It’s a bit of a not great sign that as I sat down to view this latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, I wondered, “Did I see the other four? I’m really not sure.” I got back to my computer after the film and Googled the series. Yes, I had seen all the preceding four films. Apparently, something about these movies might be a little forgettable.
Also, an important note is that in the world of the films, Tokyo Drift is actually the fifth in chronological order, so Fast Five is both a sequel AND a prequel.
Which is very agile of it, I suppose.
Preview? Yes, have one:
Released April 29, 2011
Written by Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson
Directed by Justin Lin
Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and several very skinny actresses.
* * * * *
Fast Five is really not that bad. It lags a bit in the second act, because it has to try to keep telling a story and, presumably, the filmmakers couldn’t think of an insane stunt to pull, but it’s not as bad as, say, 2 Fast 2 Furious. Which was totally forgettable.
If you can get past the posturing and somewhat choppy transitions, as well as the absolutely horrid skeleton-ness of Jordana Brewster, you might enjoy this film.
Fast Five picks up right where 2 Fast 2 Furious left off: with Brian O’Conner (Walker) and Mia Toretto (Brewster– who I thought had done enough in the first film) breaking Dom Toretto (Diesel) out of prison by causing his transfer bus to crash spectacularly. The news reporter who later reports from the scene takes pains to point out that there were no fatalities.
But, and this is the other thing you have to get past, reality doesn’t seem to exist in this world. It is more than a suspension of disbelief that you have to accomplish in order to be entertained by this film; you have to say to yourself, “This might LOOK like the world I live in, but human bodies can take anything and the laws of physics do not apply in this film.”
That bus flipped at least 5 times. At least. Zero fatalities? Not likely.
All of the lack of realism and such aside, Fast Five is an exciting and pretty good entry into this franchise. We’re still a little fuzzy on what Mia and Brian see in each other- so their relationship feels quite like a convenient device, but luckily this film doesn’t hinge on those two. Instead, the movie is built on the chemistry and charm of a group of fun-loving and wily criminals. And on the remarkable physical presence that is Dwayne Johnson.
Brian, Mia, Dom and a big group of folks who populated all the other films get together to pull a final heist which will allow them to break free from the fugitive cycle and basically disappear. They target a fellow who wants them dead because they ended up, due to Dom’s intelligence and quick-thinking, with a chip that contains all of the details of the man’s business. Including the location of $100,000,000.
So it’s a heist movie, with all of the nice chemistry that group heist movies should have. Zingers, relationships developing, a couple of slick twists and getting away with the crime because the thieves were smarter than those after them– all of this makes for a good heist film. Add to all of that Vin Diesel’s acting ability, and he’s not really playing his A game here, Dwayne Johnson’s magnetism, and some of the most nutzo stunts you’ve ever seen.
This movie was made by smart people. Smart and creative people had to be involved to come up with the way the cars were stolen in the first heist. Smart people had to plan out the story that led naturally to insane stunts.
I won’t give any spoilers away, but I think this movie might have destroyed more cars in its making than all of the Bourne films combined.
If you like action films, fast cars, plenty of fighting and chase scenes, very slick driving, too-skinny girls wearing things that show off what they’re lacking, and loud guitars during the action– you will love this movie.
I liked it. That said, I found the relationship dynamics between Brian and Mia to be very stale. Nonetheless, I found Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs to be a lot of fun and I like his change of heart. I thought the budding romance between Dom and the female cop, Elena, to be quite tender.
And the Portuguese, for the most part, was awful. Worse? The scenes in the strangely un-populated and clean favela in Rio were completely wrong.
Content warnings: Plenty of revealing and sensual attire/behavior. Lots of violence and explosions. Some profanity.
Writing: 3 Acting: 4 Overall: 3.5
Don’t believe me? See if my review matches those on Rotten Tomatoes.
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