Fast Five – 2011

Directed by Justin Lin

Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, Joaquim de Almeida, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang

Written by Chris Morgan

This series is never going to end.  At a point where most franchises have long run out of steam, this one made the most money of any of the films in the franchise.  In fact, the only thing disappearing from the films are words in the title.  At this rate, by the time we get to the 10th film, it will be called, simply, appropriately F.  To celebrate or lament that this franchise is going to be a part of our lives for a good, but definitely not great, while.

The Good  

  • Any time a movie can start out in Rio, the customary shot is the big statue of Jesus, known as Christ the Redeemer.  It’s kind of a way of saying, yes, Jesus looms large, but he’s not going to do more than watch us flex our muscles as we drive in fast cars.  Even if the number one lunkhead wears a cross.
  • Reaction to the big reveal of Mia’s pregnancy showed that the series, vacuous as it is,  has a lot of heart.
  • The Rock kicks ass in this film, but he doesn’t think much.
  • “Gonna do one last job…” is kind of a funny line when it comes from Vin Diesel, who has done bupkis outside of this series lately.
  • de Almeida is a great bad guy who’s never been in a movie he deserves, since Clear and Present Danger.
  • Seeing a bunch of wanted guys driving through the middle of town keeping tabs on the bad guys seems unlikely, especially when the bad guys are all looking for the good guys.
  • Ballsy to not even bother showing how they won the little light blue Ducati.  And then to drive it around the warehouse so smoothly like that?  Sweet.
  • Nice touch to let the Asian guy (Kang) get the hot Mossad agent (Gadot).
  • Vince is Fredo, but Dom is not Michael, he’s nicer than Michael.
  • The chase with the two cop cars towing the vault, while against all laws of physics, is pretty bad ass.

The Bad

  • A prison break with a bus rolling a dozen times with no one getting hurt?  Likely.
  • “If there’s anything illegal happening in Rio, Reyes is involved,” is a good sign that perhaps the cops should hang out in front of Reyes’ house.  They don’t, of course.  They chase the guys who have fast cars.
  • Why rebuild a car just to find out the computer in the dashboard has a chip missing.
  • The big bad guys always kill little bad guys in front of number 2.  This is not to show the number 2 he is bad.  This is to show us that he is showing the number 2 he is bad.  Any number 2 would be well aware of this by the time he reached number 2.
  • “Stick to the plan,” is code for, “it’s not even the middle of the movie.  Keep doing cool stuff for a while.”
  • The good cops always find out “something big is going down” but are powerless to do anything but linger behind.
  • For a series that is supposed to be about stealing and racing cars, it’s beginning to look a lot like Ocean’s 14.
  • Dominic (Diesel) versus Hobbs (Johnson) would be much cooler if Hobbs wasn’t a foot taller.
  • I am pretty sure that Walker’s Brian is just in the film to be the token white guy.
  • Jordana Brewster seems to be even more anorexic with the progress of the pregnancy.
  • The big fight between Rock and Diesel was totally useless, given that there were guns on everyone else at that point, but it goes on for another minute or so anyway.  Of course no one really gets hurt, or even a scar.
  • Everyone without flak jackets or armor survives the ambush, while all the tough guys in T-shirts stand in the middle of the road and kill all the snipers, leaving number 2 alive, of course.
  • “You know I can’t let you go…” means, “Have fun, I am letting you go.”

The Ugly

  • “Go walk it off!” is another way of saying, “You’re lucky my chick’s here.”  Really they just mean, save the fights for later in the film.
  • Asking a cop if she is the only cop in Rio that one can trust is not usually a good sign.
  • Too much is made about the difficulty of breaking into police stations.  It happens all the time in movies.
  • No one beats Vin Diesel’s Dom in the movie, even when they win.  He’s the producer.
  • “We’re one hour away from the rest of our lives…” means you have to do a bunch of stuff, likely taking you more than an hour.
  • It’s clichéd brother is “It’s a suicide mission,” which means everyone will make out just fine, even the cop that was just your enemy who joined your team.
Overall, it’s a good Saturday movie, even on a Monday.
(***1/2 out of *****)


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