Movie Review: Fast Five

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Now all fugitives from the law, thieving drivers Dom Toretto, Brian O’Connor and Mia Toretto go on the run to Rio, where they plan a job against a druglord.

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Justin Lin, 2011

So we all know the drill by now. Following immediately from the events of the fourth film (Fast & Furious), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and some other people bust Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) out of protective custody (using cars, natch) and they all go on the lam to South America. They’re pursued by an agent of some government agency or other, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a man whose muscles defy all logic and physics and shine with oil all hours of the day and night. He teams up with hot cop Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), who isn’t even important enough to make it into the final montage of all the key players in the movie but IS important enough to throw away all of her principles as soon as Vin Diesel gets up in her business. In order to pull off One Last Job, Brian and Dom put together an Ocean’s Eleven-like team of their old friends and rob the Most Dangerous Man in RioTM. In order to do this, they bring back a bunch of guys, including Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson, who you might remember from a previous review as the most annoying man in the world), and a brand new chick because they needed a girl and apparently bringing back an old one might feel too much like character development. Oh, and Mia’s pregnant. That’s what counts for character development if you’re female, right?

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I’m not sure if this was actually the worst film in the series so far, but it felt like it to me, possibly because it followed what I consider to be the best film thus far. The setting in Rio was nice, creating some new and exciting backdrops for the car scenes, which were actually fewer and further between. There was a lot more shooting and blowing shit up than car fun in this film, which seems to me to defeat the purpose of having these movies in the first place. The film is bookended by car heists; at the beginning there’s the breaking-Dom-out-of-a-prison-bus scene, and towards the end there’s a neat sequence at the end of the film that utilises a vault being dragged by two cars. The best heist in the film was actually a train job, because really, you can’t make a series like this without eventually having a train heist, right? The final segment, where everyone seems to get their happily-ever-after, seems like it’s wrapped up the series (a girl can dream, can’t she?) with a neat little bow, but to be honest it doesn’t feel like all of these guys have earned their happy endings. I understand the concept of bad boys ripping off badder men in order to look like good guys, but the property damage and reckless endangerment of innocent life alone should put them away for a good, long while.

The Ocean’s Eleven part of the film would work better with an assortment of more likable characters. Han, otherwise known as the only person in these films from the franchise who was actually in Tokyo Drift, is still probably the most interesting of the group, which includes bickering Latino brothers, a girl whose main attributes match pretty much all the girl drivers in the series (drives fast, skinny, looks good in a bikini), and the aforementioned incredibly annoying Roman. Bringing him back drove my opinion of the film straight into the ground, and their reason for bringing him back was so flimsy as to beggar disbelief (“We need a fast talker”? Really?). Predictable doesn’t even come close to describing The Rock’s role in this film, which includes the least believable and most convenient face-heel turn (or heel-face turn, depending on who you think are the good guys) that I’ve seen in any film for a while. Then there’s that wasted storyline with the female cop, who was almost interesting, except that the writers clearly didn’t care about her. And the pregnancy. Oh, the pregnancy, which was of course all about Brian and Dom and not about Mia at all. There’s an attempt to inject emotion by killing off a character that nobody has ever really liked, but that goes over as poorly as you can imagine. Overall, I think I enjoyed this overlong (2+ hours) installment the least out of all the films so far.

Fast Five on IMDb

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