A blog about movies and filmmaking.

Mission Friggin Insanity | FAST FIVE

In action on April 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

My history with the FAST & FURIOUS franchise is thus; I liked the first a lot, based on it’s cheesy updating of POINT BREAK and my undying love for Vin Diesel. I’ve never seen the second or third movies; and I thought that the fourth movie was pretty good too. Did I really see a need for another addition to the franchise? No, but then I’m also not living with the much-dwindled career of Diesel and his lesser co-stars.

But I’ll say this, FAST FIVE is better than SCRE4M.

The story picks up where (I vaguely remember) the last one leaving off. Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) has drifted (heh, get it? I’ll try to make that the only one.) away from the FBI; Dom (Diesel) has been incarcerated; and then the cars are busted out in order to free Dom on his way to prison. A giant set-piece of a bus flippingover dozens of times occurs (and luckily we’re told via news footage that “miraculously no one was injured.”)

Cut to Rio. With repeated helicopter shots swooping over their giant Jesus (Happy Easter!), and every Brazilian in the favelas carrying automatic weapons. We find Brian and Mia (Jordana Brewster), meeting up with a familiar face (that would be telling!) and signing up for another job.

To make this short – the job goes awry, our main crew wind up on the flip-side of some wanted posters (that’s from a line of dialogue. I don’t get it.) and come up with a plan to rip off the kingpin of Rio (played of course by Joaquim de Almeida). So, they’ll need a team – which will be drawn from the lead characters of all the other F&F movies that Diesel wasn’t in. Having not seen the middle movies, I knew these people were coming out for this trip, but I wasn’t as excited as the audience was I saw the movie with. Also, the seams really started to show on how the franchise has moved on from being the offspring of Point Break, to falling more in line with the OCEAN’S 11 and THE ITALIAN JOB franchises.

I know, so far I’m sounding pretty negative about the movie. I don’t mean to be. It’s big, loud, fun, and has some great great moments in it (though, most all of them belong to Dwayne “I’m not The Rock anymore” Johnson). It’s just, I’ve seen these movies; I’ve seen these performers in these roles; and I’ve seen dozens of cars and buildings be demolished. I was hoping for something a little more wowing. But, that’s my own issue and possibly too much to ask from a movie on it’s fifth outing. Plus, I just cannot buy two Dodge Chargers – of any variety – pulling a giant safe (it’s in the trailer, so F-off spoiler-police!) through the streets and swinging it around like happens here.

Anyway, the crux of the movie is “one last job” with a giant payday, and hopefully being off the radar of any law enforcement. Except the movie, pretty much lays out that there’s at least one more sequel that’s gotta be in the works.

As mentioned, the best character in the movie is Johnson’s Hobbs, the man tasked with ripping Brazil apart in order to find Dom and Brian. He spouts one-liners like chewing tobacco; runs around dripping more sweat than Niagara Falls and ruthlessly incapacitates people like snapping an Olive Garden breadstick. (Wait, their breadsticks are soft, aren’t they? Well, Johnson rips people’s heads off, like…see previous metaphor.) It’s his energy and missile-like focus on catching these guys that really brings the movie alive. He and his team – of ambiguous soldiers with big guns – add a lot more danger to the movie than I remember ever feeling before. During one battle scene, I honestly thought the only way this could get any crazier is if a PREDATOR showed up…None did, but still. Crazy.

I’ve always been a fan of Johnson’s and it’s this movie where he gets to be the most badass and in an equally badass movie – unlike FASTER which was pretty weak. The rest of the supporting cast – from Tyrese (am I supposed to use his last name) Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, and the gorgeous female components to the teams; Gal Gadot and Elsa Pataky; the bumbling brothers (?) Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar), who play the part that Scott Caan and Casey Affleck did in the Ocean’s movies – in total, all do a good job in their specific roles. They crack wise, drive around some, and look sexy…yes, even the guys.

FAST FIVE will make a bazillion dollars, I’m sure. And I don’t begrudge it, there should be fun, dumb summer action movie franchises. I just wasn’t really that wowed, or even surprised by what I saw on-screen. As over-the-top and crazy as it was. But thinking about it, I guess that was never really the purpose of these movies to begin with. At least everyone looked like they were having fun, and that’s what helped to make the whole movie feel that way.


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