Fast Five. Although the title is horrible (unlike the quality gem “2 Fast 2 Furious”), this movie does everything right.
This franchise has a rough history leading up to this point. “The Fast and the Furious” was at the time a unique thrillride and the producers noticed, making spinoffs and sequels like they were going out of style. And maybe they did go out of style. “2 Fast 2 Furious” was a bit of a disappointment, taking away the Vin Diesel component and letting Paul Walker try to hold the franchise. And thennnn there was the step-brother to the franchise, “Tokyo Drift.” Now, “Tokyo Drift” wasn’t horrible and it managed to make some amazing races, but it had zero in common with the prior movies, except a Vin Diesel cameo in the last scene. Annnnnnnnnd then came “Fast and Furious,” which was a confusing title altogether since they just removed the “the”s. This movie felt more like the original than any of the others, putting Paul Walker and Vin Diesel back together.
And now here we are in 2011 and the audiences were just yearning for another installment. The producers did a very smart thing here.
“What did people love about these past movies? Let’s combine them together.” We’ve got Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and the sister that I can’t remember her name for the life of me. We’re bringing back Tyrese, Ludacris, and other familiar faces from each of the films. Luckily, they made a wise choice by bringing in Han from “Tokyo Drift,” as opposed to the guy they chose to be the lead (or Bow Wow, for that matter).
Now, this sounds awesome, right? Now, let’s add a new explosive element that makes this movie truly feel like a whole new beast. The Rock.
By this point in the franchise, everyone is essentially wanted by the FBI for all sorts of debauchery. Who does the FBI hire to track down all these fools? The Rock. And he is gigantic in this film, sporting a bald head and a crazy beard (notable comparison to moi).
Here’s what the movie doesn’t do right:
Since there are 1,001 characters, it’s easy to get lost and not care about some of them. You should watch the prior films before seeing this. It gets you zero information from the past movies and there is a scene after the credits that rewards those that know what’s going on. A few times people around me were like, “Who is that?” or “What is going on?”
Also, this movie spoils you with amazing chase and fight scenes, but when it slows down, it really slows down. There’s a few points where I didn’t care about the really deep conversation they were having. That’s not why I’m watching a movie called “Fast Five,” I’m watching it because I want to see cars go really fast and people get punched.
What this movie does right: A lot of things.
Of course this movie delivers on its promises of a high-octane thrill ride. The chase scenes are incredible. The opening scene involving stealing cars from a train is CRAZY.
But this movie delivers more action than just car chases. The whole movie you’re waiting for Vin Diesel and The Rock to throw down. And boy do they. Their fight scene is worth the wait. It’s brutal, it’s visceral, and it had everyone in the theatre grunting and cheering along. And it doesn’t matter who wins, because the fight is amazing.
And let me talk about the story. This seems like new territory for the franchise and it’s a relief. It’s more of a heist movie than a chase movie. The plot is exciting but not too cliched. There’s a bit of a cliffhanger to open to possible new sequels, but if they retain this momentum and what worked in this movie, I would welcome more sequels.
This is an exciting movie and a nonstop adventure. The dialogue isn’t always great (cough*Paul Walker is a robot*cough) but everything you would want from this movie is here.
And again, stay after the credits, but only if you at least know what’s happened in the past few movies.