It’s not really rocket science what you’re getting into when you sit down to watch Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drive fast cars and hang out with beautiful women. Actually, that sentence pretty much explains the depth of the experience completely. And yet, people have found enough enjoyment in said experience over the past decade or so to justify a franchise that’s five movies deep and likely to continue if weekend box office receipts are any indication.
Diesel reprises his role as Dominic Toretto, car thief extraordinaire and general badass tough guy. Walker is back as Brian O’Conner, the FBI agent gone rogue so long ago that you probably forget he was ever undercover. Jordanna Brewster joins them as Mia in an effort to complete the obligatory love triangle, and away we go.
Five picks up at the conclusion of the fourth film, refreshing viewers on where Toretto stood in his criminal career and then including exactly how it turned out that he escaped his fate. If you guessed that it involved fast cars, stunts, and attractive people, you’re pretty sharp.
From there the film jumps to Brazil in the present day, where the crew meets an old friend and are offered the chance to get back into the business of thievery. Again, if you predicted that it involves fast cars, stunts, and attractive people, you’re doing well. Oh, there’s a train involved this time, too.
Since then it’s been a steady stream of duplicates that attempt to cleverly play the title of the original into a sequel that just takes place in a new sexy locale.
It’s around this time that we’re introduced to Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a manhunter on the respective tails of Dominic, Brian and Mia as a result of the escape from the beginning of the film. He immediately begins spewing stereotypical dialogue about apprehending Toretto, connecting with the classic “only incorruptible cop” character that exists in Rio. This was kind of an issue for me, as backing him up on this mission is a black ops squad that looks to be quite capable of outclassing at least half of the militaries on the planet, yet it couldn’t provide someone who spoke Portuguese? I dunno about that one. If you guessed that Elena (Elsa Pataky) the incorruptible cop translator happens to be an attractive woman, you’re getting incredibly good at this.
What ensues is in line with the rest of the films in the series, and it certainly doesn’t sway from what the script lazily sets up. Hobbs chases the crew while the crew attempts to land that one big score, which just happens to have materialized in a manner that left some pretty bad people unimpressed. Dominic, Brian, and Mia attempt to evade both sides of the law while locking down this score, but can’t do so without driving fast, shooting at stuff, and punching other stuff for two hours.
I’ve never been big on these movies, mostly because, as far as I can see, they’re just the exact same thing over and over again. I liked the first one, but I think I was 15 when it came out, so take that for what it’s worth. Since then it’s been a steady stream of duplicates that attempt to cleverly play the title of the original into a sequel that just takes place in a new sexy locale.
If that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed. It’s not mine – at least not the fifth time over, it isn’t – so I can’t say I loved it.