Fast Five (alternatively known as Fast & Furious 5 or Fast & Furious 5: Rio Heist) is a 2011 action film written by Chris Morgan and directed by Justin Lin. It is the fifth installment in the Fast and the Furious film series, being the second film of the second trilogy. It was released first in Australia on April 20, 2011, and then in the United States on April 29, 2011. Fast Five follows Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) as they plan a heist to steal $100 million from corrupt businessman Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) while being pursued for arrest by U.S. Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson).
When developing Fast Five, Universal Studios deliberately departed from the street racing theme prevalent in previous films in the series, to transform the franchise into a heist action series involving cars. By doing so, they hoped to attract wider audiences that might otherwise be put off by a heavy emphasis on cars and car culture. Fast Five is considered the transitional film in the series, featuring only one car race and giving more attention to action set pieces such as gun fights, brawls and the heist of $100 million. The production mounted a comprehensive marketing campaign, marketing the film through social media, virtual games, cinema chains, automobile manufacturers and at NASCAR races.
Fast Five achieved financial success, breaking box office records for the highest-grossing April opening weekend and the second highest spring opening weekend. It surpassed Fast & Furious (2009) to become the highest-grossing film in the franchise and overtook Rio to become the highest-grossing film of 2011, holding this title for fifteen days before being replaced by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Fast Five has grossed over $625 million worldwide, making it number 55 on the all-time worldwide list of highest-grossing films, in unadjusted dollars.
The film was praised by critics, who liked the combination of comedy and "action sequences that toy idly with the laws of physics", some labeled the film the best of the series. Johnson was singled out for his performance, critics calling him "the best thing, by far, in Fast Five" and remarking that scenes shared by Johnson and Diesel were often the "best moments". Despite the positive response, many were critical of the film's running time, considering it too long, and others criticized the treatment of women, stating "[Females] cameo strikingly in buttock form. Others actually have first names." South American reviewers were critical of the film's portrayal of Rio de Janeiro as a haven for drug trafficking and corruption, labeling it a "stereotype".
When Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is being transported to Lompoc prison by bus, his sister Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and friend Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) lead an assault on the bus, causing it to crash and freeing Dom. While the authorities search for them, the trio escape to Rio de Janeiro. Awaiting Dom's arrival, Mia and Brian join their friend Vince (Matt Schulze) and other participants on a job to steal three cars from a train. Brian and Mia discover that agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are also on the train and that the cars are seized property. When Dom arrives with the rest of the participants, he realizes that one of them, Zizi (Michael Irby), is only interested in stealing one car, a Ford GT40. Dom has Mia steal the car herself while he and Brian fight Zizi and his henchmen, during which Zizi kills the DEA agents assigned to the vehicles. Dom and Brian are captured and brought to crime lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the owner of the cars and Zizi's boss. Reyes orders the pair be interrogated to discover the location of the car, but they manage to escape and retreat to their safehouse.
While Brian, Dom, and Mia examine the car to discover its importance, Vince arrives and is caught trying to remove a computer chip from it. He admits he was planning to sell the chip to Reyes on his own, and Dom forces him to leave. Brian investigates the chip and discovers it contains details of Reyes' criminal empire, including the locations of US$100 million in cash.
Following the murder of the DEA agents aboard the train, blamed on Dom and his team, DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team arrive in Rio to arrest Dom and Brian. With the help of local officer Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), they travel to Dom's safehouse, but find it under assault by Reyes' men. Brian, Dom and Mia escape, and Dom suggests they split up and leave Rio, but Mia announces she is pregnant with Brian's child. Dom agrees to stick together and suggests they steal Reyes' money to start a new life. The trio organizes a team to perform the heist, recruiting Han Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Ludacris), Gisele Yashar (Gal Gadot), Tego Leo (Tego Calderón) and Rico Santos (Don Omar). Vince later joins the team after saving Mia from being captured by Reyes' men, earning Dom's trust once more.
