Saturday, May 21, 2011

FAST FIVE (2011) - Saving the best for last

The original Fast and the Furious was a slick if terribly cheesy action movie that kicked off the whole street racing rage back in the early 2000s. Suddenly, every middle school kid started to dream about owning a rice rocket Honda or Toyota and imagined themselves drag racing outside of their school to impress that one chick that ignored him everyday in 4th period science. It made a star out of Vin Diesel, and made bucket loads of cash. Unfortunately for the series, it turned out a bunch of completely crap sequels, which went from bad to worse and only now in this latest one do we get a good flick to enjoy. I groaned when I read they were making Fast Five, but after seeing the trailers I started to wonder if they might have finally made a goddamn decent movie after all. And sure enough, they've managed to make what is in this Guy Movie Blogger's opinion the best movie in the series.

Everybody's back.
The movie opens with a sensational set piece with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel - in case you've been living under a rock) getting busted out of a jail bus and making his way to Rio de Janeiro, where he reunites with his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and his buddy, ex-cop turned criminal Brian (Paul Walker). In need of some cash to avoid the authorities, they take on a job stealing some high-priced cars from a high speed train. Aboard the train they're joined by a some shady Brazilians, but the job quickly goes bad when they discover DEA agents are aboard the train. The Brazilians go crazy and kill all three agents, and try to kill Dom and Brian. After escaping with a Ford GT that the Brazilians were particularly keen on getting their grubby hands on, Dom and Brian find a special GPS chip in the car. The chip contains a list of safe-houses used for storing $100 million in drug money belonging to the ruthless Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) who basically runs Rio. After Reyes threatens to kill Mia, and now being blamed for the deaths of the three DEA agens, Dom and Brian decide to rob the safe-houses and get the hell out of Rio.

Whenever The Rock is on screen, expect people to get their shit ruined.
While Toretto plans the heist, the DEA sends Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson - The Rock), their best agent to capture Toretto and his gang. He is joined by  local hottie cop Elena (Elsa Pataky), who Hobbs considers one of the few trustworthy Brazilian cops. Hobbs is no joke - the guy is built like a freaking woolly mammoth, drives a f*cking tank, and won't take shit from anyone. Back at their hideout, Brian and Dom have rounded up a new crew with some familiar faces from the earlier movies: smooth-talker Roman (Tyrese), computer whiz Tej (Ludacris), hot Jewish chick Harabo (Gal Gadot), driver Han (Sung Kang) and two random Puerto Ricans who I didn't recognize. The rest of the movie sees them try and figure out how to steal the cash from under Reyes's nose while avoiding Hobbs and his team of agents.  At the same time, Toretto's gang might also be forced to deal with threats from inside their own group.

Steroid sales have gone up 500% after Fast Five was released.
I think it doesn't really need to be said that people don't flock to the latest Fast and Furious sequel expecting to see Oscar caliber acting, but rather good action and plenty of adrenaline-filled stunts. But compared to the absolutely terrible sequels that came before Fast Five, this one has everyone at the top of their game, which was pretty surprising. Vin Diesel was born to play the role of Dom Toretto (and Riddick) and Walker does a decent job. The standout without a doubt is Johnson who nails his part as the badass Hobbs. He eats up all the scenes, drops one-liners like it's going out of style and he seems like he's having an absolute blast. He and Vin have a great beast mode fight scene that had made me giddy like a ten year old as they smashed through walls and generally beat the living shit out of each other. Everyone is in on the joke - Fast Five is ridiculous, why not just embrace it and have fun with it?

Gal Gadot + Jordana Brewster. YUMM.
 The story and plot has been done to death a million times, and except from a few twists near the end, it's all pretty predictable stuff. Good guys steal from bad drug kingpin, blah blah blah. It doesn't really matter though, since almost from beginning to end, Fast Five is basically a 2 hour chase scene that never lets up. The action scenes are flat out the craziest shit I've seen all year, and very thrilling to watch once you accept it for the brainless fun that it really is. By far the best is the 30 minute long final heist racing through downtown Rio de Janeiro at breakneck speed, with everything from shootouts, cop cars getting smashed by a giant bank vault, buildings exploding, jumps, etc. It's gloriously reckless, a little stupid, violent, fast paced, brilliantly shot and very, very fun. It's absolutely bonkers.

It's no surprise that the ending sets up the movie for yet another sequel, but whereas before I would've been aching to blow up the studio responsible for cinematic turds like Tokyo Drift, I actually have some hope for the next one if they manage to go back to basics like this flick has and if they get The Rock back. The dude has single handedly brought the series back to decent ground.Fast Five is a perfect popcorn action movie, check your brain at the door and enjoy it. That last heist scene is worth the admission all by itself. Also, make sure you pay attention after the credits for a sneak peek at where they'll probably go with the next sequel.

TL;DR - The best movie in the series is also the best action movie so far this year - 8.5/10


  1. You had me until you called Tokyo Drift a turd. BTW...I made you blog of the day.

  2. I never could get into the Franchise.

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  4. You know I love me some Paul Walker..

  5. i'm so glad that this got a good review. :)

  6. yeah, those other Fast movies were all horrible but this looks kinda promising.

    Sad though, Jordana Brewster used to be so hot back in the day. Now her face looks kinda creepy.

  7. Seen it, two thumbs up! Oh and with your ending line, next sequel. Hmmm, so this might not be the last. Let's see, and probably that'll be with Dwayne Johnson.

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  8. naah I dislike such cheesy movies, sorry

  9. This series has lasted way too long, to be honest.