styles of the rest of the cast, making silly dialogue such as (when talking about his choice of translator) ‘I picked her because I liked her smile’, and bad-ass attitude into a character that deserved a film for himself.
This film is not brilliant in any way whatsoever, but it doesn’t want to be. It is a brainless fun ride, though a bit lengthy at times and has actors as charismatic as a school of salmon. Justin Lin saves the franchise from being just another boring wreckage, and makes it into something as vibrant and lively as Brazil itself.
Good – Awesome action and Dwayne Johnson.
Bad – Lengthy running time and bad acting.