Star-Lord and Rocket

Saturday, April 30, 2011

FAST FIVE starts the summer movie season off with a bang

The deliriously over-the-top Fast Five kick starts the 2011 summer movie season and is just the right movie to pump some serious adrenaline into a struggling movie season. Picking up right where Fast and Furious left off, street racing legend Dominic Torreto (once again played by Vin Diesel) is in custody and on his way to federal prison. His escape is engineered by ex-cop now fugitive Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) and Dom's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). After a sensational bus flipping scene that springs Dom from incarceration, the trio flee to Rio to plan their next move.
Which involves Dom's former crew member Vince (Matt Schulze) who has a plan to steal some sports cars off a moving train, which sets up another unbelievable high octane sequence. Things don't go smoothly as three DEA agents on board are killed in the crossfire and Dom and friends become Fugitives Most Wanted. They also have to deal with the crime boss of Rio who wants a chip that was in one of the cars. That chip contains information worth over $100 million.
The FBI send their top dog, a no holds barred agent named Hobbes (played with unrestrained gusto by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson). His performance is all fire and brimstone and he always gets his man. He gives the film much of it's super charged kick. So while evading Hobbes, Dom and Brian call in all their friends for one final job to take down Reyes, the kingpin of Rio. Which means welcome returns from former Fast And Furious stars such as Tyrese, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Gal Gadot. It's cool seeing the entire franchise gang in one film as lots of memories surface and old friends get re-acquainted. There is a surprising amount of depth in this sequel as lots of tension and secrets come out. But don't worry, it doesn't skimp on the action either. There is a cool rooftop chase above the streets of Rio involving the leads and there is one helluva throw down between Diesel and The Rock. The blows they trade are unbelievable and it is one of the best fight scenes ever captured on film.
There is a spectacular ambush sequence that will remind you of Clear and Present Danger as Hobbes and his team are under fire by Reyes men. If that scene doesn't get your adrenaline going then nothing will. Newcomer to the series is Elsa Pataky as a local cop who assists Hobbes in the pursuit of Torreto and O'Conner but starts to think more is going that what appears.
One of the trademarks of this series is a street race scene and this film has a beaut as Dom, Brian, Roman and Han race police chargers a quarter mile to see who is the best once and for all. It's a nice homage to the entire series in that one scene and I won't spoil it by telling you who wins it.
The climax is a ridiculous scene that has Dom and Brian pulling a vault down the streets of Rio with two police chargers being pursued by the entire police force. Is it over the top? Yes. Is it fun and exciting? Hell yes! And by going old school with actual driving and stunt work instead of CGI, things are better appreciated. Fast Five is one hell of a ride that will not disappoint fans.  Also look for the always cool 1970 black Charger to make an appearance. I just can't believe this is number five in this wildly popular series. I can remember like yesterday when the original Fast and Furious came out 10 years ago like it was yesterday. And while this one wraps everything up nice and neat, they do leave the door open for a possible sixth one. I'm game for it.
B+

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