Jaimie Trueblood
Owen Gleiberman
April 29, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fast Five

Current Status
In Season
130 minutes
Wide Release Date
Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker
Justin Lin
Universal Pictures
Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson
Drama, ActionAdventure

We gave it a B+

Early on in the propulsive and cheeky-cool Fast Five, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, our awesomely photogenic heroes, steal a very expensive sports car off a moving train. They tear the side of the train off, drive the auto away, and then zoom it over a cliff. That last bit isn’t really part of the plan — it’s just what happens — and when they escape in free fall, with a stomach-dropping whoosh, plunging into a space vast and wide enough to be the air above the Grand Canyon, it’s like that daredevil leap in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There’s barely a sound except for the audience going ”Ohhhhhh!” Now, that’s entertainment. It’s what keeps so many of us coming back to the Fast/Furious franchise: the vicarious promise of cheating death, all executed in such a casual, youthful fashion that it could almost be a dance move.

Directed by the flashy and gifted Justin Lin (who also helmed the series’ previous two entries), Fast Five isn’t a hotdogging road-race movie until the very end. It’s set amid the squalor of Rio, with its teeming vertical slums, and it’s basically a heist thriller in which the insult-swapping gang members, led by Diesel and his invincible growl, are hired to steal a drug lord’s fortune from the vault of a police station. The film is basically Ocean’s Fourteen starring a multiculti version of the cast of Jersey Shore. The final chase — it features cars and that vault — is badass heaven. Fast Five is high-octane trash, but you will go ”Ohhhhhh!” B+

See all of this week’s reviews

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