Saturday, 21 January 2012

Fast Five (2011)

Fast Five (alternatively known as Fast & Furious 5 or Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist) is a 2011 American action film written by Chris Morgan and directed by Justin Lin. It is the fifth installment in the Fast and the Furious film series. It was released first in Australia on April 20, 2011, and then in the United States on April 29, 2011. Fast Five follows Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) as they plan a heist to steal $100 million from corrupt businessman Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) while being pursued for arrest by U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).

The Plot

When Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Vin Diesel) is being transported to Lompoc prison by bus, his sister Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and friend Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) lead an assault on the bus, causing it to crash and freeing Dom. While the authorities search for them, the trio escape to Rio de Janeiro. Awaiting Dom's arrival, Mia and Brian join their friend Vince (Matt Schulze) and other participants on a job to steal three cars from a train. Brian and Mia discover that agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are also on the train and that the cars are seized property. When Dom arrives with the rest of the participants, he realizes that one of them, Zizi (Michael Irby), is only interested in stealing one car, a Ford GT40. Dom has Mia steal the car herself while he and Brian fight Zizi and his henchmen, during which Zizi kills the DEA agents assigned to the vehicles. Dom and Brian are captured and brought to crime lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the owner of the cars and Zizi's boss. Reyes orders the pair be interrogated to discover the location of the car, but they manage to escape and retreat to their safehouse.

While Brian, Dom, and Mia examine the car to discover its importance, Vince arrives and is caught trying to remove a computer chip from it. He admits he was planning to sell the chip to Reyes on his own, and Dom forces him to leave. Brian investigates the chip and discovers it contains details of Reyes' criminal empire, including the locations of US$ 100 million in cash.

Following the murder of the DEA agents aboard the train, blamed on Dom and his team, DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team arrive in Rio to arrest Dom and Brian. With the help of local officer Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), they travel to Dom's safehouse, but find it under assault by Reyes' men. Brian, Dom and Mia escape, and Dom suggests they split up and leave Rio, but Mia announces she is pregnant with Brian's child. Dom agrees to stick together and suggests they steal Reyes' money to start a new life. The trio organizes a team to perform the heist, recruiting Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot), Leo (Tego Calderón) and Santos (Don Omar). Vince later joins the team after saving Mia from being captured by Reyes' men, earning Dom's trust once more.

Hobbs and his team eventually find and arrest Dom, Mia, Brian and Vince. While transporting them to the airport for extradition to the United States, the convoy is attacked by Reyes' men, who kill Hobbs' team. Hobbs and Elena are saved by Dom, Brian, Mia and Vince as they fight back against Reyes' men and escape, but Vince is shot in the process and dies. Wanting to avenge his murdered team, Hobbs and Elena agree to help with the heist. The gang breaks into the police station where Reyes' money is kept and tear the vault from the building using their cars, dragging it through the city with police in pursuit. Believing they cannot outrun the police, Dom makes Brian continue without him while he attacks the police and the pursuing Reyes, using the vault attached to his car to smash their vehicles. Brian returns to kill Zizi, while Reyes is badly injured by Dom's assault. Hobbs arrives on the scene and kills Reyes. Hobbs refuses to let Dom and Brian go free but, unwilling to arrest them, agrees to give them a 24-hour head start to escape. The gang splits Reyes' money, leaving Vince's share to his family, before the members go their separate ways.

On a tropical beach, Brian and a visibly pregnant Mia relax. They are met by Dom and Elena. Brian challenges Dom to a final, no-stakes race to prove who is the better driver.

In a post-credits scene, Hobbs is given a file by Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) concerning the hijack of a military convoy in Berlin. In the file, Hobbs discovers a recent photo of Dom's former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who had been presumed dead.


Fast Five has received positive critical reception since its release, earning a score of 67 out of 100 from 29 critics on review aggregate website Metacritic and garnering 78% approval from 176 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, whose assessment reads: "Sleek, loud, and over the top, Fast Five proudly embraces its brainless action thrills."

