The wheels are still rolling on the durable, high-octane “Fast and Furious” franchise, as this fifth installment begins at a breakneck pace with Brian (Paul Walker) and his girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) springing Dominic (Vin Diesel) from a 25-year jail sentence by forcing the Lompoc prison transport van in which he’s riding to careen off the highway and spin over and over. Then all three flee to Brazil’s exotic Rio de Janeiro, where Dom’s childhood friend Vince (Matt Schultze) has a new job set up for them.
For the uninitiated, in the beginning, undercover LAPD officer Brian O’Conner and rebellious street racer/auto mechanic Dominic Toretto were mortal enemies on the mean streets of Los Angeles. But then Brian was disgraced and began dating Dom’s sister Mia. Now they’re expecting their first child.
With macho federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his team in relentless pursuit, they quickly make a mortal enemy of Rio’s reigning drug lord, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), who wants his stolen cars back. So Dom calls in his most reliable operatives, including Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele Harabo (Miss Israel Gal Gadot), for “one last job” – one that’s worth at least $100 million. And if the concept reminds you of an “Ocean’s Eleven”-type heist, that’s intentional.
Justin Lin helms the explosive thrill ride for the third time, and screenwriter Chris Morgan (“Wanted”), working from characters created by Gary Scott Thompson, dispenses with all but the most banal and mundane dialogue – like “Make sure you got your thunderwear on” and “Now, it’s personal” – in favor of fast-paced, fan-pleasing action. Like – there’s a harrowing sequence in which Brian and Dom steal a car from a moving train and then take a flying leap a la “Butch Cassidy” off a bridge into a rushing river. Let’s hear applause for the intrepid cinematographer and agile stuntmen!
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Fast Five” is a screeching, testosterone-propelled 6 – with a glass-shattering sixth installment on its way.