We find them; we take them as a team and we bring them back. And above all else, we never ever let them get into cars.
It’s stunning to see the Fast and the Furious franchise reach its fifth instalment. Who would have thought that in 2001 that The Fast and the Furious would have gone on to have another four instalments?
As a franchise it delivers a specific kind of spectacle that’s undemanding and occasionally underwhelms. The fifth entry it goes some way to getting back to the original’s spirit.
After Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto is liberated from a prison transport, we find our protagonists on the run in Brazil with the tempting setup of one last job on the table so they can disappear forever and stop running from the law. Up against a Brazilian drug lord and being chased by US Federals, Toretto and his gang orchestrate an audacious attempt; to steal $100 million dollars.
As the series has progressed there it’s established a cartoonish vibe with some ridiculous stunts. Rio Heist brings it back a semblance of normalcy even if it treads a fine line between reality and complete disbelief.
It helps that most of the original cast are back along with a few stragglers from the second and third. There’s an easy rapport that makes the constant proclamations about family ring true.
Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson is probably the best thing in the film bar the car chases. Constantly sweating, he’s a no-nonsense Federal agent. He even looks like Vin Diesel’s evil twin in a bad soap opera, and when they get to fight it’s everything that Clash of the Titans should have been.
What lets down Rio Heist is a thinly sketched villain in Joaquim de Almeida’s crime boss and an action in third act that’s wholly illogical and laughable.
Rio Heist is good, it’s not clever but it’s fun and undemanding and its main remit is to devise ways in which it can fling cars at one another but the franchise is never going to reach the heights of generally being excellent. It’s a B-film, a diversion and a fun one at that.