Friday, May 6, 2011

Fast Five - Movie Review


Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Dwayne Johnson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Matt Schulze, Gal Gidot and Joaquim de Almeida.
Directed by Justin Lin.

Funny thing about this franchise is I've seen all of them, but going in, I could barely remember anything about the first four. Why isn't Michelle Rodriguez in this one? Oh, did she die in the last one? Don't remember it. This guy Vince, who looks like Josh Brolin's lost brother, was he in any before?

But it doesn't really matter. The series has evolved and elevated. It survived giving the keys to Lucas Black and Bow Wow for a chapter (I still hope they come back somehow) and now it's established itself as a high-octane action staple.

Act I has to have a cool heist. I liken it to the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. We have some characters assemble, the action's high, and at the climax, with explosions and stunts (one very cool suck-in-your-breath stunt, but if you've seen the preview, you've seen it), and when it's over, we get our new plot and are propelled into the next two acts of the movie. One last heist, one big job. A team needs to be assembled. It's Ocean's 11, with Vin Diesel as Danny and Paul Walker as Rusty. I think that makes Tyrese Gibson the Linus of the crew.

BUT they also have a special agent after them, played by Dwayne Johnson, who seems to always be flexing. For the first hour or so, I thought Tommy Lee Jones could've played the part in his sleep, but naturally, the Rock and Diesel eventually have to fight.

The movie is wall-to-wall macho B.S. and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It was silly but it was entertaining. Even the climax, a 20-minute car chase with two cars dragging a ten-ton safe through the busy streets of Rio de Janeiro with no regard for civilian safety or laws of physics, still carried a visceral thrill to it.

The movie is what it is. It is exactly what it claims to be and nothing more, and that's just fine.

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