The franchise’s tenuous grip on reality gives way altogether in this episode, which signals the transition from high-speed racing to heist-movie action. After springing Dom from the prison-bound bus, Brian and Mia accompany him to Rio, where, along with Brian’s buddy Vince (Matt Schulze), they hatch a plot to steal cars from a moving train. One thing leads to another, faster than the speed of thought, and the ragtag crew expands to include Roman, Tej, Han, Gisele, and “Fast & Furious” vets Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar), in order to separate another freakin’ drug lord (Joaquim de Almeida) from his ill-gotten gains. Dwayne Johnson, clearly having the time of his life, brings his boisterous bellowing and bulging biceps to the series as U.S. Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Dobbs, who helps push the testosterone level into the red zone and, midway through the final credits, discovers Letty may — ta-dah! — may still be alive.
Elsa Pataky appears as Rio police officer Elena Neves, who serves as romantic interest for Dom — but only because the big lug thinks Letty has joined the Choir Invisible. Their union proves to be, ahem, productive.
When our heroes use chains attached to their revved-up vehicles to drag an immense vault containing the drug lord’s cash throughout the streets of Rio, and wind up using the vault as an offensive weapon against the cop cars on the trail, the sequence is so jaw-droppingly, mind-fryingly, downright exhilaratingly ridiculous, it instantly establishes itself as one of the franchise’s defining excesses.
Hobbs: “Toretto, you’re under arrest.” Dom: “I don’t feel like I’m under arrest.” Hobbs: “How about you, Brian?” Brian: “No, not a bit. Not even a little bit.” Hobbs: “Oh, just give it a minute. It will sink in.” Hey, boys will be boys.