Of the eight films that currently make up the main Fast & Furious franchise, Fast Five remains the only one that I’ve actually seen in theaters (they were offering a free screening for college students, even then I couldn’t turn down a free movie). Because of this, Fast Five sticks out in my mind even more than Furious 7 and Fate of the Furious, because this was my introduction to the franchise.
And what an introduction for me to have! Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this was the first film in the franchise to feature an over-the-top heist. Despite never having seen any of the prior Fast & Furious films, the story gives just enough exposition that you’re mostly able to follow what’s happening and why. Most of the story is set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and sees Dom and his crew plotting one last job to set them up for life, while at the same time evading DSS agent Luke Hobbs (his first appearance in the franchise) and crime lord Hernan Reyes, both wanting to get their hands on Dom and company (but for very different reasons).
I rewatched Fast Five a few days ago and it’s just as good as I remember. Of course the highlight of the film is the climactic chase with the safe, but I also love watching the buildup to the heist itself. Just between you and me, my absolute favorite scene is that moment in the bathroom in the police station (you know the one I’m talking about). My second favorite scene is the moment where Hobbs tries to arrest Dom only to find out that he is seriously outnumbered on the streets of Rio when it comes to firepower. I also like the recurring gag (if that’s the right word), where Dom and Brian go out to race to get faster cars to prepare for the heist, and they never show the races, but they don’t really have to because as soon as you see the new car, there’s no doubt what happened.
Also, something that blew my mind during my rewatch: how did I miss that Gal Gadot is in this film?? I know this was made years before Wonder Woman, but still, I’m shocked I didn’t recognize her.
If I have one quibble with this film, it’s that Reyes’ comeuppance isn’t nearly as satisfying as I feel it should be. Oh, to be sure, he gets what’s coming to him, but it’s just so…quick. If you blink you’ll miss it. I just wanted the villain to suffer a little longer, that’s all.
Fast Five introduced several elements that have defined the rest of the series to date: the over-the-top mission, the introduction of Luke Hobbs, the introduction of Elena, just to name a few. Most of what I love in the Fast & Furious films can be traced back to Fast Five, so it will always be somewhat special to me.
Let me know what you think about Fast Five in the comments below and have a great day!
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