Directed by Justin Lin. Produced by Neal H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, and Michael Fottrell. Written by Chris Morgan. Release date: April 29, 2011.
Fast Five served as a change in direction for the Fast and Furious franchise. No longer was the focus on races, but on a large, ensemble cast, with bigger action scenes that more often than not just happened to feature a large focus on cars. It started to capitalize on points that occurred earlier on, and it is kind of fun to see all of these earlier characters in the same movie. The series' continuity started to matter more here, too. Even if it's not the best film in the world, or even in the series, it represented an important step for the Fast and Furious franchise.
Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Vin Diesel): The leader of a crew of people drive cars reasonably well and use those skills to steal things from people. Had a large role in The Fast and the Furious, had a cameo in Tokyo Drift, and was a co-lead in Fast & Furious.
Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker): A former LAPD detective and also now a former FBI agent who has become a criminal working for Dom. He is dating Mia, and serves as the film's co-lead. He was the lead of The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious, as well as the co-lead of Fast & Furious.
Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster): Dom's sister. Once again the love interest of Brian, those two rekindling their romance near the end of Fast & Furious and making it "official" in Fast Five. After years of waiting, she finally becomes part of Dom's crew.
Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang): Killed off in Tokyo Drift, had a brief appearance in Fast & Furious, and is a big member of Dom's crew in Fast Five. Gisele's love interest.
Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson): The co-lead of 2 Fast 2 Furious. Brian's childhood friend who served time for crimes the two of them committed, but is now a free man after helping Brian take down a drug lord in the second film. He becomes a member of Dom's crew.
Tej Parker (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges): A former street racer who previously appeared in 2 Fast 2 Furious. He becomes a member of Dom's crew.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson): A new character, Hobbs is a bounty hunter and a DSS agent. He is tasked with bringing down Dom's crew.
Vince (Matt Schulze): Had a supporting role in The Fast and the Furious. He now lives in Rio de Janerio, and provides shelter for Dom, Brian and Mia. He's now married and has a child. He re-joins Dom's crew.
Gisele (Gal Gadot): A former Mossad agent, worked for the villain in Fast & Furious, she now joins Dom's crew after he saved her life. Han's love interest.
Leo (Tego Calderón): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom's crew. Friends with Rico. Comic relief. Had a minor role in Fast & Furious.
Rico Santos (Don Omar): A Spanish-speaking member of Dom's crew. Friends with Leo. Comic relief. Had a minor role in Fast & Furious.
Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida): Another drug lord serving as the film's villain.
Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky): A Rio police officer working for Hobbs. Dom's love interest. The only police officer Hobbs believes cannot be corrupted. She'll re-appear in future films.
Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez): Supposedly killed in Fast & Furious, we find out in Fast Five's post-credits scene that she is, indeed, still alive, which gives us the plot of Furious 6.
Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes): Was the main female in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Appears in the post-credits scene to give Hobbs a recent photograph of a still-alive Letty.
Picking off exactly where Fast & Furious concluded, Brian, Mia, Leo and Rico break out Dom from the prison bus that was transporting him to jail. Brian and Mia escape to Rio, where Dom is supposed to join them. They meet up with Vince and crash with him. With Vince, Brian and Mia steal some cars from a moving train; Dom meets them during the job. DEA agents complicate matters, but they get killed, prompting DSS agent Luke Hobbs to being searching for Dom and co. After an initial suggestion that they all split up, they begin to start hammering home the "family is important" theme that will be one of the driving forces for the rest of the series.
Back at the safehouse, we find out that Vince was trying to double-cross the team, and he's forced to leave, since he violated Dom's trust. Inside the car was a computer chip which contains the details of Reyes' criminal empire, which leads to Dom and his crew deciding to use the chip to rob Reyes. The "one last job" sees an all-star cast from the previous film all teaming up to pull off the heist, all while avoiding Hobbs, the local police, and Reyes' men. Roman, Han, Tej, Gisele, Leo, and Rico are all brought in.
Vince is let back into the team after saving Mia from Reyes' men. Hobbs becomes somewhat friendly with Dom and the crew after he captures them, is ambushed, and they save his life. During that same ambush, Vince winds up being shot and eventually dies, leaving his share of the money to his family. Hobbs then aids Dom and the crew in the heist on Reyes, showing that he respects them. We learn in this film that Mia is pregnant. Han and Gisele spark up a relationship. Dom and Elena have a bit of a fling, even though she's supposed to be arresting him. Eventually, the heist is successful, Reyes is killed, and Hobbs gives Dom and his crew a 24-hour head start - he is still essentially a bounty hunter, after all - before he begins to chase them.
Before the credits, Brian, Dom, and Mia all relax on a beach. Dom and Brian decide to have one final race to determine once and for all who the better driver is.
The post-credits scene sees Monica give Hobbs a recent photo of Letty, proving that she's alive and paving the way for Furious 6.
Is It Any Good?
I've never quite understood the love for Fast Five. It's a generic heist movie that, after the inherent thrill of seeing a whole bunch of these characters team up together, just isn't all that good. Sure, the final chase scene through the streets of Rio is fine, and we finally begin capitalizing on the "family is important" theme, but there aren't any good races and there's a lot of meandering. All of the heist planning also gets ignored near the end, when the characters just say "screw it" and attack with brute force, meaning we wasted our time. It's not worthless, but it's not particularly good, either.