The ridiculous car-chase series went into top gear with this entry
Released in April 2011, Fast Five was the fifth (obvs) entry in The Fast & The Furious franchise, and upon release, became something of an anomaly.
Now, on it's fifth anniversary, we're having a look back at the movie that bucked just about every trend going, with the five ways it has changed the movie landscape since it's release.
DON'T WRITE A MOVIE FRANCHISE OFF
After the first entry in the series, the F&F franchise quickly set into a law of diminishing returns in terms of quality. The Rotten Tomatoes score free-fall from a mediocre 58% to a frankly awful 28% by the fourth movie. Then along comes Fast Five, which suddenly shoots up to 78%. Perhaps it was because Universal decided to put some huge money into the project, as the film had a $125 million budget, and it's all up there on the screen, from the opening train heist right to the safe-chase through the streets of Rio.
How we would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the room when they had the conversation about increasing the budget to a sequel to a franchise that was slowly dying off. "Wait, what? You want more money? For the film about car racing? And it's not even about car racing anymore? Am I taking crazy pills?", someone very important probably said at the time.
CONFUSING TITLES AHOY!
The Fast & The Furious. Okay, got it.
2 Fast 2 Furious. Yep, okay, the second one.
The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. Some kind of Japan based spin-off, based on that name. Still with you.
Fast & Furious. Wait, wait... Wait...
Fast Five. Okay, we're back, this is the fifth one. (It's not.) It's not? Then why is it...
Fast & Furious 6. Okay, so this is the sixth one? (No.) No? I'm so confused...
Furious 7. This isn't actually the seventh one, is it? (Nope.) I figured.
Technically, the fourth, fifth and sixth movies are prequels to the third movie (Tokyo Drift), the events of which coincide with the beginning of the seventh movie. And you thought this was just a silly bunch of movies about fast cars and muscle'y dudes punching each other.
RIDICULOUS IS OKAY
The series which began about a series of street-racers who get infiltrated by a police officer who ends up falling in love with Vin Dies- sorry, who ends up becoming one of them is a blatant rip-off of 90's action flick Point Break (the 2016 remake of which then blatantly rips-off Fast Five, but that's another story), the small scale action set pieces had taken steroids in the intervening years and by the fifth movie the sequences were bigger than just about any action franchise in existence. The safe-chase and train-heist scenes then allowed the sequences in Fast & Furious 6 (the endless runway, the tank jump) and Furious 7 (the high-rise car leap, the parachuting jeeps) to be totally acceptable.
SUPERHEROES AREN'T EVERYTHING
Yeah, they sometimes defy the laws of gravity, and yeah, it seems most of them are bullet proof and can survive unsurvivable car-crashes, but their more human and more "relate-able" than, say, Iron Man or Superman. Also, (mild spoilers) the franchise isn't afraid of killing characters off in order to hammer a point home. However, also, (mild spoilers) they franchise isn't afraid of bringing characters back from the dead in order to hammer home the more soap opera-y plot points. Which, come to think of it, is actually what they do in superhero movies...
INTERNATIONAL CASTS MEAN INTERNATIONAL BOX OFFICE
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Sung Kang, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot... later entries would feature even more nationalities, and even more powerful women. The F&F franchise has got to be the most progressively cast series of movies out there, and it paid off handsomely. Fast Five made $626 million at the box office - almost twice as much as the previous highest in the series - and just last year Furious 7 banked over $1.5 billion.
With the passing of Paul Walker, the franchise will still continue with Fast 8, which is set to add Charlize Theron, Scott Eastwood and Game Of Thrones' Kristofer Hivju to the cast-list.