Review: "Fast Five" – Big, Dumb Fun

By: Heather Seebach

Let's face it - nobody watches these movies for meaningful themes or winning dialogue. We only want fast cars, hot women, and ridiculous stunts. The latest in the franchise, Fast Five, delivers exactly that. It combines everything fans loved about the original movie plus the exciting heist elements of films like The Italian Job or Ocean’s Eleven. In a rare case among sequels, this film is arguably the best of the bunch. Where the first movie was a Point Break wannabe, Fast Five distinguishes itself and leaves all its predecessors in the dust (har har).

Picking up where the prequel Fast and Furious left off, this sequel has Dom (Vin Diesel) en route to jail but of course he is sprung by his loyal colleague, Brian (Paul Walker) and sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster). After a job in Rio de Janeiro goes south, the trio goes on the run from frighteningly large federal agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Also on their tail is a corrupt businessman from whom they took an important electronic chip. Determined to get him before he gets them, our heroes assemble a team of old acquaintances to pull off an impossible heist.

The filmmakers have made the wise decision of moving the franchise away from being just drag-racing movies for a culture of import car enthusiasts, and expanded it into something bigger. Now the hot cars supplement the main focus of the film which, in this case, is a $100 million heist. We get sexy cars, Brazilians in bikinis, fist fights, car chases, and a calculated heist. Basically, it is every action fan’s wet dream. Director Justin Lin does a decent job as an action director, and thankfully the movie does not resort to cheap CGI.

Fans of the series should get a kick out of Fast Five’s cast. Like a Fast and Furious franchise reunion, characters from each of the previous films are brought back – some of whom are dead (FYI, this is a prequel to Tokyo Drift). Seeing all the familiar faces is a pleasant surprise. Additionally, joining the cast is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who kicks major ass. Unfortunately, there is a middle chunk of the movie where he is MIA, but when Hobbs shows up, it is worth the wait.

Do not expect the dialogue to be any less cheesy, or Walker’s acting to be any less wooden. Let’s be realistic here. Then again, those aspects are part of the franchise’s charm - or the charm of any big-budget, explosive action movie, for that matter. Fast Five is comparable to the better works of Michael Bay (like Bad Boys 2) – perfect it is not, but it is loud and proud; dumb and fun.

out of 5

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