Movie Reviews

Review: Fast Five

fast_five_poster_031711Director:
Justin Lin

Cast:
Vin Diesel
Paul Walker
Dwayne Johnson
Jordana Brewster
Elsa Pataky
Tyrese Gibson
Gal Gardot
Ludacris

Synopsis:

Dominic Toretto and crew team up to take down a local drug lord in Rio de Janeiro as an elite team of federal agents hunt them down.

Review:

The Fast and the Furious series has been a very interesting one to say the least. I grew up watching the series from the beginning and I have to say that I was a fan. The first one is still one of my favorite action films and features many scenes that will probably be the closest we will ever get to another Mad Max film (unless this next sequel gets off the ground); the second was a harmless piece of fluff that kept the fun rolling, the third was simply a pointless entry in the series, and the fourth was a nice reunion for the stars of the original. Finally, we reach the fifth film in the series…and I have to say that this not only reboots the franchise but is also the best installment since the original. While the two are vastly different – the first gave us some eye-popping stunts and a decent story while the fifth gives us an all-out action flick – they both are very satisfying in their own right.

As I have said many times, I am a huge action junkie and will pretty much watch any film as long as it promises some fun action. This is exactly what makes these movies worth the ticket price. The script by Chris Morgan (Wanted) is easily the best we’ve seen since the first film, adding just the right amount of story intrigue and emotion to a film like this without bogging it down. My only real problem with this film is in its mid-section, where it relies too heavily on comic relief to move from scene to scene. Other than that, the script allows for many action scenes – chases, robberies, shootouts, beat downs, and some mind-boggling stunts that will make for some great DVD extras. While this is no Oscar-caliber script, it is exactly what audiences want from a summer flick. It also brings the series out of the street-racing scene and makes it into a more Ocean’s 11 type series focused around the heist aspect of the film. After the first film, the street-racing scene always felt like it was covered and there was no need to dive much more into that part of the characters’ lives – so this is a welcome change to the series.

I may sound like a broken record, but the action in this film is intense and very, very fun. From the opening train robbery to the final chase scene, Fast Five delivers on the goods for the bulk of the 130 minute running time. The stunts are fantastic and over-the-top while still seemingly done without any CGI, which is director Justin Lin’s greatest feat. I am not 100% sure that there is no CGI in the film concerning the action scenes, but I can say that I sure didn’t see any. The train robbery in the beginning of the film reminded me so much of The Road Warrior, and I couldn’t have been happier.

Overall, this is the fifth Fast & Furious movie, so you know what you are going into. Yes, this is easily the best sequel and arguably one of the best action films in the past 20 years, but don’t expect a deep or intelligent story. There are some nice twists and this is a crowd-pleaser, but this is truly an all-out action flick that is a perfect starter for what I hope is an action-packed summer at the movies.

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language

Runtime: 130 minutes

Grade: A-

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