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Fast Five

A movie directed by Justin Lin

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Put the Pedal to the Metal

  • May 1, 2011
Star Rating:

There’s not a brain at work in any of Fast Five’s two and a half hours, but it goes through them with such reckless abandon that I simply couldn’t tear myself away. As was the case with the first four films, it’s a high-octane, pedal-to-the-metal thrill ride in which story plays second fiddle to stunts, almost all of them involving cars. I would, of course, prefer a film in which an effort was made with plot and character development. At the same time, I can’t deny the considerable craft that went into the action sequences; watching the cars as they flipped, crashed, flew, and instantly turned tight corners was, in its own adrenaline-pumping way, like watching a well-choreographed ballet recital. It was hypnotic. I’m usually immune to mind-numbing action, but for the first time in ages, I put my rational brain on autopilot and just enjoyed the film for what it was.
It begins with former FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) leading an assault on the prison transport bus carrying Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel). They free him by using their cars to flip the bus over. I don’t mean that it turns on its side and drags along the pavement for a few hundred feet; it actually does slow-motion summersaults in mid air before crashing upside down in spectacular fashion. No one would have been able to survive this, but never mind. Brian and Dom – along with Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster), also Brian’s girlfriend – flee to Rio de Janeiro. After taking part in an impossible but spectacular car heist from the side of a moving train, they cross paths with a corrupt Brazilian businessman named Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), who has made millions in illicit business activities. They decide to take on the proverbial Last Job and steal all of Reyes’ money.

A robbery of this magnitude requires a specialized team. Here enters incidental characters played by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderón, and Don Omar, who each have an area of expertise. Many of them are little more than comedy relief; Calderón and Omar in particular bicker as if they were a married couple (and in two languages, no less). Bridges and Gibson have a few amusing scenes together, and they can always be counted on for a wiseass remark. There’s also some sexual tension between Kang and Gadot, in large part because of the stark contrast between the latter’s flagrant feminine assets and the former’s complete lack of sex appeal. Perhaps there’s also something darkly humorous about the fate of Kang’s character in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – which, chronologically, takes place after the events of this film. But why am I even suggesting that anyone will much care about chronology?
Hot on Dom and Brian’s trail is DSS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a deadly serious, hulking gorilla of a man who’s hilariously Valjean-esque in his determination. He’s partnered with a local cop named Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky), who was selected because of her resolve and her honesty, which are apparently rare qualities in Brazilian law enforcement. I’ll have to take their word for it; I’ve never been to Brazil. She has something in common with Dom: They’ve both lost someone near and dear to them. Because of this, he believes she’s capable of understanding his motives. I bring this up because of an appropriate but highly unlikely alliance made in the latter half of the film; only in movies like this do such things happen. Maybe that’s why we love them so much.

There isn’t much in this movie in the way of illegal street racing, but there is a breathtaking car chase near the end involving Dom, Brian, and Reyes’ money vault, which they have tethered to their cars. Because they constantly make hairpin turns, the vaults repeatedly swings around loosely like a pendulum, leaving glorious destruction in its wake. And just wait until you see the pileup of police cars on the Rio-Niterói Bridge – which, now that I think of it, seemed miraculously deserted. Strange, given a city notorious for its traffic congestion. Oh, but there I go again, using my brain. I have to keep reminding myself that action movies aren’t supposed to play by the rules.
Some action movies are so thoroughly cheerless and unexciting that they seem to exist primarily to be made fun of. What’s praiseworthy about Fast Five is that the actors and filmmakers were smart enough to not take the material seriously. It’s a film to surrender yourself to; either you suspend disbelief, or you go home. There really isn’t anything I can say about the story or the performances since that really isn’t what the film is about. All we’re meant to focus on is the stunt work and the special effects, and believe you me, they were both quite impressive. And now that I’ve taken a mental break, I think it’s time I get back into the real world. All good things must come to an end.


