‘Fast Five’ goes faster, harder and crazier
Sequels, especially those that don’t follow chronological order, are tenuous at best. Thankfully, we don’t have that issue with “Fast Five,” the latest addition to the “Fast and Furious” franchise, as the director and writer must have had only one thought during production: “Screw continuity. And physics. And reality in general. Oh, but more EXPLOSIONS! And lots of fighting! And guns! And lots of fighting with guns that result in EXPLOSIONS! The plot? Eh. Throw something about family and God in there, and we’re solid.”
And you know? “Fast Five,” for what it was (a testeosterone-driven, gear-grindin’ adventure), was solid. With nonstop action, beautiful cars, even more beautiful women and some self-deprecating humor thrown into the mix, “Fast Five” shows that bigger can sometimes be better, no matter how preposterous the situation becomes.
“Fast Five,” directed by Justin Lin (“Fast & Furious,” “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”) and written by Chris Morgan, is the fifth installment in the series, though only third chronologically. The story begins in a furious rush, with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) returning to the fray to free Dom (Vin Diesel) from being transported to prison. And yes, it involves cars, explosions and lots of suspended disbelief.
After reuniting and then fleeing to Rio de Janeiro, the three immediately engage in illicit activities, trying to rob a moving train of, you guessed it, some stunningly jaw-dropping cars. But after returning home from the carnage that ensued (which seems to follow them like a plague), they set their eyes on a much bigger prize: $10 million belonging to the crime overlord of Rio, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). But they can’t do it alone. So, in “Ocean’s Eleven”-style, Dom and Brian request the help of the movie’s other key players (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Tego Calderón, Don Omar and Gal Gadot) to pull off this grandiose heist, in an effort to buy their freedom.
The plan, however, is interrupted by the colossus that is Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a brutal powerhouse federal agent who shoots first and asks question later. His mission: to capture Dom and Brian and return them to the States, by whatever means necessary.
The rest of the story explodes in a choatic barrage, going from the classic street racing to dragging a safe through Rio and causing mass destruction along the way.
As with the previous “Fast and Furious” movies, this version is only skin-deep. However, this time around it’s a perfect example of how moviemaking can be geared toward a particular demographic and be overwhelmingly successful. It’s an clever blend of action, danger, humor and sex, with just a hint of storytelling, that moves at a breakneck pace.
And the addtion of the self-deprecating humor, which tells the audience this movie is not meant to be taken all that seriously, is a welcome reprive from the previous installments.
Again, take “Fast Five” at face vaule. You’re not getting “M” here, but what you will get is enough destruction, excitement and absurdity to keep you watching unti the end.
P.S. — Stay through the credits. It’s totally worth it.
Three “That’s too fast!” stars out of five.