Never would I have thought "The Fast and the Furious" would turn into such a powerhouse franchise, spawning four sequels (so far) and actually feeling like one of the best well-rounded film series in recent memory. These adrenaline rush, action-packed movies are everything we have come to expect and all that we want them to be. In this fifth installment we find Dom Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Walker) picking up right where they left off in "Fast & Furious" and uniting a who's who of the series characters to create the ultimate team of thieves for the biggest heist this series has seen. It isn't as much about the cars and the racing this time around as it is the quest for money and peace, but with so many characters and action elements coming together so seamlessly it doesn't matter, you simply have to sit back and have a blast watching this movie.

Diesel not initially wanting to do sequels to the original film may have caused some disruption as far as timeline goes, but ultimately it seems to have lended well to the richness of this saturated world of scantily clad women and foreign cars. Going out of the way for films two and three bring together key characters in this film that will also no doubt be brought full circle in later installments (stick around through the credits, we get a little something extra about half way through) but while we really have no clue where the makers of this franchise might take us next it is important to note that this film certainly steps up the expectations. Up until now this has mostly been a series about a culture of certain kinds of people, street racers. The original capitalized on a craze but what has kept this series going and so popular is its ability to adjust and as "Fast & Furious" showed the characters maturing, "Fast Five" finds them dealing with more than just what kind of car they are driving.

Taking place completely in Brazil, Dom and O'Conner are on the run and at the top of the most wanted list. It is the opportunity to pull a job that would grant them a life of no worries and a peaceful state of mind that leads brings them to the beautiful country and they bring with them a man hot on their trail. The biggest addition to this franchise comes in the form of federal agent Luke Hobbs who is played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and with the joining of two of todays biggest action stars on screen duking it out, it is clear the makers know who their audience is and what they want out of this movie. No, this film nor any of its predecessors are any kind of high art, but damnit if they aren't entertaining. That is what they are built for and this could easily be called the best this series has offered. If you haven't liked these movies before you probably won't care for the new one either, but it's not like it is pretending to be anything other than what we are given and that is thrills in the form of big. bad, bang-em up action sequences.

Under the direction of Justin Lin, his third of the five films, we see the movie quickly paced with a sense of building tension and anticipation. And those big action sequqences are all grounded in reality, no the laws of physics may not be present, but there is nothing CG-looking about them either. They are rooted in genuine toughness as are the core cast members. Both Diesel and Walker who have each made this series their lifeline as movie stars are still fully committed to these characters and know how vital they are to their career as well as how much they mean to a whole group of fans who no doubt see Toretto as a kind of iconic screen presence. It is this bond between the cast members, the kind of continuity that entices us and it is the take no prisoners attitude with which this film executes itself that gives us such a reason to enjoy it. We all know what we're getting ourselves into here, and personally, I loved it. I can't wait for "Fast Six" or whatever they decide to call the next one.

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