It’s very rare that the fifth film in a series based on car chases and races is the best. Fast Five has all of the ingredients to make the perfect summer popcorn flick. You have a respectable ensemble cast that includes such stars like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster and Dwayne Johnson. You also have tons of cars featured in various over-the-top, but really enjoyable action sequences and to top it all off you have veteran series director Justin Lin returning to the driver’s seat to lead the cast.
Lin was responsible for directing the third and fourth entries in the series, both of which didn’t really make an impact for non-Fast/Furious fans, but with its new focus shifting away from strictly street racing to a big budget heist film with tons of cars brought a new crowd of fans lining up to check it out!
Fast Five follows Brian O’Conner (Walker), Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and Mia Toretto (Brewster), who have escaped from America to Brazil in hopes of starting a new life. How does one start a new life you ask? By planning the most insane robbery and hopefully pulling it off. They call upon some of their friends from past films; like Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Han (Sung Kang) to help pull off this insane heist. Like most heist films, things don’t go according to plan and they are forced to act on impulse, which leads to several very entertaining scenarios that are pulled off with the perfect balance of tension, excitement and comedy.
Fast Five knows what kind of film it is and it never strays away from that. The action is the main attraction and the comedy rides shotgun. Occasionally the film takes a quick pit stop to add in some emotional dialogue, but it never gets to the point of distraction. Everyone knows Diesel and Walker aren’t the greatest actors to lead a film, so Lin doesn’t bother focusing on them pitching Oscar worthy speeches; instead the camera flies around the busy location of Brazil as our main precision drivers attempt to steal some serious cash.
This time around Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson decides to join in on the fun playing Luke Hobbs, the merciless federal agent assigned to bring them in at all costs. Johnson brings his usual bad ass charisma to the table, playing the incorruptible lawman perfectly. He eats up every piece of dialogue with a tough as nails attitude that doesn’t like to be bothered.
At the same he still inserts the occasional joke here and there to help break up a normally boring role. The inevitable showdown between Diesel and Johnson is built up and delivered with class. Lin knows how much we want to see the two beasts duke it out and luckily when they finally meet face to face it doesn’t disappoint, unless breaking through several walls and windows, while slamming each other up against vehicles and other solid structures is disappointing.
Everyone else fits like a glove. Walker does his best to stay focused while Brewster, Gibson and Ludacris all provide their moments. Fast Five isn’t a character film; it’s a brainless, but fun action picture that mixes in tons of cars. Fans of the series might initially be disappointed with the lack of nighttime street racing, but the final act is sure to impress. Dozens of cars are completely destroyed in a high-speed chase that involves several Dodge Charger’s and a bank vault getting dragged down a few streets and across a major freeway.
Fast Five is a breeze watching. It never gets too serious and instead focuses on supplying the viewer with one wild ride. I’m not sure if Justin Lin should be completely praised yet as it took him 3 tries to successively make a good Fast/Furious film. But, with the upcoming sixth and seventh films in the series, we should have a better idea of whether he’s the real deal or not.
Fast Five comes racing to Blu-Ray with a spot on 1080p transfer, thanks to Universal Studios. The setting of Brazil is re-created from head to toe, with bright and vivid colors as well as heated skin tones and clarity. Every drip of sweat can be seen on Johnson’s face as he stands toe-to-toe with Diesel. Every car shines in this perfect transfer. The level of detail is just amazing. Skin texture, car colors, hair, dirt, grass, literally everything can be seen. Fast Five is one of Universal’s best transfers to date and easily the best transfer of the series.
What’s a great video transfer without the perfect audio to go with? Fast Five comes roaring onto Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that is equally impressive. It’s loud, active and incredibly clear. Dialogue can be heard without interruption on the front channels while the rear act as backup for bullet effects, car noises and general background noise. The last half of the film shines in the audio department, with tons of chaos coming across every channel.
Fast Five comes with a hefty amount of special features, which mostly cater to fans of the series. Check them out below.
- Theatrical and Extended Cuts: The theatrical edition clocks in at 130 minutes while the Extended Cut runs at 132 minutes.
- Second Screen Interactive Viewing: Use your tablet, phone or computer to gain access to another screen of special features, while watching the main attraction.
- U-Control Picture-in-Picture Track (HD): The cast discusses several scenes, stunts and challenges while making the film.
- Scene Explorer (HD): Watch the opening scene from three different points.
- Audio Commentary: Justin Lin provides his voice for a usual commentary.
- The Big Train Heist (HD): Get an inside look at the films big train heist from members of the cast.
- A New set of Wheels (HD): A look at some of the new cars used in Fast Five.
- Reuniting the Team (HD): Director Justin Lin and star Vin Diesel welcome back the actors from previous films.
- Dom’s Journey (HD)
- Brian O’Conner: From Fed to Con (HD)
- Enter Federal Agent Hobbs (HD)
- Dom vs. Hobbs (HD): A look at the epic fight.
- Inside the Vault Chase (HD): A look at how they designed the vault to withstand the final action sequence.
- On Set with Director Justin Lin (HD): A look at Lin doing some directing duties.
- Deleted Scenes (HD): Nothing good here.
- Tyrese TV (HD)
- Gag Reel (HD)
- DVD Copy
- Digital Copy
Honestly, this is easily one of the best Blu-Ray presentations of the year. Universal Studios has given Fast Five the best treatment possible for Blu-Ray. The picture and audio are perfect. The special features are great for fans of the series or people curious as to how they pulled of some of those crazy stunts and to top it all off you get a DVD copy of the film and a digital copy, which means you can enjoy this high octane film anywhere you want. The addition of Johnson and the shift in focus really helps make Fast Five something worth watching. I guarantee non-fans of the series will find something to like in Fast Five while longtime fans will continue to enjoy what director Justin Lin and stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel make.
Fast Five opens up a new set of doors for a series that most thought was on its way out. I see 2 sequels without hesitation and possibly more depending on the consistent quality and box office intake. Fast Five is one hell of a ride worth taking!