‘Fast Five’ – the car heist franchise goes south on Peacock

Fast Five (2011) takes the fast cars and speed-demon criminals of the surprisingly resilient action franchise to Rio, which becomes more than just an exotic landing pad for the wanted crew.

After kicking off with a prison transport jailbreak (because they don’t take on any job that doesn’t include precision driving and auto mayhem), the core team—street smart crew chief Dom (Vin Diesel), ex-cop turned outlaw Brian (Paul Walker) and Dom’s sister/Brian’s girl Mia (Jordana Brewster)—reunites co-conspirators from all four previous installments to take on a drug lord and heist a cool $100 million. Meanwhile there is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who signs on as their new nemesis Hobbs. “This guy, he’s Old Testament,” explains Brian. “Blood, bullets, wrath of God. That’s his style.” Okay, whatever. Mainly he’s a humorless cartoon character of an American agent whose brawny presence that makes him a veritable double for Vin Diesel, minus the street-smart grin.

You can credit Justin Lin for keeping the franchise as supercharged as it has become. “Fast Five” isn’t particularly smart or savvy as a heist film or a battle of wits but Lin knows how to keep things moving, whether it’s a footchase through the alleys and over the corrugated roofs of the favelahs or a precision-driving getaway with tandem cars dragging a bank vault. They, of course, turn this anchor into a wrecking cube of a weapon. Forget physics, it’s just a fun blast of action movie ingenuity, as is the film as a whole. These guys make robbing a mobster into a party game for criminal buddies who revel in the adrenaline rush of speed and psych-outs between the rubber and the road.

Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Sung Kang, and Gal Gadot are also back for the fun.

Rated PG-13


Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Fandango, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Fast Five [Blu-ray]
Fast Five [DVD]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [Blu-ray]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [DVD]
Fast & Furious 8-Movie Collection [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray]

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For the DVD release, Justin Lin keeps up a solo commentary track for two hours running on nothing but movie small talk – mostly praise for the cast and crew – and a few stories from the shoot about few challenges met and conquered, all without any real engagement in the details. It’s harmless but gets uninteresting fast. There are also featurettes on the three main characters – Vin Diesel’s Dom, Paul Walker’s Brian and the new-to-the-franchise adversary Agent Hobbs – and the usual deleted scenes and gag reel.

The Blu-ray adds behind-the-scenes featurettes on most of the major action scenes, which are brief but at least give a sense of the scope of the production, and the new “Universal Second Screen” function, an interactive mode that works in tandem with a computer, iPad or Android tablet and, via a downloadable app, synchs up supplements to the Blu-ray. It may be the wave to the future, but I find it a distraction. There are a couple more character featurettes, the usual BD-Live functions and a bonus digital copy.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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