Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson
Fast Five as a title makes no sense at all. There are 8 main characters, for one thing. They might as well call it Fast Fast Fast Fast Fast. In fact, everyone could say everything five times, just to make it all more exciting. Or, should I say, exciting exciting exciting exciting exciting. And so the boys are back for more cars cars cars cars cars, breasts breasts breasts breasts breasts and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - who's so fast and so furious he'll punch you in the face five times before you can even type his name once.
That's the main draw of Justin Lin's ultra-pointless sequel: Vin Diesel's follically-challenged rival Hobbs (Johnson), a butch cop determined to hunt down Dom Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O'Connor (Walker). It's an inspired piece of casting, injecting a whole new level of homoerotic fun to a franchise already balls-deep in man foam. When Diesel and Johnson stand off against each other, it's like watching two hard-boiled eggs having a staring competition. With their fists. Whoever loses, we win.
And that sets the tone for the rest of this outing. Fast and Furious fans will be pleased to see familiar old faces (read: comic black sidekicks) behind the wheels of the hot rods again. But Chris Morgan's script doesn't let them hop in the driver's seat for long. In fact, there are only two car chases in the whole movie: one at the beginning, one at the end. The first involves a speeding train, the second a giant metal bank vault. Both are ridiculous.
Toning down the cars is a smart move for the fifth entry in the series. At one point, we're shown the build-up to a race, only to have the whole sequence skipped over completely. Fast Five is closer to a straight heist movie. There's a lot of standing around and planning, which may bore those expecting back-to-back street racing, but for everyone else it's a treat. It's like Ocean's 14. With cars. And a bald man in place of George Clooney.
Yes, the plot is all over the place and it takes way too long to get its robbery up and running, but the terrible dialogue and braindead acting will keep you entertained for hours before then. That and the brilliantly brutal punch-up halfway through.
Of course, Fast Five gets bonus points for setting everything in Brazil. Rooftop chases and bustling Rio streets are Hollywood's equivalent of "piss-up" and "brewery", but Justin Lin keeps the visuals frenetic and never lets minor things like plot or characters get in the way of big guns and loud music.
Is it ironic? Probably not: it casts 24's bad guy Joaquim de Almeida to play exactly the same Mexican bandit as he did in Desperado. But the movie's straight face only makes it more fun. For all its lack of imagination, Fast Five has oodles of money and a crazy number of bald men to entertain you with. And it does that insanely well. It's textbook summer blockbusting. Plus it's the only major action franchise to feature a main hero called Brian. That's got to be worth something.
The scariest part is that you'll end up looking forward to more hairless antics in Fast and Furious 6. Here's hoping they hire Bruce Willis. Or, even better, remove the budget altogether and get the cast to complete Top Gear-style challenges in reasonably priced cars. Vin Diesel robbing a bank with a used Fiat Punto? Now that would be fast. Or, should I say, fast fast fast fast fast.
Big, dumb, and lacking in hair, Dwayne Johnson makes Fast Five the most furious load of bollocks yet. Awesome.
What did you think?