Well the whole gang is back for another high octane adventure. This time around, Biff (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Johnny (Paul Walker) are recruited by underground racing mogul, DJ Rimz (maybe 50 cent, but probably Coolio) to compete in an international, highly illegal, street race that spans 12 countries over the course of 2 high octane days.
But wait, didn’t Biff and Johnny swear off racing at the end of Fast and Furious 4: Fast 4 Furious 4? I don’t know! But even if they are reluctant, they have to race because while they were partying in Miami, Biff’s brother Carlos (an aging Vin Diesel, in perhaps his last role ever until the new Riddick movie comes out) has been kidnapped (again) by a high octane group of racer bandits run by “The Rev” (Tyrese Gibson, who is apparently still alive). Hoping to cash in on Biff and Johnny’s knowledge of cars and a “just crazy enough to work” attitude, The Rev demands that they either win the international, highly illegal, street race or Carlos dies.
They reluctantly agree because Johnny owes his life and his wife’s life (the indomitable Michelle Rodriguez, relieved to not be on the set of “InAPPropriate Comedy”) in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, but there’s a catch: The Rev also wants them to take his younger brother, Goober, along with them to “teach him how to be a man”. Oh and Goober is played by Glenn Close AS Albert Nobbs. But that’s just the kind of high octane movie this is. It’s not afraid to take risks and it’s not braking for anybody, so buckle up and put the pedal to the metal.
The first three hours of this film are admittedly slow. It takes a while for the plot to kick it into high gear and
put the pedal to the metal hit the nitrous. In lesser hands a cast as big and distinguished as this may have overwhelmed the director, but Zach Braff (on the back of a brilliant script pinned by JJ Abrams) never lets his characters steal the show. Make no mistake, this movie is all substance and little show. If you’ve seen the movie Drive starring Ryan Gosling then you know what to expect. Biff says little but still waters run deep. Johnny does the talking but it might be a front to hide the sadness he still carries with him after losing his best friend and partner in crime TJ (Ludicrous, reprising his role in flashbacks mostly, and at a key point, as a ghost).
Arriving in Paris to kick off the “race fantastique” (French for “high octane race”), the crew quickly learns that the Parisian nights hold their own dangers. Biff, enamored by Anna Lojack (a racer from a competing crew, played by a porn star possibly also named “Anna Lojack”), reveals many of his racing secrets to her in the grips of orgasmic pleasure. Just as the race is set to begin, Biff and Johnny learn that Anna has betrayed them and was also totally faking last night’s “multiple orgasm”. Also, Goober is shot and clings to life at a local hospital. Enraged, Biff delivers, perhaps the best line in a film with a plethora of great ones: “You may not have, but here I come” and then he puts the pedal to the metal.
I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll just say that the next four hours of the film are pure bliss. The special effects matched only with the wit and spice of the script that, for not one second, lets up on the gas. Sure, the plot throws a few hair-pinned turns, and – I’ll admit – suffers from more than a few pot holes, but in the end, engines roaring towards the finish line in Rome as the bomb is about to go off at the Vatican if they can’t stop it, the movie lands its mark and perhaps races its way into a potential Oscars sweep.
I give this movie 5 tire irons out of 5 (as a comparison, “Lincoln” only received 3 tire irons)