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May 01, 2011
Heh. I had fun with this one, and I wondered the same thing about the Han character...wasn't he supposed to be dead? This was a stunt display and was real fun; I was also impressed that they mostly used real cars in those stunts. I gave it a 3.5/5 but I am still debating if I should round it up. It is really fun and entertaining. Great review!!
May 01, 2011
Go ahead, round up your rating. Even escapist action films can be praiseworthy.
May 01, 2011
Done. LOL!!
More Fast Five reviews
review by . April 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Utterly Impossible, Ridiculous Nonsense Done...Right?!
I really don’t know how to say this. I thought the first “The Fast and The Furious” was alright; sure it wasn’t anything special but I thought it was fun. The first sequel was a step backward, (I thought went north with the absence of Diesel) and while I thought “Tokyo Drift” gave Asian Drift-Racing (Hello, “Initial D” the anime series) its overdue tribute, it sure was uninspired when it came to storytelling. The third sequel was a horrible disappointment …
review by . November 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Usually the more movies in a series the worse they get as it progresses, the fast and the furious is obviously not following this trend. This is by far the most action packed, fast paced movie yet. Though nothing can replace the origional in my heart, this one is a photo finish for second place. Its uncommon for me not to find negative things to say about a movie but im actually having problems here. Everything that flawed the previous fast and the furious films was repaired and upgraded for this …
review by . April 18, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Fast Five... an adrenaline rush that everyone will enjoy
When I first heard about The Fast and the Furious I thought "Great, just what we need.  Fast cars, booze, drugs and half naked women."  Well, it has been 10 years since the first Fast film and I'm sorry to say they have won me back as a fan.  Truth is I was only a fan of the first two films as I felt Tokyo Drift and Fast & Furious were pretty much pointless, but I will go on record saying that Fast Five is the BEST FILM in the franchise... so far.      …
review by . April 28, 2011
                Vin Diesel and the entire crew come back with some serious vengeance in this latest installment of The Fast and Furious franchise.  This time they bring everybody back, and we are talking mostly every key character from the previous four films plus a couple of new ones.  FAST FIVE is ready to hit theaters everywhere Friday, April 29 and to be frank – audiences better be ready for a 130 minute …
review by . May 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      When I first saw the first movie of this series, I said to myself "Yes, Julian, good entertainment like never before". After all these years, Fast Five is promoted as being the last one, the grand finale, the ultimate conclusion to the story of our horse-power rider heroes. Fast Five detach itself from the racing plague and transforms into another heist movie which bring nothing new except a few really entertaining chase scenes. So where to begin?   …
review by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   12A - 130mins - Action/Crime/Drama - 21st April 2011    The latest in the Fast and Furious franchise has recently hit the screens and what with the others being a good way to spend a few hours I was hoping for a similar type of movie from this one with plenty of great cars and car chases to boot.      Set after Fast & Furious (No. 4) but before The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (No. 3), this time the action is played out in Rio, Brazil after Dominic …
review by . April 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Fast Five' 'Two Jews On Film' Drive In Different Directions With Number 5 In This Franchise (Video
Fast Five' directed by Justin Lin is number Five in the 'Fast and the Furious' franchise.       The film continues where 'Fast and Furious' left off...Dominic (Vin Diesel) is sentenced to twenty five years in prison for murder. Of course, his good friend and ex cop, Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Dom's sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) have different plans for him...      Let's just say this involves a really big bus crash, …
review by . May 08, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I watched “The Fast and the Furious” some years ago, and found it to be pretty stupid and mildly entertaining, but not enough to compel to me keep up with the all the sequels since then.  I just don’t get that excited about muscle-y guys or muscle-y cars.  So I can’t say much about all the other FF movies out there, but I’ll go ahead and go out on a limb: this one’s better than any of them. Or maybe I just think it’s better because it’s …
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Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #2
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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About this movie


Former cop Brian O'Conner partners with ex-con Dom Toretto on the opposite side of the law. Since Brian and Mia Toretto broke Dom out of custody, they've blown across many borders to elude authorities. Now backed into a corner in Rio de Janeiro, they must pull one last job in order to gain their freedom. As they assemble their elite team of top racers, the unlikely allies know their only shot of getting out for good means confronting the corrupt businessman who wants them dead. But he's not the only one on their tail. Hard-nosed federal agent Luke Hobbs never misses his target. When he is assigned to track down Dom and Brian, he and his strike team launch an all-out assault to capture them. But as his men tear through Brazil, Hobbs learns he can't separate the good guys from the bad. Now, he must rely on his instincts to corner his prey... before someone else runs them down first.Written by Universal Pictures  
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Director: Justin Lin
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: 29 April 2011 (USA)
Runtime: 130 minutes
Studio: One Race Productions
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