Fast Five (2011) – Action | Drama
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel and Paul Walker
Review by Eric Scot Lemons
So, I decided a while back to review the entire franchise of The Fast and The Furious as a joke. I had always heard they were fun films and seem to be very popular with fans of action flicks, but my Satan, these have turned into a spectacle to behold. What started out as a joke film about street racers and car stereo boosters has become international espionage and heist films that stand beside some of the best in cinema. This is all hyperbole, but fucking christ these are cool ass flicks.
Fast Five is the first in the series not to open on women in booty shorts and skirts standing around neon painted, over-sized remote control cars. No, this one opens on a gang of fucking best friends forever racing after the jailhouse bus that Dom is cruising in. They figure, what better way to get our friend out of jail than fucking crashing his goddamn bus along interstate. Well, it worked. And Dom is a free man. They kick sand down to Rio or some other country ran by a despot with a Spanish accent, and proceed to do what they do best: fuck shit up for rich amoral dudes. They decide to assemble a team of recognizable stars from the other films, including Tyrese, who has apparently grown out of his shirtless phase, and Luda who has apparently grown out of his manic, wisecracking leprechaun shtick.
Everyone is a happy family taking down drug dealers, until BAH BAH BAAAAH. The Dwayne The Motherfucking Rock Johnson shows up as some kind of law enforcement agent hellbent on catching the Torretto clan, as well as the crazy bad guy. When a film relies so heavily on a muscle-bound brown bald dude, what better way to up the ante than adding another one. Seriously though, there were times when the characters were running away from the camera and I couldn’t tell if it was Vinny D or The People’s Elbow. So the whole thing about this movie is they are trying to steal money from the druglord, but the druglord knows they are coming so he hides the vault in a police station. HEIST TIME, Y’ALL!!
Things get fucking boring for a while when you get like three fucking heist preparation montages backed by witty banter, and Ludacris has somehow become a fucking hacker tech genius. You do see the budding relationship between the new best character in the F&F, a Korean driver from Tokyo Drift (weird, right?) named Han. What is Han’s last name, you ask. Seoul-Oh. Not kidding they named the Korean badass and all around sexy man tiger, Han Seoul-Oh. That’s some next level shit. But Han Seoul-Oh is developing a romance with Gal Gadot and it is saucy.
The stunts were fucking insane throughout, but as seems to be the way with F&F films, the most exciting stunts occur in the first third, despite the fact that we are quarter-miles away from the climax. Like there’s this part where Paul Walker RIP is stuck on a train and Dom has to drive next to the train speeding toward a bridge. Paul Walker RIP jumps just in time and they drive into the water. It is cooler when you see it, trust me. The final stunt is one where they attach the vault to two cars and drag it through the fucking city using it as a wrecking ball, wiping out corrupt cops, or as we call them in America, cops. At one point, it looks like one of the bad guys has the drop on the two cars when all of a sudden it is taken out by, you guessed it, Han fucking Seoul-Oh, like Han Solo in Star Wars! Ah shit, it is really amazing.
The film is by far the best of the series, and the addition of The Rock gives it a sense of gravity and seriousness that has been missing. Jordana Brewster is still in this one and she sucks and looks like she’s had plastic surgery. Vin Diesel weirdly has huge pecs and a huge tummy. But I ain’t complaining.