Fast Five breathed a new life into a franchise that was desperately struggling to find its purpose, even though the only new thing about it was The Rock (kick starting his franchise Viagra mojo). The first two movies were drag racing, the third introduced corners, and the fourth took it towards an action movie. The actors flipped back and forth with who was returning – Vin Diesel was not in the second and Paul Walker wasn’t in the third which had a 5 second Vin cameo.
With that said, I cannot think of any movie in any franchise that did what this one did for a series. Everything was on a whole other level (aside from actual car races) and was more action packed than the prior movies combined. I would give Fast Five 9 “bank vaults taking out a bank”s out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
Fast Five starts out literally where Fast and Furious left off: Brian O’Conner, Mia Toretto, Leo, and Santos (two characters who disappeared at the end with no explanation) break Dominic Toretto off a bus headed to prison. Everyone then runs off to another country to disappear before meeting back up in Brazil. When a car heist goes awry, the team is forced to take revenge against the kingpin of Brazil. Adding to the tension, Agent Hobbs and his team are on the job to bring O’Connor and Toretto into custody.
Trying to pick out the best part of Fast Five is much harder than it should be since the movie is pretty much non-stop action. There was the train heist, shootout in the Favela, Vin Diesel and The Rock fight, and another shootout … but it doesn’t hold a candle to the bank vault car chase. It might have been the most damage done to a large city that didn’t involve an explosion. There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a video?
But then twist! The best thing might be the mid-credit scene that had Eva Longoria’s character returning and dropping off a file for Hobbs to look at. We see that Hobbs is set on catching O’Connor and Toretto only … except the file showed that Letty was STILL ALIVE!
The worst? I would probably say that having Vince come back for some of the movie in a lesser role … only to end up dying. He could have come back as a bigger character or maybe even a villain.
This movie also marked the final transition of O’Connor giving up the lead role to Toretto. This lead to Vin taking an even bigger part, being more unstoppable, and likely having the clause put into the movies that he couldn’t lose a fight … which the good guys need to lose every so often in a franchise this long.
Fast Five is so much better than it has any right to be! We get non-stop action, hilarious back and forth, and some great character growth. There is the beginning of Hobbs, the continuation of Han’s tragic story, and the inclusion of what would be the rest of the team. While the first was amazing and the third holds a special place in my heart, the fifth is the turning point. The franchise would have turned into a hodge podge of mixed attempts and spin-offs if this one didn’t work, but it worked! Now Hobbs is slowly taking the role of troubled law man sucked into Toretto’s web. It is definitely worth seeking out and watching if you somehow haven’t seen it, let alone any of the others.
If I had to find something to recommend that isn’t Fast and Furious related, I would lean towards Mission: Impossible III. While the first was more spy based (as the two Fast and Furious movies were street racing) and the second tried to be more of an action movie and less of a spy movie (such as the third and fourth Fast and Furious franchise tried something new on both accounts). Mission: Impossible III went on to merge the two worlds going a little heavy on the action that was believable but impossible. It also helped set the tone of the franchise and set it on a strong path.