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Exciting cast reunion propels 'Fast Five'

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Published: Sat, April 30, 2011 @ 4:34 p.m.

Fast Five

Since Brian and Mia Toretto broke Dom out of custody, they've blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. They know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he's not the only one on their tail. When hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault. But, Hobbs learns he can't separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey -- before someone else runs them down first.

Showtimes and more on Fast Five

Based on the number of showings selling out, "Fast Five" will likely be one of the summer's biggest movies. The fifth installment of the "Fast and The Furious" franchise opened nationwide Friday, beginning with Dom Toretto's (Vin Diesel) transport to prison.

Enter Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Dom's sister, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), in obviously hot cars to break him free. From there, the the trio heads to Rio de Janiero for the new, sexy Brazilian setting for "Fast Five."

The first action sequence is by far the most unbelievable scene in all of the "Fast and The Furious" moments, involving the heist of three cars from a moving train.

From here, it's obvious the cinematography is a step down. Though "Fast Five" is a collaboration of director Justin Lin and cinematographer Stephen F. Windon, in "Fast Five," the photography of lighting, color and tone seems to be completely neglected and lacks all of the aesthetic found in "Tokyo Drift."

"Fast Five" brings together some of the favorite members from the prior four films: Tyrese as Roman ("2 Fast 2 Furious"), Ludacris as Tej ("2 Fast 2 Furious"), Matt Schulze as Vince ("The Fast and the Furious"), Sung Kang as Han ("Tokyo Drift") and Gal Gadot as Gisele from 2009's "Fast and Furious."

This film also brings together everyone's hoped-for arch enemy for Diesel's role as Dom: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Hobbs, the United State's DEA's go-to-guy for catching criminals.

It's great to see all of these characters come together, but for first-time viewers, it may be hard to figure out why certain things are happening as the plot set-up is very slow and without prior knowledge, it's hard to catch on.

In the same manner, the character of Hobbs seems grossly undeveloped against the history of the other characters. Though the writers frequently try to make up for that, it's too obvious and awkward. (A frequent line is, "I had history before I was here.")

Come 45 minutes into the two-hour film, the reunion of the characters gets the plot moving.

"Fast Five" features the most guns of the films, the least amount of sexual tension and relies more heavily on the comedic setups for entertainment. As for the usual amount of scantily clad beautiful women, of course, they're there.

The obvious product placement in "Fast Five" is the Volkswagen group, as Porsche and Volkswagens have a huge presence in this film. However, the stars of this film are American - finally! Hemi power hits the franchise as the CDC Challenger gets to play hero of this sequel.

It's a great summer film, but "Fast Five" seems a bit confused as the audience it intends to reach: the gratuitous language from 2009's "Fast and Furious" is gone, the soundtrack is again a weak spot and the filming is at its lowest point in the franchise.

Fast cars and pretty girls are always generally an easy sell as summer filmgoers will likely indicate.

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