Review: Fast Five

daniel cohen reviews the latest installment of the Fast And Furious series …

Plot: After breaking out Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) from a prison bus, former cop Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), along with Toretto, round up a team of other street racers and criminals to steal money from a powerful Rio drug lord (Joaquim de Almeida). They are also relentlessly pursued by Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a top federal agent.

This was actually my first foray into the world of the Fast And Furious, and I was pleasantly surprised. If you’re a huge fan of this series, I can’t imagine you won’t be thrilled with this fifth entry. There’s a lot of action with cars … that’s what you want, right? As high octane action thrillers go, Fast Five does more right then it does wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, which is hard to say in a lot of pure action movies. Although when you have four previous films to set up personalities and back story, it’s a bit easier to flesh them out. Although making his first appearance into this franchise was Dwayne Johnson, who was easily my favorite part of the movie. He’s intense, funny, and aside from a bad delivery here and there, gives a good performance. I always got excited whenever he came on screen.

The team Toretto and O’Conner assemble are all very likable and from previous movies, so I guess it was like one big family reunion. But unlike Ocean’s 12, where it feels like the cast is just entertaining themselves, these guys entertain the audience. I thought Tyrese was especially wildly entertaining. The two main guys (Toretto and O’Conner) are played by Vin Diesel and Paul Walker respectively. They are fine, although there’s one scene where they sit and talk for a while which was a little rough … More driving and less heart to heart conversations, please.

I appreciated the action not being too ridiculous relative to other actioneers. Sure, it’s not realistic or anything, but it’s not Pierce Brosnan James Bond level either. Sometimes there’s too much jumping and falling in slow motion, but that’s really my only complaint. The director Justin Lin (who also helmed the previous two films) does a fantastic job with these sequences. It’s top-notch action. Also a fun fact for you kids at home: Justin Lin directed the famous “Modern Warefare” Community paintball episode — just wanted to throw that out there.

The humor works well for the most part. There’s really only one cringe worthy line, which is heard in the trailer: “This just went from Mission: Impossible, to Mission in frickingsanity.” Ugh.

But that’s not the worst part of the film. The pacing is waaaaaaaaaaay too slow. It takes forever to progress a scene. And as much as I like Toretto’s team of misfits and the camaraderie among the group, there’s way too much of it slowing down the pace.

The movie is called Fast Five, not Fast, but let’s be sappy for a while. The trailer is misleading as it gives you the impression these characters are a bunch of tough guys and bad asses, which they are, but they are also quite lovey-dovey with each other.

While the last action sequence was absolutely badass, the ending has serious flaws.

There’s one character twist that simply makes no sense and comes off as pretty darn silly. The ending also splits into about five stretched out endings. It’s not Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King level, but it’s pretty bad. There’s also a romantic angle between Toretto and one of the cops chasing him that feels unbelievably forced, but I guess Vin Diesel’s got to get his, too.

If you love pure action movies, this is absolutely for you. A lot of cars. A lot of guns. A lot of fisticuffs. A lot of gorgeous women. What more could you want? I wish the pace was smoother, and the ending didn’t irk me here and there, but this definitely made me want to check out the rest of the series.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (Good)

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

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