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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fast and the Furious 5

That's right: 5! How the hell did that happen? 

From (Originally posted 5 May 2011)

What it's about

Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) and his crew of high speed criminals are back, this time they find themselves in Brazil trying to escape the attention of an ace FBI agent, all the while planning a high-risk heist to rip off the drug lord that wronged them.  

What we thought

Fast and the Furious 5 (Called Fast 5 in the US) ends with a bang. A lot of bangs, actually. In fact, I dare say that not since The Blues Brothers have we had such a gloriously destructive chase scene involving what must be an entire squad of police cars. Streets are decimated, buildings are trashed and, of course, cars are pummelled, pulverized and cast aside like so much garbage.

Unfortunately, before this gloriously grandiose demonstration of wanton destruction occurs, we have to suffer through 100-odd minutes of laughable attempts at drama, sad stabs at humour and enough macho posturing to have even the most ardent fans of FHM and Chicks, Guns and Tractors - or some such publication - reaching for their sick bags.

What we have here is obviously a meat-headed, nonsensical action flick that is far more interested in fast cars, big guns, ripped guys and impossibly sexy girls than things like story, dialogue and character but, since Fast 5 doesn't have the guts to truly embrace its own trashiness, a little bit of quality would go a long way. It doesn't need to be perfect but how hard would it have been to tighten up the script, dump the lame family drama, write some better jokes and whittle the blasted thing down from 130 minutes to something far more bearable? 

It could also have used some far, far better... not actors, necessarily but people with some actual screen presence and charisma. Duane Johnson is decent enough and some of the supporting actors are only slightly terrible but however well-built Paul Walker and Vin Diesel may be, they're desperately boring as action heroes. Where is the hilariously gruff Jason Statham when you need him? Or the former Governator of California, for that matter? As for the villain of the piece, well, he ain't no Hans Grueber that's for damn sure.

So, yes, there are some OK set-pieces along the way, I suppose, but my advice to anyone but the most faithful of Fast and the Furious acolytes is to buy your ticket, do something fun for a good hour and a half and then, and only then, head into Fast 5 for that final, terrifically entertaining half hour. Believe me; you'll be much better off for it.

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