Directed by: Justin Lin
Written by: Chris Morgan, & Gary Scot Thompson (characters)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, & Jordana Brewster
A TCC RATING OF
Sometimes when you go to see a movie you walk into the theater expecting an emotionally touching plot, snappy intelligent dialogue, and one or two tour de force performances. And sometimes you go to have fun. Fast five definitely qualifies as the latter. Some of you might say “but movies are supposed to be good, not fun” and I would reply “stop being so pretentious and learn to enjoy life.” Fast Five doesn’t try to be high art, it tries to be a car-focused balls-to-the-wall thrill-ride heist action film, and it succeeds entirely. Review with spoilers after the jump.
Fast Five follows the actions of three federal fugitives (Diesel, Walker, Brewster) as they attempt to establish a life in Rio de Janeiro, only to immediately get roped into a visually impressive car heist and become entangled with the most powerful criminal mastermind in Brazil, all while being tracked by “the guy the FBI hires when they want people found (Johnson).” To get their way out of trouble they bring back most of the characters from the past four films, cashing in on the viewer’s nostalgia, to plan “one last job.”
If someone walked into Fast Five not completely sure of what to expect, beyond the plot, the movie lets you know immediately what tone it’s going for. The opening scene is a very well executed albeit unrealistic prison bus stunt, and from there the viewer is only given a couple moments to catch their collective breath. “Well executed” and “unrealistic” are probably two of the best words to describe the entire film. Every action set piece is, dare I say, masterfully choreographed and shot, and there is no lack of implausibility in the plot or the stunts.
Before this review turns into a press release, it should be noted that the acting is as stiff and snooze-inducing as the stunts are dynamic and thrilling. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker deliver classic Vin Diesel and Paul Walker performances, showing none of the acting promise we all got a glimpse at in The Pacifier and Timeline respectively. None of the supporting cast contribute anything special, and the only bright spot out of all the talent was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Say what you will, but I believe he has tremendous screen presence and is a very charismatic action star, along the lines of Arnold. Regardless, his badassery is nice to see after starring roles in Tooth Fairy, Race to Witch Mountain, and The Game Plan.
One of the things that makes Fast Five so much fun is that director Justin Lin knows how ridiculous the movie is, and revels in it. Expensive cars get stolen off of a moving train, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker drive a car off of a cliff, a ridiculously attractive woman (Gal Gadot, with whom I am now unabashedly in love with) gets the villain’s prints off of her bikini bottom, and a giant bank vault gets dragged through the streets of downtown Rio, causing massive amounts of damage and threatening the lives of hundreds of innocents. It is this B-Movie mentality, executed with an A-Movie budget and director that makes Fast Five such a fun ride.
The bottom line is that if you are a fan of action movies, car movies, heist movies, or just “guy movies” in general, Fast Five will satisfy your film needs, and serves as the perfect way to open a summer full of action blockbusters.
If you want to get a taste for the type of action I’m talking about, check out the trailer below: