January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 37°F


Fast cast returns for dynamic fifth film

Breaking the horrible sequel stereotype, “Fast Five” mixes first-and second-rate cinematic elements by pulling out all the stops but leaving the audience feeling like they’ve seen it all before.

Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), Dominic “Dom”  Toretto (Vin Diesel) and sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) reunite, topping the U.S. most wanted list for breaking Toretto out of prison. The three flee to Brazil and learn the only way they can be free is to steal from the powerful businessman Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), who runs a high-end drug cartel in Rio.

Secondary characters from the “Fast and Furious” series Matt Schulze, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kane and Gal Gadot join forces with the trio and pull off one final heist as a team.

While dealing with Reyes and his men, the team must also hide from FBI agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his fellow officers, who want to arrest the original trio for crimes committed in the U.S.

Debra Zane chose wisely when she cast Johnson for this role. From the way he walks to the way he flaunts his physical abilities, Johnson’s persona is perfect for this tough-guy character. He speaks every line with credibility and determination and redeems himself from the recent kiddy films on his résumé.

Johnson’s know-it-all demeanor is complemented and articulated by Diesel’s “go-get-’em” attitude and tough outer shell. Viewers will be happy to hear the long-awaited fight between Diesel and Johnson actually happens. But Diesel regains Johnson’s respect during a gruesome battle scene between Reyes’ men and others on the street.

After the most recent flops in the series, “Tokyo Drift” and “Fast & Furious,” director Justin Lin accelerates the action in the latest addition to this high-speed franchise. From the start of the film, the cars are fast, smooth and gorgeous. Toretto and O’Conner even reminisce about their street-racing days when they race the top team in Brazil for faster cars that will help the team escape the police. With more violence and faster car chases, “Fast Five’s” action tops the series’ other films.

Despite writer Chris Morgan’s attempts to rescue the plot with details such as Mia’s pregnancy, only the glitz and glamour of the hot rods rescues the fifth installment of this long-running series from becoming a total flop.

Good acting and nice cars cannot cover up the shaky plot lines throughout “Fast Five.” Just  15 minutes into the film, Dom and O’Conner fall from a bridge in an obviously fake stunt. From there, the mediocre plot deteriorates into almost nothing.

With little more than flashy cars and beefy men, “Fast Five” tries to prove itself in a world where romantic comedies rule the silver screen. The film fulfills its intentions by reestablishing the “Fast and Furious” franchise as movies that are here to stay. Viewers can only hope that “Fast & Furious 6,” which is already slated for production, will have a little more meat to it.

“Fast Five” was written by Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson, and directed by Justin Lin.

2 out of 4 stars