The conundrum for a filmmaker working on yet another installment of a popular franchise is how to remain true to the soul of a series, while kicking it up a notch. Fast Five hit it out of the ballpark. This go-round, the crew has gathered in Rio de Janiero after springing their leader (Vin Diesel reprising the role of Dominic Toretto) from a prison-bound bus. Hot on the gang’s heels is a sinister (and he’s the good guy?) federal agent (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) determined to bring Toretto and cohorts to the bar of justice. Throw in a drug dealer, old scores to settle, musclemen, fast cars and flashy women, and you have a recipe for a rip-roaring good time. In one of the best fights recorded on celluloid, behemoths Diesel and Johnson pound each other to a pulp. There’s plenty of attitude and bad guys to go around. But the most menacing “villains” in the film are a pair of sick Dodge Challengers. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to see these twins coming at you full throttle.
You know how a good roller coaster can really shake you up, but at the end you’re ready to do it all again? That’s the Fast Five experience. It’s a thrill ride from beginning to end. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Stay in your seat when the movie ends because after the credits roll, there is one more very interesting scene. –p.d. lee