In 2011's Fast Five, the movie’s loveable bunch of family-obsessed, Corona-swilling scamps pull off a heist by using their cars to drag a bank vault filled with millions of dollars in cash through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. While we sit at home looking forward to F9's release like a collection of antsy Brians waiting for Ludacris to signal the start of a race, now seems like a good time to look back at how that stunt was filmed.
A recent video from Nerdstalgic dissects the vault chase, rightly calling it one of the best sequences in the long-running series. Though a Harvard physicist says it wouldn’t be possible to actually pull a vault of the size and weight depicted in Fast Five without 467 cars dragging it at once (they’re obviously saving that scene for F32), the movie’s creators still had to carefully plan and time shots based on the fast, destructive movements of two very real sports cars and a big heavy box.
We’re shown how close the prop vault comes to demolishing cameras and extras, how a special, cooled version of it had to be built that could be controlled by a driver, and, most impressively, how much time the stunt team had to spend practicing everything in order to avoid messing all of this work up or killing themselves in the process. (We are shown the results of one mistake from the scene: A motorcycle stunt that was off by a single millisecond that resulted in a stuntperson breaking their shoulder on a car window.)
The video points out that the series has gone on to rely more heavily on CGI to accomplish its stunts than it did in installments like Fast Five. But, given that Justin Lin is still doing stuff like spending eight months getting ready for a four-second F9 shot, we’d say this kind of meticulous approach to the series’ action sequences, even if it incorporates more CGI, isn’t entirely a thing of the past.
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