Monday, May 16, 2011

Fast Five

Directed by Justin Lin.
2011. Rated PG-13, 130 minutes.
Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
Jordana Brewster
Dwayne Johnson
Tyrese Gibson
Elsa Pataky
Matt Schultze
Sung Kang
Gal Gadot
Joaquim de Almeida

Right away Fast Five lets us know what type of movie we’re in for. One of our heroes, Dominic Toretto (Diesel) is sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole. Since it would be a waste to have one of our stars sitting in a cell for two hours, this calls for a daring escape attempt. As Toretto is being transported to prison on a bus with a bunch of other inmates, Brian (Walker) and his girlfriend/Dominic’s sister Mia (Brewster) show up right on cue to rescue their guy from the clutches of the law. Basically, their plan is to use their supped up sports cars to cause the bus to flip about half a dozen times, pull Dom from the wreckage and speed off. Huh? We couldn’t come up with a better idea than hoping everyone on board doesn’t die when we try to kill them? When you see the bus tumble you just know there have to be massive fatalities. Yet, the new anchor reporting the spectacular event informs us, “Amazingly, no one was killed.” Toretto and pals ride off into the sunset. Cue opening credits. This is your chance to make a break for it. Leave now, and spare yourself two hours of pure retardedness. Or, sit and enjoy the unrelenting display. Having plunked down twenty bucks on a Mother’s Day treat for the wife, I chose the latter. Yes, she picked the movie. Why? Are you kidding? Vin Diesel and The Rock in one flick? She couldn’t possibly resist that much man in one place at one time. I can’t blame her.

Speaking of The Rock, he plays the federal agent tasked with hunting down our favorite fugitives from the law and rocking a cool goatee. He’s sort of like Tommy Lee Jones’s character in The Fugitive, only with the ability to lift my Ford Explorer and that goatee. I may be exaggerating, but that thing is so cool it should’ve been listed in the credits as a separate character. Anyhoo, he and his crew have tracked our heroes down to Rio de Janeiro.

In need of money, Brian meets up with old pal Vince (Schultze) from the original The Fast and the Furious and decides to help him out on a train robbery. Yup, a train robbery. Of course, they’re stealing cars off of this train. Don’t you know what movie we’re watching? Predictably, things don’t go quite as planned. In fact, they go craptacularly wrong. They wind up with a car that the most evil and powerful man in all of Rio wants very badly. This basically means he tries to kill them to get his hands on the thing. To solve this problem our crew, who still have no money since they haven’t been paid for the botched job, launch an operation that looks to have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not a million. This includes calling up people from other F and F movies and getting them down to Rio. It’s like they had a movie budget stashed away, or something. Not to mention, they have to deal with The Goatee catching up with them every so often and trying to drag them back to the US to face multiple charges.

As expected, we eventually get a knock-down, drag out fight between The Goatee and Vin Diesel. According to everything I’ve read on the internet, the combination of the ridiculous amounts of testosterone and machismo possessed by these two men should’ve resulted in a mix so volatile the universe would instantaneously implode once the first punch landed. Only those of lucky enough to be hiding in Chuck Norris’s beard would be safe. Luckily, we survived this potentially cataclysmic event to get to what is perhaps the most supercalifragilisticexpealidopeycoolstupid chase of all time. I’ll just say that, in terms of realism, I’m not sure if its more or less so than the A-Team trying to fly a tank in their movie.

I can’t blame anyone who hates this movie. The dialogue of the main characters is largely made up of them barking at one another. The supporting cast does provide some humor. Story-wise, there are so many gaping plotholes I accidentally dropped my over-priced tub of popcorn into one. They even create a plothole on the way out of theater. When the end credits roll, stick around through the end of the first song and see what the next F and F will be about. Will they call that one Fast Six? What about the series chronology? If Tokyo Drift has yet to happen yet, like they keep telling us, how exactly does our crew know Han? This gives us the best in-joke of the movie. Brian and Mia often talk about going Tokyo after pulling off the big job they’re working on because they don’t have extradition. When Han is asked about Tokyo, he says “We’ll get there, eventually.” How bad is TD that the rest of the franchise keeps distancing itself from it?

Let’s get back to this particular installment. As I said, there’s lots of yelling. There is also plenty of gunfire, fighting and of course, cars doing things I don’t think cars can do. Lest you get the wrong idea, I loved every single minute of this crap. It’s so bad, it’s awesome!

MY SCORE: -10/10

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