Film Review: FAST FIVE
I’m not gonna lie, FAST FIVE is the first film in the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise that I’ve seen. The disparity between myself and the Fast Fans was obvious when references to the past films came up. Additionally, unlike the fans, I expected to walk out of the movie theatre barrels blazing, hitting FAST FIVE on every major point, and end up satisfied with a snarky review written. I’m extremely pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and here’s why.
FAST FIVE is another in a long line of heist flicks… But with fast cars, sexy women, a Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson standoff, and all in Rio de Janeiro. Trains explode, a city is demolished, and a lot of people die in gunfire. Ludacris continues to prove that he’s a better actor than musician, and Tyrese Gibson is Tyrese Gibson. And that’s really all you need to know.
Fortunately, however, I like writing more than 150 words. 😉
As the story goes, the team of superfast car drivers (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar, and Matt Schultze) are together for one last gig, to steal $110,000,000 from a drug lord (Joaquim de Almedia) in Rio de Janeiro. All while being hunted by the Brazlilian mafia, the group is pursued by an elite federal agent (Dwayne Johnson), and no one is safe.
I like Vin Diesel as an actor, I have since “Pitch Black” more than ten years ago. I’ve never particularly understood the heat he’s taken in my social circles, I genuinely believe that Diesel can be fantastic in roles suited for him. That said, it is evident, to me, that his role in FAST FIVE was suited for him. He’s everything you’d want a lean, mean, driving machine to be. His dialogue could have been better, but that is fault of writer Chris Morgan, and is no way a knock on Vin Diesel.
Dwayne Johnson is another actor I like, who I feel tends to be grossly miscast (THE TOOTH FAIRY, really?). But he is an excellent badass (really badass) agent, and his character in FAST FIVE is surprisingly intense. Better yet is a brutal fight scene between him and Vin Diesel; Watching two gigantic men that could throw me across a football field, duke it out in hand to hand combat, is exceptionally intense. I honestly cringed in pain from the brutality of those two going at it.
Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris have a great dynamic in FAST FIVE. They play off each other really well, and I wager that, as characters, they had the best roles. Just their presence is entertaining, and as I touched on above, I think that Ludacris should stick to acting. That’s just me, tho. All that said, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, and Don Omar, were great in their respective roles and deserve mention. No one among the supporting cast is a slouch, which is a great thing.
Other than the script handed to Vin Diesel, the worst part of FAST FIVE were the leads opposite him, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster. If you know me, you know that I hate romance in film, especially when it seems to have no place. The relationship between Walker and Brewster’s characters (Yup, they’re a couple) has no place in the fast paced FAST FIVE, and above all, those two completely overact. Judging only by this film, I declare that Paul Walker belongs in TV dramas (Ouch).
Something that propped up FAST FIVE for me was the audience. The auditorium was packed (at a 10:30pm showing!), with almost every single seat taken. To some, that might lead to thoughts of asking for a refund—People can be profoundly annoying, and a whole auditorium of them can sometimes be nothing but trouble. But FAST FIVE runs in the same vein as SNAKES ON A PLANE, in that, the more energised the audience, the greater the experience for everybody. The enthusiasm expressed by the fans was phenomenal. Their collective entertainment energised me, and I honestly would think less of FAST FIVE had I been watching it alone.
Speaking of my audience experience, there was a kid behind me, who sounded like he was somewhere between seven and ten years old. His commentary throughout was extremely entertaining. There was one instance, where when a Christ statue panned across the screen, the kid shouted “Jesus!” If any adult pulled the shit this kid did, it’d fall flat. But that’s why I love kids, they give, bar none, the best commentary.
The bottom line is this. FAST FIVE is a really fun flick, and it’s definitely served best in theatres with the big screen and the big sound. This will be half the film at home, unless you have a sweet projector setup like I do (or a quality television). And if you want a similar “audience experience” to the one I had, see it while it’s still new, preferably tonight or tomorrow. FAST FIVE is definitely a fun film to see, regardless of the audience tho. And while I may not issue it a super-duper rating, make your decision based on what’s said above… Not the film-snob number I give it.
**Don’t read this last part if you’re a Fast Fan**
Expect a sequel.