Petrolheads Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back behind the wheel for Fast Five (aka Fast & Furious 5) the latest instalment of the high-speed action series – and even though the on-going storyline is now running on fumes, when director Justin Lin cuts to the chase there’s enough left in the tank for some spectacular vehicular mayhem.
The film opens where the last film left off with Walker’s ex-cop Brian O’Conner and girlfriend Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) busting her convict brother Dom (Diesel) out of the prison bus that’s taking him to Lompoc penitentiary.
The trio go to ground in Rio de Janeiro but after being suckered into hijacking three luxury cars from a moving train, they find themselves up against both the city’s drug kingpin Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) and Dwayne Johnson’s take-no-prisoners US federal agent Hobbs. To get out of this jam, Dom decides to steal $100million of Reyes’ money and assembles an Ocean’s 11-style team to pull off the heist.
As Dom puts together his team, the caper plot gives the filmmakers a chance to recall characters from previous episodes – including Gal Gadot, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges. But as the gang work on their plan in an abandoned car factory, the film’s plot stalls badly. With Reyes’s crooks, the Rio police and Hobbs’s strike team all hunting them, Dom and his gang seem to have an awfully long and leisurely time to plan the robbery. And given that the cast are not overly well endowed with thespian talent, these scenes really drag.
Fortunately, Lin and his stunt teams pull things around for the tyre-scorching, metal-crunching climax on the streets of Rio during which Dom and co. appear to destroy half the city’s buildings and all of its vehicles. If the idea of hot cars doesn’t leave you cold, put your brain in neutral and enjoy.
On general release from 21st April.