Although he didn't kick off The Fast and The Furious franchise, director Justin Lin has shot more of the series than anyone else.Beginning with the third installment, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and following that up with Fast & Furious, Lin has given audiences some pretty slick big screen racing action. Now he's going even bigger in the latest installment, Fast Five, reuniting cast members from all of the previous films, and adding Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to the mix, just for a little extra octane.
"The great thing that I love about this franchise is it keeps going," Lin tells IGN. "We don't just recycle things. So in the sense of visual style, the action sequences and even the characters' journeys – it's been about, I don't know, 10, 11 years since the first one and this one – there is a maturity to the characters, to the action. And I think there's a lot more at stake."
Paul Walker returns as Brian O'Conner, now an ex-cop on the run after springing his former adversary Dom (Vin Diesel) from jail. Along with Dom's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), Brian heads down to Rio de Janeiro where he teams up with Dom for one last job. According to Lin, we'll finally get to see the relationship between Brian and Dom blossom into the bromance we always knew it could be.
- Universal Pictures
IGN premieres the poster for Fast Five. Click on the image to view a hi-res version.
"You definitely will see a growth and a maturing of their relationship to be sure," the director tells us. "In the other ones, it's always been a little more of that struggle, and Brian was always trying to catch Dom. Now you're going to see a little more of this brotherhood that's always been promised in the other ones. I feel like that's something that everyone's been waiting to see. And I think you'll definitely get some of that here."
But Brian doesn't exactly make a clean getaway. That's where Johnson comes in. He plays a federal agent named Hobbs, who follows the fugitives down to Brazil and will stop at nothing to bring them back to justice in the U.S. Lin says that having The Rock on board elevated the project to epic status for him, as both a director and a fan.
"When I'd heard that he was interested in potentially joining, I jumped at it," Lin says. "I'm a huge fan of Dwayne and I've always felt like for me as a movie fan, if you want to equate it to the '80s, it's almost seeing Schwarzenegger and Stallone together in their prime in a film. I've always wanted to see something like that and I feel like these are two big action stars that I've always wanted to see on screen together. And I think The Rock, or Dwayne, he definitely has the presence to become the real antagonist to our characters."
And that cast of characters includes a rogue's gallery of faces from all of the other films in the Fast and the Furious series. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris return from the second movie, and Sung Kang from Tokyo Drift is also back as Han. For Lin, part of the fun of making the film was getting all these different actors together in one place.
"If you follow the franchise you'll be able to link all these characters up through either Brian or Dom. They're all around the world and an incident happens that basically calls for them to come together as one. Aside from being a director, but just as someone who follows the franchise, that's something that I've always felt I wanted to see, all these characters interacting and how they get together."
With a big cast, comes big-scale stunts and action sequences. And since Fast Five is headed for IMAX screens, it had to be spectacular. Lin resisted the urge – and pressure from the studio – to film in 3D ("I just didn't think it was appropriate," he says), opting instead to give audiences a fully immersive experience on a huge 2D screen.
- Universal Pictures
"The challenge on this one was greater than all the others combined because stylistically I made a conscious effort to say we're going to do all this practically," Lin says. "And I think the cast and crew really stepped up. Usually on these films there's only a few set pieces. On this one, you've got a little bit of everything. You have a big set piece on a train where we literally took over the railroad and we were just crashing trucks into trains and stuff like that. I'm very proud of that sequence. And to drag a Volt around Rio. To build a building and crush it. Finally seeing Dwayne and Vin go at it. I'm just very proud of it as a whole."
If you've seen the trailer, you might think you know what to expect, but Lin promises even more action in the film itself: "A good sign is that what you see in the trailer is only a fraction of the stuff that I'm proud of in the action sequences."