Meathead manifesto: Vin and Dwayne get ready to throw down in Fast Five.

The fifth installment of the the Fast and the Furious franchise is Glee for bear daddies.
It’s been 10 years since Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) smacked the American moviegoers about the face with their drive shafts and, as of 2011, have not slowed down. This is mostly due to director Justin Lin (Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious) command of an action sequence and the fact that the Bourne series changed the way we see stuntwork.
If you’re going to see Fast Five, you know what you’re in for. And boy does this movie deliver. It moves so fast that you’ll get a nosebleed. Or whiplash at the very least.
When is comes to the new film, the big question is, do you need to have seen the prior four films? The answer is no. If you’re into cars, action, shaking asses and two jacked dudes sweating, flexing and fighting for two hours (hence the first sentence) than you’re going to have a good time.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, you’re in for a treat. Full disclosure, this reviewer consumed the prior films in two days so, SPOILERS ON FROM HERE ON OUT!!!, it was great to see most of the cast of the prior films team up for this one.
Five picks up where the last one left off with Torreto standing tall before the man getting 25 years in the joint. Like the other films, Walker’s O’Donnell is no longer FBI, because of his closet love for dedication to Diesel’s daddy-like Toretto.
But because Walker’s character is in love with Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) he agrees to break the big man out while he’s being transported to prison. One that’s conveniently located near the Mexican boarder. After an impossible bus jacking, the three suddenly turn up in Rio (well, Dom’s in “Ecuador”, but you know he’s not far behind) staying with Dom’s old partner from The Fast and The Furious, Vince (Matt Schulze). Vince talks Walker’s character into “one. more. job” to make some living wages.

Of course all isn’t what it seems. By the time Toretto arrives on the scene, during a dope ass train heist, things start to go wrong. The robbery of several cars that the DEA have confiscated and for some reason is transporting through Brazil, isn’t what it seems.

After a Bourne-like heist, ending with an IMPOSSIBLE dive off a cliff, Dom discovers that the real reason for the ‘jacking is a chip containing all the drops and $ shipments of the local druglord, who has all of Rio in his Armani pockets.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that during the heist/doublecross, the three DEA agents were killed…which leads us to daddy no. 2…THE ROCK. Wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has come a long way from being little more than an arched eyebrow and is great in his role as the almost religious USAgent Hobbs.

Hobb’s introduction is when the film really picks up. Director Lin uses Rio’s poverty-stricken favelas” or shantytowns to his advantage, the rooftop chase is years better than 2009’s INcredible Hulk, which also used the location for similar purposes.

On the run from Hobbs and his bulked up American crusaders, Dom desides not to give back the chip, but to steal all the money for him and his “family.” But of course they need help, right?

It’s at this point Fast Five makes a sharp turn to become Toretto’s 11. Lin has gathered together every co-star from the previous films, including Roman (Tyrese Gibson, 2Fast 2Furious), Han (Sung Kang, Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious) and Ludacris (Tej, 2 Fast 2 Furious). All the former players have an incredibly believable dynamic and work well together. Tyrese, who must have taken some more acting lessons since 2 Fast (the weakest of the series by far and the only sequel not directed by Lin BTW) and Ludacris have great screen chemistry.

Not to give away the whole plot, we’ll just say that the job becomes harder and more unbelievable than any of the newly formed team can imagine. Action junkies WILL get their fix, especially when the Rock and Vin get down to business in the best meathead fight scene since Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David took it to the alley in They Live! Men, if this scene doesn’t get you back to the gym, nothing will.

With the Rock now on their side after a deadly shootout which takes all of his men, Toretto’s 11 agree to take down druglord Reyes (played with deadly restrain by Joachim de Almeida), destory a police station full of crooked cops and make off with an impenetrable safe (natch!). The ensuing chase scenes through the streets of Rio are something out of the old school game, Pole Position.

Five is a fun ride if you leave your logic parked outside in your pussy-assed Camry.   Lin clearly is a fan of continuity and is ready to take the series beyond tight asses in hot pants and CGI neon nonsense that was a signature of the earlier films.

If the next one is as well constructed as this entry, we’re along for the ride.

PS: DO NOT LEAVE AFTER THE CREDITS!!!!!. Fans of the series will get a huge payoff. 😉

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