'Fast Five': Vin Diesel And Paul Walker Drive Into The Rock With This Weekend's Release

Fast FiveThe day is here – the day that the fifth installment in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise pulls into American theatres. “Fast Five” has been lauded as both true to the original and an exciting evolution for the franchise, and we’re going to break it down for you.

With the opening of “Fast Five” today in U.S. theatres, it’s a sequel that a lot of people didn’t think would ever happen. The 2001 car racing film “The Fast and the Furious” succeeded past critics and insiders’ wildest dreams, and this new installment takes this pack of racers into what could be their final showdown and into a new direction for the franchise. If you compare this film to a vintage car, it’s been classically restored to its showroom condition but has a little bit of modern muscle under the hood. Find out more about the fast-paced flick past the jump.

The "Furious" Rundown

In “Fast Five,” the twin stars of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker end up tighter than ever as Walker’s law enforcement character turns into a full-on outlaw after he helps Diesel’s on-screen sister Jordana Brewster break her brother out of custody. Fresh out of the clink, they head south but find themselves backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson bearing down on them as hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs. With nowhere left to turn, they assemble an elite team of racers culled from previous films (with a few new faces) to get to the truth that will hopefully set them free.

Import Success

After making its name early by being the first mainstream film to focus on Asian import cars, the new “Fast Five” flick is getting payback as early release overseas has surmounted industry expectations for the film. Even before it debut in the United States, “Fast Five” has raked in $31.5 million in foreign sales. For the taste-makers and the critics, it’s been hyped as the best yet with review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes placing it at a 77% positive based on 75 critics. Inside sources at Universal project a $60 million opening in the U.S., but with foreign sales outpacing expectations it could – and should – be more.

More Than Just Car Racing

Another interesting facet to the film is how this new installment is aiming to expand the franchise from a car-racing series to a series of heist films. But fans don’t have anything to worry about, as “The Fast and the Furious” will always contain high-speed chases and exotic vehicles. Instead, this expected evolution will reframe the movies to allow them to expand what’s possible in future installments.

Location, Location, Location

With every subsequent film, it seems the global reach of “The Fast and the Furious” expands. After going to Japan in “Tokyo Drift,” “Fast Five” filmed in no less than five locales – Puerto Rico, Arizona, Georgia, California and Rio de Janeiro. This jet-setting road trip only serves to heighten the international flair of the film series, which has become the most diversely cast mainstream film series ever.

Casting A Mixture of New & Old

“The Fast and the Furious” franchise has always prided itself on a diverse and exstensive ensemble cast, and in “Fast Five” it pushes that even further as racers from previous movies like Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris rejoin the fold. Additionally, major action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson comes in as a hard-driving federal agent with skills of his own. Stay tuned after the credits for a post-credits scene that will drop more than a few bombshells as well.

The Future of “The Fast and the Furious”

After rescuing the franchise from the brink after “Tokyo Drift,” the storied film series is already plotting two more films in the franchise. Back in March, longtime producer Neal H. Moritz said they’re developing both a sixth and seventh film, and Universal just signed screenwriter Chris Morgan, who has written the past three films, to begin work on “Fast Six.” And you can fully expect Vin Diesel to reprise his role – since his return in “Fast & Furious,” he’s become a major part of the series behind the scenes as a producer and sometimes director of DVD short films related to the franchise.

Are you going to see "Fast Five" this weekend? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!