The buzz going into Fast Five was that the series had reinvented itself as a heist caper flick, moving away from its "ricer porn" street/drift racing roots. Many reviews lauded this change, calling it the best of the series.
To be brief, it's too long with too much talky-talk and not enough zoomy-zoom. Paul Walker still can't act (was Running Scared a fluke?); all the lousy characters from 2 Fast, 2 Furious (the worst of the bunch) are included; and the presence of the Japanese dude who died in Tokyo Drift (but was in Fast & Furious; the 4th movie) means that this movie is set in between #4 and #3. Huh? (i.e. The chronological order of films is 1-2-4-5-3; the world ends with Tokyo.) M.Rod, who was foolishly killed of as an inciting incident is still gone. Or is she? (Tune in below.)
There are some crazy action sequences that defy fundamental physics and reality - that chase with the bank vault being dragged as wrecking ball through the streets of Rio goes on forever - but the biggest, baddest special effect is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the FBI specialist sent to catch Vin Diesel and his merry men. He is JACKED and when he and Vin throw down, it's like watching two slabs of beef brawl.
When it's not trying to be deep and just making a mess, Fast Five is decent popcorn fluff. However, if they plan on continuing in this vein, they'd better get over listening to the sound of their voices.
Score: 6/10. Catch it at a dollar show.
OK, slight spoiler/teaser time: In a mid-credits coda, Eva Mendes (who was in 2F2F) is shown bringing a dossier into The Rock's office. Inside are photos of someone who robbed a armored car in Germany. Who is it? M.Rod! They're going to bring her back from the presumed dead?! WTF? OK, I'm down. I missed her. Bring it!