Hobbs and his team eventually find and arrest Dom, Mia, Brian and Vince. While transporting them to the airport for extradition to the United States, the convoy is attacked by Reyes' men, who kill Hobbs' team. Hobbs and Elena are saved by Dom, Brian, Mia and Vince as they fight back against Reyes' men and escape, but Vince is shot in the process and dies. Wanting to avenge his murdered team, Hobbs and Elena agree to help with the heist. The gang breaks into the police station where Reyes' money is kept and tear the vault from the building using their cars, dragging it through the city with police in pursuit. Believing they cannot outrun the police, Dom makes Brian continue without him while he attacks the police and the pursuing Reyes, using the vault attached to his car to smash their vehicles. Brian returns to kill Zizi, while Reyes is badly injured by Dom's assault. Hobbs arrives on the scene and kills Reyes. Hobbs refuses to let Dom and Brian go free but, unwilling to arrest them, agrees to give them a 24-hour head start to escape. The gang splits Reyes' money, leaving Vince's share to his family, before the members go their separate ways.
On a tropical beach, Brian and a visibly pregnant Mia relax. They are met by Dom and Elena. Brian challenges Dom to a final, no-stakes race to prove who is the better driver.
In a post-credits scene, Hobbs is given a file by Monica Fuentes (Eva Mendes) concerning the hijack of a military convoy in Berlin. In the file, Hobbs discovers a recent photo of Dom's former girlfriend Letty Ortiz, who had been presumed dead.
By February 3, 2010, it was confirmed that a fifth film, referred to as Fast Five, was going into production in the Fast and Furious series, and that Diesel, Walker, writer Chris Morgan and producer Neal H. Moritz would all return to their roles for the new installment. Moritz confirmed that, following the success of Fast & Furious (2009), which had reunited Diesel, Brewster, Walker and Rodriguez from the original film, the production wanted to bring them back again for the next one. Diesel felt that the story between the characters portrayed by himself and Walker should continue, envisioning it as three chapters, of which Fast Five would be the last. Diesel also wanted to bring back a variety of characters that had been in previous films without interacting, put them together and "have a lot of fun".
The production had originally intended to film on location in Rio de Janeiro. However, the Puerto Rican government offered tax incentives, influencing the decision to film there, using Puerto Rico to represent Rio de Janeiro.
Lin wanted to explore the elements of "freedom and family" in the film and collaborated with Morgan towards that ideal, both having worked together on previous installments of the franchise. Morgan worked with Diesel to produce a story arc that would further explore and develop Diesel's character. An idea involving heisting a large safe had been conceived by Morgan during the production of Fast & Furious, but that film's premise did not work with how Morgan envisioned it. He later incorporated it into Fast Five.
On a budget of $125 million, the shooting of Fast Five was scheduled for July and August 2010. Shooting had started by July 14, 2010, but it took longer than forecast: the film was still being shot in early November 2010.
Three film units worked simultaneously. The main cast were required to travel to Rio at the behest of Lin, who felt it important to understand the area and its culture to give the film a good sense of place. Diesel agreed that it was important to shoot key scenes in Brazil, commenting "we were able to shoot where other productions might not be able to shoot because our franchise has such good street cred."
The Rio film unit captured aerial shots of the city including Sugarloaf Mountain, Fort Copacabana, Ipanema Beach, the Dona Marta lookout point and the Christ the Redeemer statue. Establishing shots of the heist team members were taken as each arrived in Rio. Gibson was filmed arriving in character at Galeão International Airport but, when it became publicly known that a scene was being shot at the airport, the cast and crew were mobbed. A similar situation occurred while Ludacris was shooting a scene in which his character buys a car to drive around the city. A scene where the completed heist team walk down a beach was filmed in Copacabana.
