Fast Five was the latest instalment in the Fast & Furious franchise which saw its main cast return, directed by Justin Lin and written by Chris Morgan (the duo previously worked on The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious). It is time that this franchise had some new life injected into it as it had began to grow stale and audience may be getting bored with seeing the same thing over and over again so what was changed and how good is Fast Five really?

The official synopsis of Fast Five is thus: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. However, this doesn’t tell the whole story; Fast Five is not just a simple ‘you chase me, I’ll chase you’ story like the original films as the brief synopsis would suggest, instead the characters are put into a different world in South America where they attempt to pull off a huge heist and but their freedom.

The main cast of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster all return with some very familiar faces in the world of The Fast & The Furious; Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Gia Gadot, Matt Schulze and Sung Kang. The return of all these cast members are very obvious nods to the previous films and an acknowledgement of where the franchise has come from. New additions to the cast include Dwayne Johnson, Elsa Pataky and Michael Irby who all come to the franchise with very different qualifications: Johnson is the ‘tough guy’, Pataky is the ‘beautiful woman’ and Irby is the ‘evil foreigner’ and anyone who has watched the rest of these films should be more than familiar with those stereotypes.

So the same cast are back and they’re still driving fast cars and parading around beautiful woman so what exactly makes Fast Five so different to the rest of the films? The heist. This is the first memorable opportunity for us to see just how clever these guys are; obviously Brian O’Conner (Walker) is a former cop and clearly is quite smart but now we get to see Domini Toretto’s intelligence as he plans the heist to perfection and we can now understand how it is that Turetto has managed to outrun the law for so long. There is a great montage where the main trio of characters are talking about different members of the team they are going to need which plays over the scenes of all the characters coming together to meet at the arranged location and the editing is just fantastic. The high quality of editing goes much unnoticed by most people but it is there and it is subtle in Fast Five and it just helps the film to run so smoothly.

Of course, if the main heist at the end of the movie was the only action we got to see many fans of the Fast & Furious franchise would be disappointed. There is plenty of action and enough explosions to entertain audiences increasing in scale right from the off: to being we have a small scale prison break, then a mid-scale train robbery, then we get to see Vin Diesel and ‘the Rock’ take each other on in a great fight scene before the huge scale heist which involves driving away with a safe attached to the back of two cars… from a police station. Some things that happen really do ask the audience to suspend their disbelief for a few moments but it wouldn’t be the great popcorn action flick that it is if it didn’t.

There is a lot here to enjoy for fans of the franchise and is an easy jump-in point for anyone looking to get involved; there isn’t exactly a deep running storyline through these films but Fast Five is well worth watching. It’s pretty much Ocean’s Eleven in cars and one of the best action films of recent years.

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