In a pre-credit sequence, Vin Diesel’s character is sprung from a prison transport bus in extravagant fashion, by Paul Walker and friends, driving cars. It’s quite ridiculous. Ludicrous even. The result is an incident, no human could survive unharmed. At the end of scene however, everyone in the audience clapped.
Reviewing a film like Fast Five presents quite a conundrum. On the one hand, what you’re seeing on screen is not oscar-worthy material. To the contrary, it’s predictable and formulaic. There’s even a scene where the main characters list the roles the secondary characters play and spell out the plot. It’s lifted right out of “Heist Movies 101.” What’s worst is how absurd it all is. You don’t just suspend your disbelief. You have to leave it home, since there is nothing in the film to believe anyway. Not even the acting.
On the other hand, the “balls to the wall” absurdity of it all is why the franchise (this is the fifth Fast and Furious Film) is so beloved. Anyone who walks into a theatre showing Fast Five, expects to see insane car chases and over the top acting and action, and funny one liners and cheap jokes. It’s film as spectacle. Nothing else. No poignant moments and no life lessons learned. Just over the top, everything.
And in that department, the film succeeds. The cars are shiny and loud and fast. The chase sequences are eye candy, even though they’re impossible. Every one of them. The fights are the same. Larger than human people throw each other through cement and brick walls before anyone bleeds. Entire city streets get riddled with bullets, and no one essential to the plot is injured at all. But Fast Five is fully committed to it’s absurdity. Case and point. The Rock. Dwayne Johnson plays his character with the utmost integrity. Even though he has to say lines like, “Now gimme the veggies.” Commitment like this is downright charming.
But in no way can you buy the serious moments in this film. Because it’s all so insane and because you know that the heros (spoiler alert) live at the end and do so very well, watching dramatic moments in this movie is like waiting for a friend to get back from the bathroom so you can un-pause the DVD and watch the real action.
How well does Fast Five affect one emotionally, mentally? Does it accomplish what it set out to do? This film does, although affecting mental stimulation never seemed to be high on the priority list. It makes a good guilty pleasure movie though.
The grand finale would definitely have killed a lot of people in real life. This is far from real life. But if you liked Fast one through four, You’ll certainly like Fast Five. Grade: C.
Universal Pictures presents: “Fast Five.” Directed by Justin Lin. Written by Chris Morgan. Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges,
Matt Schulze, Sung Kang and Dwayne Johnson. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language. Running Time: 130 minutes.