Fast Five

Fast Five

2011, PG-13, 130 min. Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Matt Schulze, Joaquim de Almeida, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Eva Mendes.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 6, 2011

Sure to be a big hit with the Tom of Finland crowd, this fifth entry in the almost always fun Fast and the Furious franchise offers more of the same – only bigger, badder, and more intensely homoerotic than ever before. Macho men and their "fuel-injected suicide machines" (to quote Mad Max, which might as well be the bible on such matters) go head-to-head, again, only this time it's ecstatically, subversively gay: The barely coded transgressiveness of Fast Five is rambunctiously, jubilantly pro-mano-a-mano fun. It begins with a tasty-queasy dose of favela chic in Rio de Janeiro, where ex-con Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his former FBI agent/now car-thief pal Brian O'Conner (Walker) angle to steal a trainload of priceless Detroit rolling stock for the promise of a fat payoff. Also along for the very bumpy ride are O'Conner's true love Mia (Brewster), who in case you've forgotten is also Dominic's sister, and hulking HGH horror show Vince (Schulze). Things, surprisingly, don't go as planned, and after a breathtakingly vertiginous car-into-gorge stunt, it quickly becomes apparent that Dom and his crew have been set up by parties unknown. Enter the Rock, er, Dwayne Johnson, as Defense Security Service psychonaut Hobbs, a character who is not so much an actual character as he is a caricature. Decked out in a black mesh top and (to all appearances) ’roided out to the point of causing nightmares in small children and nocturnal emissions in the aforementioned Tom's crowd, Johnson's growly Hobbs is downright freakish looking, sporting less of a body builder's classic frame than some bizarre hybrid of adult-only, manga-esque, hot-roddy body mod and arch, eyebrow-raising camp. He's in on the joke, at least. Not so for Diesel, who continues to come across as someone who wants to eat you raw and then floss with your children's intestines. When Johnson and Diesel finally come to blows (or bullets, really), it's a genuine masterpiece of surrealist cinema: two gigantic, bald, beveined, excessively phallic Übermenschen battling it out to see who's the top dog and who gets to be the naughty bottom. Fascinating, no? Of course, that's just one (obvious) reading of Fast Five. You could also say it's a kickass demolition derby – pure, dumb summer fun – and often easy on the (hetero) eyes thanks to the inclusion of Brewster and Mendes, who seem to be having a total blast. Whichever way you take it, all I can say for sure is that I want that cherry 1970 Dodge Charger. I want it bad.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Justin Lin Films
F9: The Fast Saga
Script? We don't need no stinking script in the Toretto crew's latest

Marc Savlov, June 25, 2021

Star Trek Beyond
The Enterprise crew get trapped on a hostile planet

Kimberley Jones, July 29, 2016

More by Marc Savlov
Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022

Technology and a lack of laughs get in the way of this rom-com

April 22, 2022


Fast Five, Justin Lin, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Matt Schulze, Joaquim de Almeida, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Eva Mendes

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle