Fast Five Review


In theory, Fast Five should have worked. A series that reaches its fifth entry needs to reinvent itself to keep people interested. Here, the filmmakers have disposed of much of the pointless street racing in favor of a heist-film formula. It’s not a bad idea; The problem, rather, is in the execution. After the explosive and exciting set-up, we’re forced to endure nearly 90 minutes of talky exposition and planning. And as a fan of this series, that’s the absolute last thing I want to see Paul Walker and Vin Diesel doing.

The film picks right up where Fast and Furious left off with lovers Brian O’Conner (Walker) and Mia Torretto (Jordana Brewster) breaking their leader, Dominic Torretto (Diesel), out of police custody. Once free, the three are high on the most-wanted list, so they flee to Rio. They take a job that promises to be easy, but several dead federal agents later, they’re up to their necks in trouble. Luckily, they hold one major bargaining chip—literally a chip, which belongs to crime lord Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). And when Mia announces she’s pregnant with Brian’s child, the trio decides they need to turn this pickle into a major score so they can disappear from this scene forever. Their plan: Bring in a trustworthy crew, use the information on the chip to rob Reyes, and divide the money up evenly, making this an $11 million payday for everyone.

Big fans of this series will likely be thrilled with the reunion that takes place in Fast Five. Virtually every supporting character that wasn’t killed off over the course of the series makes an appearance as a member of Dom and Brian’s crew. The film has a real Ocean’s 11 in that respect, except it’s pretty much humorless. Speaking of humorless, it’s much ado about nothing as far as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is concerned. He plays a tough-as-nails federal agent who’s determined to bring Dom and Brian down. And though he has a pretty badass brawl with his enemy, the character is a total throwaway.

When the film actually opts for action, it’s fun. There are two crazy scenes—one near the film’s beginning, and one at the conclusion. Though neither is even remotely realistic, they keep your interest and represent the series at its best and most entertaining.

I’m growing more and more impressed with Justin Lin as a director. He’s no Martin Scorsese, but he’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. With these films, he needs to keep things energetic and coherent. Though the screenplay fails him miserably, there’s some promise in the action scenes—especially the aforementioned fist fight between Diesel and Johnson.

But there’s only so much one person can do to salvage schlock. The dialogue is often laughable, the acting is predictably bad, and there’s very little suspense. We already know there will be a sixth Fast and Furious. I just hope they revert back to what made this franchise so fun popular in the first place—lots and lots of balls-to-the-wall action.

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