The rooftop chase across favelas was filmed in Puerto Rico, where the production could have more control over the area. The main and second filming units began filming in and around the capital, San Juan. The island's mixture of tropical greenery and wide streets allowed the production to re-create the densely populated favelas of Rio while completing the larger action and external scenes without incident. Production designer Peter Wenham had the task of transforming Puerto Rico and Atlanta into the previously scouted Rio locations in four weeks, as the production deemed Rio unsuitable for filming many of the larger scenes. Wenham had to reinforce buildings to support the heavy camera equipment, and to alter the colors of more than 30 buildings in the city to make them suitable for filming. His team needed to alter the buildings and strew debris to make the area look disheveled and appear as a Rio shantytown. Wenham remarked that, though the development was difficult, in part due to the heat, it was "a walk in the park" compared with filming in the Rio favelas themselves. Wenham aimed to maintain a monochromatic color scheme for the film, with muted blacks and grays, including his choice of colors for the cars used. He only chose to add a multitude of colors in the favela set.
A foot pursuit in which Diesel, Brewster and Walker are chased across favela rooftops by Johnson and his team was filmed over the course of a week in the small hillside town of Naranjito, Puerto Rico. The scene was considered difficult to shoot, as pathways were slippery from moist tropical heat and the scene involved actors and stunt doubles running while avoiding dogs, chickens and other stray animals loose in the area. To capture the scene, a 420-foot cable-camera rig was used to allow for a fast moving, birds-eye view of the action, and cameras on cranes were set up on rooftops and in alleyways. The train heist scene was filmed in Rice, California over three weeks.
Filming moved to Atlanta, Georgia for the final phase. Wenham and his team transformed a defunct train yard into an abandoned auto plant used by the protagonists as their headquarters. Redesigning the train yard took place over several months. It was required to allow enough space for stunt drivers to drive into the building, and it had to include an integrated lighting system. The design team removed walls, hauled out old railway cars, suspended rusted car parts and auto-plant car rails, and constructed smaller buildings within the main building to transform the site. With twenty-five pages of script to shoot in a limited time, cinematographer Stephen Windon and his team spent three weeks setting up a series of high-powered, motorized lights in the rafters of the building, that could be controlled remotely to allow lighting to be altered quickly while fully illuminating the set. An exterior scene involving Diesel and Walker attending a car party, involving several high-performance cars, was filmed near the Georgia Dome.
A brawl scene between Johnson's and Diesel's characters was considered difficult to choreograph. The characters were written to be equally formidable, so the fight was punctuated with moments of character development, as Moritz felt this made the fight more exciting. The scene required several weeks of rehearsal and more than a week of filming by the actors and their stunt doubles, who incurred several minor injuries.
The first trailer for Fast Five was released on Diesel's Facebook page on December 14, 2010, in what was believed to be the first ever use of this marketing approach. At the time, Diesel's page had over 20 million subscribers (one of the top five personal sites of celebrities), providing a wide audience for the trailer. Following this debut, other members of the cast with personal social media platforms released the teaser trailer to their own fans.
The Facebook game Car Town by Cie Games and the theater chain Regal Entertainment Group (REG) collaborated with Universal in a cross-media marketing promotion. Car Town allowed players to view the trailer for the film in an, in-game drive-in theater and race around a virtual Rio de Janeiro. The game also featured missions and locations based on the plot of the film, while allowing players to race against Fast Five characters and take part in a bank heist. REG offered players of Car Town the ability to purchase tickets in-game via Fandango for films at REG theaters. By buying these tickets in-game, players were given promotional codes which in turn allowed them to unlock a virtual 1970s Dodge Charger, used by Diesel's character in the original film. REG promoted the partnership between the film and the game in their theaters across 37 states, online and through social media, while Universal promoted it via their own Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. In October 2011, it was claimed that over 200 million races had taken place within the virtual Rio de Janeiro environment in the six months since the campaign's April launch.
Automobile manufacturer Dodge collaborated with Universal in marketing the film, supplying several Dodge Chargers to use in it. The partnership with Dodge included the "Fast Five" Dodge Charger driven by Robby Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series throughout April 2011 – the opening month of Fast Five. Dodge also sponsored the world premiere of the film in Rio de Janeiro.