Here we have the fifth entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast Five. Can you believe its already been allowed to get this far? Though I suppose writing a movie about cars going fast is not particularly hard. Throw in a race, a chase, and a shoestring plot and you have yourself another one of these films. It follows this formula to the letter and surprisingly does thrill a little bit, although not entirely in the way they expected. However, for a film that’s this bare-boned, you know there’s going to be a few problems.
It begins with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) on his way to jail, but of course his old team, including Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster), have other plans and they bust him out. Almost immediately they get their first job in Rio, where they plan to steal some cars off of a moving train. This job results in them finding a chip that lists the financial holdings of the biggest crime boss in Rio, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida).
In typical movie fashion, they plan “one last job” that, if successful, will mean stealing $100 million. In order to accomplish this, the team brings in several experts in various areas. However, the job becomes even more complicated after an initial hit on one of Reyes’s operations causes him to move all of his money into the Rio police station where it sits inside a vault guarded by handprint recognition technology and several tons of steel. This, of course, doesn’t deter them in the least as they are quite determined to move on with their lives. Meanwhile, a special officer, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been assigned to apprehend them and his determination is no less than theirs.
A film like this is going to depend majorly upon its action sequences, how frequent they are, and how well done they are. It’s highly doubtful people are going to see this because they expect a riveting story or characters that are fully-rounded. They want cars zooming by at top speeds with an explosion every now and again. Looking at the action sequences themselves, there’s one major one at the beginning and another one at the end. There are some sparse action sequences in the middle, but there’s not really enough to them to call them full-blown action scenes.
This already shows that there isn’t enough action in the film, and when it’s dependent on these scenes, the filmmakers are only hurting their film. The opening scenes are exciting, and in a way promise that the film will be non-stop excitement, but this simply isn’t so. After the thrilling train job, which involves yanking two cars onto a tow truck from a moving train and then escaping, the film slows down in order to fill us in on the characters.
As mentioned earlier, the characters are not the kind you’re going to care about, so as to why there would be any kind of interlude to allow us to catch up with them is rather silly. They don’t develop in the least, nor are the performances good enough to have us rooting for them, but seeing as how no one’s really expecting anything to the contrary, it comes as no surprise. It simply means that we have to put up with Vin Diesel, who has never been that charismatic of an actor and is somewhere on the emotive level of Steven Seagal, for longer than we should have to.
That actually brings us to another point: the film itself is far too long for the material. There is perhaps enough material here to fill a 90 minute film (perhaps even less), and yet, it runs for about two hours, throwing in several unnecessary scenes such as discovering that Mia is pregnant, a team race in stolen police cars, and scenes of a Rio police officer who has been assigned to help Hobbs, but ends up caring about Dominic instead. There was more than enough excess that could have been cut from the film in order to bring it in at a decent runtime instead of allowing it to feel so stretched out.
Then there’s the third act, which must be mentioned. I can’t recall having seen such an absurd finale in a film. The amount of silliness they ask you to believe is downright laughable. Not only do you have a character’s loyalty suddenly shifting for a quick revenge spree, but you also get a chase scene that is completely impossible, turning the film into a last-minute comedy. All the action scenes up to this point had at least seemed plausible, but here, the filmmakers just decided to toss the laws of physics out the window and proceed as though it made sense.
Hopefully this is going to be the end of the line for the series. One film was enough, two was plenty, but five is just absurd. Undoubtedly, there will be several people who will flock to this film just because it has cars zooming back and forth, so at least some people will be pleased with it. But if that’s the case, then there’s not really any need to keep making more of them when there are already four others out there. This is just a really obvious cash grab to distract you from a much simpler answer: relax at home and watch the other entries.
Lazily plotted and flat characters mixed with bland performances make for a not so great action flick. Fast Five is overly-long/stuffed with several unnecessary scenes and a completely unbelievable/laughable final act.