Fast Five

11 May

Title: Fast Five
Year: 
2011
Director: 
Justin Lin
Writer: Chris Morgan, based on the characters created by Gary Scott Thompson
Starring: 
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Joaquim de Almeida, Tego Calderon, Don Omar
MPAA Rating: 
PG-13, intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language
Runtime: 
130 min
Major Awards: –

IMDb Rating: 
7.8
Rotten Tomatoes: 
78%

I don’t care what anybody says about the quality of the Fast and Furious franchise, I’m a huge fan of it. I mean, yes, it’s no prestige Oscar film with stunning performances, but it’s the definition of pure escapist entertainment. Fast cars, huge explosions and beautiful women, these films burst with testosterone and they’re always insanely fun to watch. And it’s appeal is just tremendous, and it’s one felt worldwide, just look at the cast of this one, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Paul Walker are all here along with the great American cars representing the U.S. of A, Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris represent the African American population, the film is set in Brazil, Jordana Brewster is from Panama, Elsa Pataky from Spain, Sung Kang is Korean American, the gorgeous Gal Gadot is from Israel, and Tego Calderon and Don Omar are two of the most famous reggaeton artists from Puerto Rico.

So yeah, just look at that diversity of countries involved in the making of this film, it goes a long way to explain why everybody can identify with some aspect of it. Not only is pretty much every background and race represented on it, but the whole procedure has this blue-collar feel to it that people connect with like crazy, to the tune of a combined gross of over $630 million just in the States and over $2 bilion worldwide, with millions more to come from receipts from this one which is performing like crazy. And not only is it performing like crazy, but it just might be the best of the series yet, or at least on par with the first one, so this is one franchise that definitely showed it has plenty of fuel left in the tank.

Yes, Fast Five is still not a honestly great film, but it’s more over-the-top and insane and loud than any of its predecessors, and it never once hesitates to look over the many things it does that are just simply not possible in the real world, and we don’t either. Not to mention that if you’re a fan of the series like myself you’ll love seeing the best people from all of the past films turn up again here, and will relish the introduction of the new character played by Dwayne Johnson because, really, if there’s anyone who can actually go head-to-head with Vin Diesel it’s The Rock. Any one else attempting to take down Dominic Toretto would have just seemed foolish, but Mr. Johnson, who plays federal agent Luke Hoobs, definitely looks like a worthy adversary. Even if the crew decided to bathe him in huge amounts of oil, which is the sort of ridiculous that flies in this film.

Look, say what you may about these films, but if you’re a studio with a franchise and you manage to make the fifth entry in it to be the best one, all while still feeling really great and fresh then you got yourself a real winner. This is a film that by dedicating itself solely to please its audience also pleased the critics, and that’s just as rare. And it does so because the people involved in it are tremendous at this specific task. Justin Lin came on board as a director for the third film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which is to me the worst of the bunch, but got the series going again with 2009’s Fast & Furious which had the franchise going back to its roots and now has it firing on all cylinders, more than ready for its sixth installment.

Mr. Lin is tremendous at crafting these incredible setpieces, he’s also the director of the impeccable Modern Warfare episode in the first season of Community, and the stuff that goes on in Fast Five is just so crazy and physics-defying that you need a director who can just do it all anyways and you need actors like this, who can keep a straight face during it all and just plain out sell it to us. This is a film in which good acting, gravity and narrative structure don’t really matter at all, and because it never pretends otherwise it’s one ride we can all go in without hesitation and have a helluva lot of fun in.

I really loved everything about Fast Five, it’s far from being the best film I’ve seen all year, but it just might be the funnest. And I think every single person who has enjoyed at least one of the films in the franchise will love this one, you get to see Dominic Toretto busted out of prison by Mia and Brian only to then become the most-wanted people in the U.S. which then sees them escaping to Rio de Janeiro, where they get mixed up in mafia business. Which sees them wrongfully accused of killing American police officers working there, and thus bumped up a few places in that most-wanted list. Which then sees Mr. Johnson’s Agent Hobbs sent to Brazil to capture them. Yes, even typing that and remembering the film was fun, this film just goes ballistic with all of this.

The amount of impossible stunts that take place in Fast Five is ridiculous, and the climatic final one is just so insanely implausible that you’ll want to laugh at it, but instead you’ll stop at just a smile, and will thoroughly enjoy every single second of it. But they’re all done really nicely, it’s not as though we’re seeing a Michael Bay film in which that guy just has things exploding and gives them this hyperactive editing which makes them look like shit, in here Mr. Lin has things just as impossible going on, but everything is shown in the greatest way possible, with really nice planning going to how it’s going to be seen by the audience and not just cheap fast editing.

Go see Fast Five, go see it now, check your logic at the door of theater and just sit down and enjoy 130 minutes of pure blockbuster entertainment, you’ll have awesome cars, the lovely Ms. Gadot and one awesome fight between Mr. Diesel and Mr. Johnson that may have you confusing one with the other. And I promise the film will end and you’ll feel thoroughly satisfied, and then that first round of credits will end and you’ll get your easter egg scene, and after that one you’ll just want to ask where do you get in line to buy tickets for Fast Six or whatever they’ll call the next one.

Grade: B+

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