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, praising it as "a skillfully assembled 130 minutes at the movies, with actors capable of doing absurd things with straight faces, and action sequences that toy idly with the laws of physics", while Richard Corliss of Time Magazine considered it "maybe the first great film of the post-human era". The New York Times said it deftly combined action and humor, stating "The only time you won’t be watching the screen is when your eyes have squeezed shut because you’re laughing so hard." The Telegraph appreciated the presence of Johnson and Diesel together, calling it a "cosmic event", and added that director Lin had revitalized the series, saying "the start and finish here, defying every imaginable law of physics, are series highs." Empire also heaped praise on Johnson, saying "How to re-ignite an ageing franchise? Drop [Johnson] on it. The best thing, by far, in Fast Five ... Dwayne Johnson hulks through the movie leaving testosterone trails in his wake." However, Empire took the view that the film itself was "not, by any normal criteria, a good film", arguing that it was too long, although conceding that the action scenes, in particular the final car chase, made the film "the most entertaining in the series." Anna Smith of Time Out London also commented that the film was too long and criticized the simplistic characters and dialog, but she called the film "slick" and stated that these criticisms could be overlooked because "it doesn’t take itself too seriously." Variety focused on the roles of Johnson and Diesel, lamenting the current lack of 1980s-style "brawny" leading men and of the "manly men" typical of the 1950s and 1960s, and calling their pairing "a welcome injection of tough-guy vigor". Variety commented that, based on Fast Five, a "sixth entry could be something worth waiting for". The New Yorker called the action scenes "spectacular", praising director Lin by saying his "direction and the sharp editing never confuse or lose momentum", but also found the film too long and criticized the dialog, labeling it "subpar Ocean's Eleven-style banter". On the characters, The New Yorker considered Walker and Diesel "serviceable", but singled out Johnson for praise for bringing a "hip, comic knowingness to his role ... his enjoyment is infectious and keeps the movie speeding along."

Total Film welcomed the return of Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson to "[inject] the film with much-needed laughs" and felt that Johnson fit into the established cast with ease, though it believed the film itself was "no mould-breaker."[76] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, who disliked the previous movies, gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, praising the transformation of the series into a heist film ("Damn it, it works"), commenting favorably on scenes between Johnson and Diesel, and judging that "Fast Five will push all your action buttons, and some you haven't thought of." The Los Angeles Times felt that scenes shared by Diesel and Johnson were the "best moments" and appreciated the humor, but considered the pacing a "strange mix", switching between exposition, comedy scenes and then sudden action. The reviewer echoed other critics' sentiments concerning the running time of the film, but concluded that "the sheer audacity of "Fast Five" is kind of breathtaking in a metal-twisting, death-defying, mission-implausible, B-movie-on-steroids kind of way", labeling it the "best" of the series.

Both Empire and Variety noted that the final chase scene of Fast Five contained allusions to Bad Boys II (2003): Variety stated that the scene "seems inspired in part by a similarly spectacular scene in Bad Boys II"; Empire said that it "nearly out-Bad-Boys-2s Bad Boys 2".

Not all reviews were positive, however. Film4 criticized both the film's long running time and its treatment of female characters, remarking "[Females] cameo strikingly in buttock form. Others actually have first names". But Film4 praised Johnson's role as DSS agent Luke Hobbs, saying he "provides a more credible anti-antagonist to our anti-heroes than the straight up villains can manage". The Boston Herald gave a more mixed reaction: it derided the lack of realism as removing any sense of threat to the protagonists, but conceded that "these films may be robustly anti-intellectual and deplorably commercialized, but they are the envy of the rest of the world." Despite giving the film a positive review and praising the action, The Hollywood Reporter was critical of its stars, saying "it’s clear the budget wasn’t used on acting lessons for the cast." The New York Post's Kyle Smith gave the film a negative review, criticizing the shortage of car-related action before the finale and calling it less a "vroomer" and more a "knucklehead Ocean's Eleven". Smith went on to call the film's villain Reyes (Almeida) "unforgivably dull" and considered the long running time a result of taking "that long to read every item in the cliché dictionary." Time Out New York stated that "The Fast and the Furious movies haven’t exactly gotten better as they’ve gone along" but gave the director a backhanded compliment, saying "Justin Lin, taking his third turn behind the franchise’s wheel, is at least a competent hack." Ebert was more complimentary, saying "Justin Lin is emerging as a first-rate director in this second-rate genre" and Rolling Stone managed "Justin Lin, who misdirected the last two sequels, finds his pace this time, staging dynamite action."

The Cast

Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
 Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner
 Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
 Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs
 Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
 Ludacris as Tej Parker (as Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges)
 Matt Schulze as Vince
 Sung Kang as Han Lue
 Gal Gadot as Gisele Harabo
 Tego Calderon as Tego Leo
 Don Omar as Rico Santos
 Joaquim de Almeida as Hernan Reyes
 Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves
 Michael Irby as Zizi
 Fernando Chien as Wilkes (as Fernando F. Chien)
 Alimi Ballard as Fusco
 Yorgo Constantine as Chato
 Geoff Meed as Macroy
 Joseph Melendez as Chief of Police Alemeida
 Jeirmarie Osorio as Rosa
 Mark Hicks as Capa
 Esteban Cueto as Berto
 Corey Michael Eubanks as Lanzo (as Corey Eubanks)
 Luis Da Silva Jr. as Diogo
 Luis Gonzaga as Cash House Door Guard
 Carlos Sanchez as Evidence Technician
 Benjamin Blankenship as Lead DEA Agent (as Ben Blankenship)
 Pedro García as Conductor
 Arturo Gaskins as Croupier
Randi Lamey  as Cocktail Girl

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