Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Five

This was the best Fast and the Furious movie I've ever seen.

I'm just going to give you a minute to let my above claim sink in, since it will either mean nothing or everything, depending on how you feel about the whole franchise, which just released its fifth installment ten years after the original was released. It's kind of like if I said I just ate the best tuna noodle casserole I've ever had. If you love tuna noodle casserole, you would be a fool not to rush out to try that recipe. But if you don't care for it, well, the best would only be slightly more tolerable than the worst. This was my round about way of saying that I am a Fast and the Furious fan and thought this was the best one yet, but I realize that if you haven't liked or cared enough to see any of the others, this one won't offer much to change your mind.

Then again, maybe it will, because it was friggin' awesome. The Fast and the Furious franchise is a machine designed to give men (and, I guess, certain women) car chases, explosions, and hot hicks, and this film doesn't disappoint in that we get all of that, with the bonus being the fact that it's also very funny, very clever, and maybe even smart, so far as dumb action movies go. Director Justin Lin returns, after helming the past three films in the series, and he has worked it down to a science. Lin may in fact be the best director of car chases and action sequences currently working today, with every set piece in this film being just about the coolest thing I've ever seen.

The plot involves... ha ha, just kidding. I'm not going to talk about the plot, except to say that there is just enough of one to string the action sequences and car chases together, which is as it should be. If this film attempted to make some commentary on the human condition, I'd be annoyed. I came to watch car chases, explosions, and hot chicks, not experience the emotional turmoil of Raskolnikov. Actually, as far as these films go, Fast Five is something of an epic in comparison to the rest of the film, since it's the longest, has the biggest cast, and centers around a heist that actually requires the audience to keep track of certain elements. Kind of. I mean, the film layers different missions and sequences as the crew conduct this heist to steal $100 million from some drug dealer, but it all just ends with a long car chase anyway, so it's not like any of the little details were all that important anyway.

But enough about the story. Let's talk about the cast, since it's any FatF fan's dream come true. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Jordana Brewster return, who are the main stars of the franchise even though they have each come and gone during the course of the five movies. The leads plan a heist, which comes with the cliched (but always awesome) "assembling a crew" sequence," almost all of whom are characters from previous FatF films. Long time fans of the series will wet their pants as they watch the crew come together, featuring my all time favorite FatF character Han from Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious, Ludacris and Tyrese from 2 Fast 2 Furious, that one Spanish guy and that one hot chick from Fast and Furious, and Matt Shultze from the original The Fast and the Furious.

There's even a cameo from another previous FatF character, but you'll have to sit through the credits to see that, since I don't want to spoil it here. This was a big ensemble cast for a movie that is basically just a bunch of car chases strung together, but they were all given a lot to do, great lines, and even some attempts at character development. Tyrese was the audience's clear favorite, since every line of his had the entire theater cracking up. I hope he gets an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Fast and the Furious Movie. 

Even better than the returning fan favorite characters was the introduction of yet another character played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Rock plays a special forces operative sent to take down the stars of the film, before they can complete their heist to steal millions from some generic drug dealer. The Rock was one of the greatest personalities in the history of professional wrestling, but this was the first time his persona was fully utilized in a major motion picture in my opinion. It was as though one of the producers said, "Hey, we've got The Rock in our movie. Why don't we just let him play The Rock?" And the film is all the better for it, since he's hilarious, totally over the top, and completely bad ass. He steals every scene he's in and almost got as many laughs from the audience as Tyrese did. They should've just named his character Special Agent The Rock.

And, yes, The Rock and Vin Diesel fight. And, yes, it's awesome. It's long, it's over the top, and features they two men throwing each other through walls and pounding each other into cars. It's a great fight that's harmed only by the fact that it was filmed in a dark garage. Had I written this movie, I would've had the two guys fighting on the edge of a giant, erupting volcano or something. But, anyway, it was good stuff, and while I won't tell you who wins, I'm fairly certain Vin Diesel has something in every contract that states he's never allowed to lose or show any weakness at all ever. And that's why he's awesome.

If I have any complaints at all about this film, it's that the main villain was totally boring and that there actually weren't enough car chases, all things considered. There were a lot of cars, almost all of which went really fast at all times, but there could've been a few more races thrown in. There was actually only one real car chase in the entire movie, and it was at the end during the big finale. It was amazing, however, ranking as one of the best car chases I've ever seen. But still... I wanted a little more car chases and little less gun fights. But all in all, this was still an exceptional action film, and certainly the best film in the entire series, at least since the original.

Just go see it. It was awesome.

1 comment:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

"Had I written this movie, I would've had the two guys fighting on the edge of a giant, erupting volcano or something."

I'm cracking up. That would be awesome.

Damn, I wish I could go see this movie.