Let’s just go ahead and get a few things out of the way. I am not an action flick kind of guy. I’ve never really gotten butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of the newest Jean-Claude Van Damme or Bruce Willis summer film. I’ve always sort of played for the team that focused more on intelligent script writing, fully thought out environments and unique characters played by deeply talented actors and actresses instead of million dollar projects distracting their viewers from plot conflicts and overacting with shaky camera effects and digitally enhanced explosions. With that said however, Fast Five, the latest installment in The Fast and the Furious franchise caught me a little off guard, managing to do both.
This is probably because Fast Five seems to take more of an Oceans Eleven approach to the film, rather than simply heading down the avenue of Gone in Sixty Seconds. Quickly summarized, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) has been strapped with a ball and chain of 25 years hard time with no possibility of parole. However, Dom’s sister Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) and her hubby Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) deem this utterly unacceptable and devise a plan to intercept their convicted pal. The pair ambush the prison bus, intercept Dom and haul ass to the Mexican border (as all great escape plans require). Penniless and practically starving in Rio de Janeiro, Brian and Mia decide to do one more “easy” job with proceeds going to the “we shouldn’t starve to death” fund. However, when the job goes array they (in the company of Dom) find themselves hiding and hunted by both the FBI and the crooked bosses they’ve angered.
Annoyed by the corrupt businessmen after their heads, Dom and Brian form a “bastard with the heart of gold” type plan that falls somewhere between the regions of bitter revenge and a quest for eternal freedom from the life of crime. The guys call in a team of skilled criminals and form a heist second to none. Yet, while that alone borders on impossible, Federal Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a the Rock) throws a wrench (and a right hook) into their plans. Determined to track down Dom, Hobbs brings an all out blitz at the heist team causing them to not only be talented, but shifty and crafty.
Overall I found very little to complain about in this film. Considering my above rant regarding action films this almost borders on a compliment. Chances are that the average fan of this type of film will simply eat it up. The truth is that the film’s scenes are rather well thought out and will easily capture and retain most viewer’s attention. While the film’s stunts are present (and fairly well done) they are not obnoxiously overused or crammed down the audience’s throat. They’re balanced quite nicely with the comic relief of Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris and the emotional side stories of Jordana Brewster and newcomer Jeirmarie Osorio, giving the film enough shifts to not become overwhelming or bogged down by drama. There are honestly as many laughs as crashes and the film’s signature race scenes almost take a backseat to the story lines and plots. Honestly, as unbelievable as it might seem, this film has a little bit of something to offer everyone. Don’t expect it to be in the running for any Oscars come red carpet time, but the film isn’t a bad way to spend a Friday night.
I give Fast Five 3 “Tricked Out Nissan Skylines” out of 5
by Joshua Hammond