Fast Five (2011) – Justin Lin

Justin Lin delivers another action packed entry in The Fast and The Furious franchise. If the fourth film was about tying off the themes and story threads from the first film, the fifth film really wants to up the game and play in the world the series has created, and brings back familiar faces from the first four entries for a great ride that while reuniting a lot of the cast (including a surprise appearance in the mid-end credits tag) ups the stakes, the action and more. It’s interesting seeing where the films started and where they’ve gone from there.

Picking up right where the fourth left off, Dom (Vin Diesel), Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) elude the law and arrive in Rio. Unfortunately a gig they pull puts them afoul of a local drug lord, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), while the U.S. sends one of their toughest agents, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team to track down Dom and the rest.

But a plan is concocted to rob Reyes, bringing him down once and for all, and using the millions of dollars to buy themselves new lives. They won’t be able to do it on their own though, so they reach out to Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Han (Sung Kang), Leo (Tego Calderon), Santos (Don Omar) and Vince (Matt Schulze) to help pull off the Ocean’s 11 of the Fast and the Furious universe.

With outstanding action sequences, beautiful location work, stunts and visual effects working together perfectly, a great cast and fast-moving story, Lin delivers again, and makes this franchise really pay off. If the first few films were finding their way, this way lights it all up, and runs with it.

The cast continues to grow, and it seems to attract some wonderful talent from the world over adding not only de Almeida and Johnson to the cast but Elsa Pataky as well.

The sequences are well-crafted, Lin brings his energy and enthusiasm to the screen again, and just instills every frame with a vibrancy that is quickly making him a favourite action director. He knows how to shoot the sequences, he knows when to deliver a character beat that may not add to the plot, but lets a character breathe and exist. And the entire cast benefits from these small moments, as for the first time, the film’s run time breaks the two hour mark.

I have totally come around to these films, they’re an enjoyable romp, a lot of fun, and don’t claim to be anything more than popcorn entertainment. I’m totally ready to buckle up and see where the series takes me from here… just keep Lin in the driver’s seat!

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