Sunday, 24 April 2011

'Fast Five' Review

'Fast Five' (dir: Justin Lin, 2011), Cert: 12A

Yes, it's back. Honestly, I'm not lying. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker return for the fifth picture in the 'Fast and Furious' franchise. Fast cars, beautiful women and men in far too tight t-shirts seems to be a winning recipe and director Justin Lin is taking full advantage of it. This will be his third feature in the series and it's clear he's trying to shake off the horror that was 'The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift' (2006). This film sees some old faces and indeed new ones, and with it's pretty long running time of 130 minutes, it needs a lot more than bikinis and muscle cars.

Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and Brian O'Conner (Walker) team up once again to pull off a huge heist in Rio De Janeiro in which they plan to rob the city's biggest drug lord. However in order to succeed in this massively complex and dangerous task, they are going to need a lot of help. They gather a crack team including Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges). But whilst they are planning this ginormous robbery, FBI federal agent Hobbs (Dwanye Johnson) and his team are plotting to bring Toretto and O'Conner to justice.

 The first thing that struck me about 'Fast Five' was the reviews; like usual I expected critics to bash this movie to kingdom come but I was surprised to see the amount of positivity regarding it, even from some of the harshest journalists, but I can understand why because actually, this is a very good film indeed. There seems to be so much more to it than the odd Dodge Viper and some cheesy rap music; it's almost as if Lin and his crew have sat down and actually thought about ways in changing and indeed improving this franchise. Nothing feels rushed, or forced upon, nothing feels empty or misplaced; it feels like it's own individual feature and I think that's great.

 The direction is wonderful and presents skill, passion and energy; seeing as this is Lin's third outing, it's obvious he understands the environment and world of these movies but here he has broken old traditions and has turned down some of the absurdity. There isn't as many semi-naked women, or one-liners; he's found that balance between ridiculous fun and sensibility. I'm not saying this film is 'grown-up' because it's not - it still has silly dialogue and impossible scenarios, but the tone and processes of the movie seems more thought-out and calculated.

Still from 'Fast Five' (dir: Justin Lin, 2011)
 As previously mentioned, this film is long but it's doesn't drag through it's duration. It's well paced, well timed and works with flurries of action, racing and activity, as well as decent dialogue and character development sequences. There isn't an explosion every 30 seconds, but there's more than enough carnage for any pyromaniac. This film also allows new viewers to enjoy without worrying about past pictures; if you haven't seen any of the previous four, still see this one.

 The performances overall are good. Diesel and Walker do their day jobs and roll along quite nicely. Brewster is given a bit more of an emotional scope but she handles it well and fails to let it bother her tough exterior. Gibson provides essential laughs and Bridges contributes too. I have a bit of a soft spot for Dwanye 'The Rock' Johnson; I find him rather endearing for a gigantic cocktail of bronzer and steriods, so I was pleased to see him cast in this movie. He like all the other cast members are well within their comfort zones but that's where they work best so why bother trying to change it?

 'Fast Five' does more than what it says on the tin; you get the traditional racer picture with the hot chicks, pulsating action and the throbbing music, but you also get a decent and well-pitched story, exquisite direction and above all, a solid evening of entertainment. It surprised and massively impressed me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gallons of testosterone, fuel and muscle mixed with crafty camerawork and an engaging narrative. 'Fast Five' isn't just a pleasant surprise, it's a generally great movie.

By Chris Haydon

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, sorry, no. Can't agree in the least. Acting, wooden. Cast, lame. Plot, ludicrous. Cast, Ludicris. One badly filmed race and one HORRIBLY filmed chase scene stolen from Bad Boys II(which was bad II, boy to begin with) do not make a good movie. Anyone who didn't see the brotherly betrayal or the Dwayne joining up coming down the 5 meter wide pipeline needs some Palin 'noculars, cuz maybe she could have seen a good movie from her porch, but I couldn't from the 10th row.