The Fast and the Furious franchise made its debut in 2001. By the Justin Lin-directed 2011 entry Fast Five (2011), the series had gone far beyond its humble beginnings. Now, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) work together to take down a Brazilian drug lord and get rich in the process.
The film’s climax features our heroes dragging a vault full of the drug lord’s cash through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, which is both ridiculous and not remotely as ridiculous as the films following Fast Five are. The vault heist in Fast Five is definitely one of the best car chases in the series.
The chase is very on-brand with our heroes smashing into a police station, ripping out of their targeted 4000 kilos (9,000lb) vault containing $100 million and proceeding to drag it behind their Dodge Chargers with trusty cables, wagging it through Rio De Janeiro traffic like a deadly steel tail.
The vault tumbles through a bank when Dom and Brian take sharp turns and clobbers police vehicles along the way; their coordinated driving makes it believable that the vault could keep moving and not let anything get in its way.
The scene was filmed in Puerto Rico and it was shot for real with a real vault and no CG. The vault was real, the driving was real, the crazy destruction was real, and most of us probably just assumed from watching that it was all done with a big blue screen stage and a computer. Presented by Jack Gill, stunt coordinator on Fast Five, the below 20-minute video from Vanity Fair describes, in quite some detail, the process of creating this epic five and a half minute chase sequence.
Several vaults were actually used for the sequence, including some real 4000 kilo vaults being dragged by a pair of real Dodge Chargers around the streets of Puerto Rico. Some were built around trucks and were able to be driven from the inside to create a more predictable motion path on certain shots.
Fast Five showed the franchise evolving into a heist story and this sequence displays that change beautifully, especially as the amount of smashed up cop cars and tricky, coordinated driving is more than fulfilled by this edgy approach to a chase.
The Vault Heist in Fast Five (2011)
- The film that gathered all of the fan favorite characters from previous films into one gigantic ensemble. Throw in Dwayne The Rock Johnson and you have yourself what may be the best the franchise will ever be.
- Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs character was exactly what the franchise needed.
- The film is Extremely over the top and fun.