Fast Five Review

“This just went from Mission: Impossible to Mission: In-freaking-sanity.”

-Roman Pierce

The Fast and the Furious series returns for its fifth installment and largest cast to date. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel return to do another job this time on the run from the FBI(led by Dwayne Johnson as DSS agent Hobbs) and the Rio De Janeiro mafia. To pull off the “one last job” they assemble a team of professionals(all from previous films) including Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto,Tyrese Gibson as Roman PearceLudacris as Tej Parker,Sung Kang as Han Lue, and Matt Schulze as Vince. The movie is supposed to be filled with plenty of action involving cars, explosion, and woman, but  can the all-star cast of actors make this an entertaining action movie or should the Fast and Furious series ended 2 sequels ago?

The story for Fast Five is actually pretty simple. It picks up right where Fast and Furious left off with Dom Toretto(Diesel) being taken to prison on a bus. Luckily he has Ex-FBI Agent Brian O’Conner(Walker) and Mia Toretto (Brewster) on his side to help him break out. After they spring Dom from the bus they all go on the run around the world to hide from US pursuit. Eventually the story ends up in Rio, Brazil. While in Brazil  Dom, Brian, Mia and Vince(who last appeared in the original) decide to work with the Rio Mafia on a job that involves stealing cars from a moving train. The cars that they were stealing ended up being property of the DEA, a detail the mafia left out of the job. After one of the Mafia’s henchmen kills all 3 of the DEA agents, Dom and crew decide to break away from them. The 4 of them end up getting blamed for the death of the DEA agents and the FBI sends in a special task force lead by Agent Hobbs(Dwayne “The Rock” Jackson) to hunt them down. After the group figures out they’ve been framed they decide to get payback by stealing all of the Rio Mafia’s money. To do this job they decide that they need to assemble a team of experts(who all happen to be from previous films) to take the head of the mafia down. From this point the group is pulling  jobs while avoiding the mafia and Agent Hobb’s task force.

Essentially the assembling of a team of experts was an excuse to bring back as many of the previous film’s characters as possible. Luckily all of the characters they bring back are very fun to watch starting with Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pierce and ending with Sung Kang’s Han Lue. All of the members of the team do bring a particular skill and getting to see all of these all-star actors interact with each other in action is a lot of fun to watch. There is quite a bit of banter between several of these character and there are times when they reference things that happened in previous films which should give fans of the series something to laugh about. This film is surprisingly able to handle the large ensemble cast rather well. Each one of the characters gets time to do something memorable, and none of the talent is wasted. I should note that the acting in this film isn’t great; its just like most action movies which means that even though the acting isn’t great, the roles are still memorable. Paul Walker still comes off as wooden and Vin Diesel still gets plenty of one liners,  but the characters they play are still great fun to watch and they do actually have some depth to them(just think Bruce Willis as John McClane in the Die Hard series). This movie isn’t supposed to have amazing acting, just acting that is fun to watch which I think it accomplishes very well. The other person I think most everyone was interested in watching in this project was The Rock and I am pleased to say that he does a great job. He plays the hard-ass character type; he has a job to do and nothing gets in his way. If something does get in his way he just kills it or runs it over with his epic armored vehicle. Brian O Conner describes him as “old testament”; interpret how you like. The Rock is plenty of fun to watch and his addition to the cast is very welcome.

Lets be honest though; people aren’t going to see this movie for the story, people want to see cars do insane stunts, explosions, women, and awesome fight scenes. I am very pleased to say that this film delivers on all of those. There are several scenes; including one at the very beginning of the film that will have the audience sitting on the edge of their seat and laughing at the insanity of what is happening. There are car chases, heist scenes, explosions, and most importantly a fight between Vin Diesel and The Rock. This film delivers where it really counts. I am pleased to say that I have never seen a movie involving cars get any more entertaining that this. There is one scene at the the end of the film where two cars are dragging a giant safe they pulled from a building down the streets of Rio. Insanity ensues as these cars cause millions of dollars worth of damage to the city and take out essentially Rio’s entire police force all for one job. I am also pleased to say that the fight scene between Vin Diesel and The Rock is anything but a letdown. The fight scene has a healthy length and is well choreographed. It comes off as one of the most intense hand to hand fight scenes I have seen in recent memory. This fight scene is equivalent to Stallone and Schwarzenegger getting into a fight during the 1980s(which they never did). In this film action matters, and in this film it is delivered to its maximum potential. If you’re a fan of cars, actions, or explosions this film has it where it counts.

Overall I would say that Fast Five is an excellent sequel to the long running action franchise(that will keep going after this movie). When it isn’t driving cars off of cliffs or through the streets the film is delivering hilarious banter between the large cast of characters. I definitely have to hand it to the cast and Justin Lin for being able to pull off making so many characters work in one movie. As I mentioned each of the characters has a moment to shine. Whats nice about this movie is that they successfully wrap up the story for several of the supporting characters in case they don’t return for a future installment(and I’m sure there will be). Another thing I will note is that the way Fast five brings back several dangling plot threads and attempts to wrap them up is great. In a way this feels like it could have been the final entree to the series(could have been) because of the way the film brought back so many characters and wrapped up several subplots from previous films. So in short I would say this film has a simple story, likable and interesting characters, and tons of over the top action sequences involving cars. This film fulfilled all of my expectations well.

Story: 6.0

The film has a pretty straightforward story that is relatively simple. Luckily this is an action film and it really does not need a complicated or in depth story; it just needed one that works well.

Characters/Acting: 7.0

This film does have a cool cast of characters and the acting is like acting in all action movies; solid and memorable. The film doesn’t really need great acting, it just needed acting that could make the roles memorable.  The film has an all-star cast of Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris,  Matt Schulze, and Sung Kang. All of them are fun to watch and make their roles memorable. The banter between all of the characters was quite entertaining

Direction: 8.5

Justin Lin does a great job managing his all star cast; giving them all at least one moment in which they did something cool. He also balanced the moving story with the amount of action. It is very easy to get too carried away with action movies these days(just ask Michael Bay), but Lin resists this temptation and keeps the action from getting too excessive. The film is well shot with the action being filmed in a way that its not nauseating to watch. 

Overall Effectiveness of the Film: 9.5

This movie may not be a movie that will change cinema, but it does a fantastic job at doing what it is supposed to do which is deliver a great entertaining action movie. The over the top action is well done and the film avoids feeling like a mess which is very easy to do in modern action movies. Despite that the characters and the story is simple it still feels well put together and flat out entertaining. Fast Five proves that this franchise still has some juice(or in this case NOS) left in it. This is a great action film that any fan of action movies, car films, or just sheer entertainment should check out.

Overall Score: 8

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