DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Furious Franchise’s Fifth Installment Arrives on DVD
When we first met Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) a decade ago, the decorated detective went rogue to help career criminal Dominic “Dom” Toretto (Vin Diesel) evade justice. Four sequels later, we find the pair still up to their old tricks, although the ex-cop is now with the FBI while the ex-con has just been sentenced to life for murdering a mobster during a heroin sting gone bad.
After the opening credits, Brian frees Dom again by ramming an L.A. Country Sheriff’s bus with a muscle car before it has a chance to reach the penitentiary. Following the daring escape, the buddies go their separate ways after arranging a rendezvous in Rio de Janeiro.
Down in Brazil, Dominic learns that Brian’s girlfriend, Mia (Jordana Brewster), is pregnant which coincidentally means that he’s about to become an uncle since she’s also his sister. But rather than begin buying baby clothes and otherwise preparing for the arrival of the little bundle of joy, they decide to hatch plan to pull off the proverbial “one last heist” certain to set them up for the rest of their lives.
It seems that the local drug kingpin, Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), has managed to amass a cool $100 million in cash. However, our retirement-ready heroes realize that they need to assemble a crack team of experts if they’re going to relieve the ruthless mobster of his ill-gotten gains.
So, they entice a half-dozen former confederates to South America from the far ends of the Earth with the promise of a big payday. The elaborate scheme involves scaring Reyes into hiding all of his loot in one place, so that they’ll only have a single safe to crack. However, this proves more of a challenge than anticipated between the corrupt Rio cops and the arrival of a detail of Federal Agents led by Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).
Fans of the Fast and Furious franchise are well aware of what to expect next, namely, a dazzling display of stunt driving and death-defying car chases involving souped-up, stolen automobiles. Soon, any subtlety in the protagonists’ strategy ends up tossed out the window in favor of eye-popping pyrotechnics, leaving one to wonder why they even bothered to incorporate any sophistication into the formula in the first place.
Fast Five does nevertheless deliver in terms of harmless, high-octane mayhem for folks satiated cinematically by non-stop action and special effects alone.
Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, sexuality and intense violence.
Running time: 131 minutes
Distributor: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
2-Disc Blu-Ray/DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, gag reel, feature commentary with director Justin Lin, digital copy download, interactive U-Control and BD-Live features, plus numerous additional featurettes.