f5Director: Justin Lin
Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster
Rated PG-13

The Plot: The story to Fast Five opens just mere seconds after the end of the previous film, Fast and Furious. Truck hijack specialist Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is on a prison bus, making his way to a 25-to-life stay and the federal penatenuary, even after helping to stop a Mexican heroin operation. Believing this to be unfair, spectacularly bad FBI agent and disgraced cop Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Toretto’s sister (and Brian’s girlfriend) Mia (Jordana Brewster) get into fast cars and furiously cause the bus to wreck, freeing Dom, and then going on the lam.

Fast forward a few months, and Brian and Mia are living small in Brazil, driving a car that could neither be fast nor furious. Needing a payday, they connect with Vince (Matt Schulze) their frienemy from the first film, who is also living in Rio. Vince knows of a car heist that should put a little dough in their pocket, and they agree. Never one to miss a hijacking, Dom shows up to complete the gang.

The heist is an improbable affair, using a specialized truck to grab the impounded cars off a transport train. Strangely enough, something goes wrong. Even stranger, it wasn’t the actual stealing of the cars, but a double-cross. Turns out that the cars belong to a Brazilian drug lord, and Dom and crew are expendable. They are able to make off with one of the cars that carries a valuable bit of information, and gets a price put on their heads.

Enter federal agent Luke Hobbs (The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)). Unlike Brian, Luke doesn’t care about things like a criminal’s motivation and goes after Dom and Brian like a hellhound. The only way out of their predicament, Dom believes, is to use the information from the car to rip the crime lord off to the tune of $100 million, buy some anonymity and live off the radar.

The only way to get this done, however, is to go all Ocean’s 11 and get a crack squad of characters from the previous film, including Roman and Tej (Tyrese and Ludacris, from 2 Fast 2 Furious) and Han (Sung Kang, from Tokyo Drift) to come help. Will they make their score? Will the Rock get his men? Will physics take a huge beating in the finale?

Spoilers: Kinda. Kinda. Oh, hell yes.

Thoughts on Fast Five:

• With the addition of Han (Sung Kang) to this film, the chronology of the Fast and the Furious franchise is now approaching Dr. Who-vian proportions. Since he died in the third movie (Tokyo Drift), both the fourth film and this one are technically prequels to that film. I’m betting that someone who’s better at recognizing car models could probably point out several cars in this film that shouldn’t exist because of that fact.

• Lucas Black, who played Sean Boswell in Tokyo Drift is the only major character not to reappear in the franchise (yet), but given the aforementioned chronology, that’s to be expected. He’s still a sophomore in high school, and has yet to reach his potential in either fastness or furiousness.

• With the addition of Dwayne Johnson and the reintroduction of Tyrese), the bald-man quotient of this film is up 300 percent over the last film, almost making up for the complete lack of bald in the third film.

• The bus wreck that frees Dom would also have killed him, and everyone else on board. That’s just a fact.

• This film is a surprising departure from what’s gone before in this franchise, in that there is a shocking lack of cars in the first half, and the second half is basically a caper movie. That’s not a bad thing, but it feels like a bit of a bait and switch. There’s only one instance of NOS being used, in fact.

• I’m not sure if it would be a good thing if the facial recognition software used in this film actually existed. It’s able to identify men in masks from a blurry traffic camera. That’s frightening (and would be even more frightening if it actually existed).

• In the final act of this film, the only thing that takes a beating more than the cars and buildings of Rio are the laws of physics.