Fast Five (Review)

FAST FIVE
(4/29/11; Action)
[aka FAST AND THE FURIOUS 5: RIO HEIST]
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Joaquim de Almeida, Dwayne Johnson
SCR: Chris Morgan
DIR: Justin Lin
MPAA: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language.
2 hours 10 mins
BOX: $198,556.076

Picking up where 2009’s Fast and Furious (Part 4) left off, former cop Brian O’Conner (Walker) and girlfriend Mia (Brewster) bust Dominic (Diesel) out of a prison transport van and head to Rio de Janeiro. With ridiculously beefed-up federal agent Hobbs (Johnson) hot on their trail, they take a job to steal three hot cars from a moving train, a cool sequence that ends badly for Dom and Brian (not to mention some cops).

They also run afoul of Reyes, the city’s biggest drug lord, a guy who expresses his feelings by shooting rocket-propelled grenades at them. As opposed to high-tail it to another continent, they decide to steal $100 million of Reyes’ money (from a police station. Don’t ask). To do so, they assemble a dream team, calling in F&F favorites including Tej (Bridges), Roman (Gibson), Han (Kang) and Gisele (Gadot) for “one last job.”

It all comes down to the inevitable sweaty mano-a-mano smackdown between Diesel and Johnson, which is so unintentionally homoerotic, one might be tempted to scream, “Get a room!”

The action is absurd, but that’s okay. You don’t come to a Fast and Furious movie for the intellectual stimulation. Action fans shouldn’t be too surprised to find the series has fallen into Lethal Weapon sequel territory by combining a bloated cast with a wicked sentimental streak to offset all the violence (killing cops and destroying half of Rio).

Prior to the release of Fast Five, the producers announced that it was a “transitional” film: Universal plans transform the street-racing franchise into a series of heist films. Danny Ocean, watch your back! (Universal)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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