Fast Five (2011) Movie Review

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There’s a running theory in my house that The Rock, also known as Dwayne Johnson (sorry buddy, but you’ll always be The Rock to me), and Vin Diesel are actually the same being. Like they’re different versions of the same dude from parallel dimensions, or some sci-fi trope like that. They make similar movies. Couldn’t you imagine Diesel playing the protagonist in “Faster”, or The Rock with silly looking sunglasses bouncing around space in the “Riddick” movies? Even the children’s films they do, like “The Pacifier” (Diesel) and “The Tooth Fairy” (Rock), could have gone either way. Now before you get your panties all twisted in a fit of rage and start bombarding the comment section with snarky notes about how I’m obviously a dumbass who has never seen a movie before, I’m just trying to say that I imagine that there are a lot of casting lists in Hollywood with these guys in spots one and two, that’s all.

The latest installment of the “Fast/Furious” franchise, “Fast Five”, perhaps the fastest and most furious thus far in the series, finally brings these two well-muscled action stars together. I was a bit concerned that as soon as they met onscreen that some sort of rupture would appear in the very fabric of our universe, because, as we all know, two versions of the same person from different planes of existence cannot simultaneously occupy the same space. That’s elementary science fiction. Sorry, I’ve been watching a lot of “Fringe” lately, but putting Diesel and The Rock together in a single movie is a bit of a mind-blowing proposition. Going in, I wasn’t sure a single celluloid frame could handle that much man-beef.

And not only does “Fast Five” bring these two meaty juggernauts together, but it is also a reunion of almost every memorable character from the first four films. With the notable exceptions of Michelle Rodriguez and Lucas Black, the cast features Dom Toretto (Diesel), Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker), Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Leo (Tego Calderon), Santos (Don Omar), and Vince (Matt Schulze). There’s even a we-need-to-put-together-a-crew team assembly montage. It’s a good time, especially if you’re already a fan.

“Fast Five” opens with Dom, recently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. So of course, Brian and Mia break him out in a daring high-speed chase where Brian basically trips a bus. Think about how you would stick your leg out and trip someone, and that’s pretty much what he does, only to a bus, which makes it rad. The trio, now headline-making fugitives, flee to Rio de Janeiro, where Vince lives. Mia finds out she’s pregnant (don’t babies always fuck things up?), they all go on a job that turns bad, and run afoul of Rio’s biggest crime lord (Joaquim de Almeida). Not only that, but Hobbs (The Rock), the biggest, baddest, most cliché spouting federal agent ever, is also hot on their tail. Seriously, Hobbs pretty much just yells lines that Tommy Lee Jones said in “The Fugitive”. He spends every second in the middle of a roid-rage meltdown; sweaty, twitchy, and about to explode his biceps all over the place. At one point he also says that his team had better be wearing their “thunderwear”, so there’s that. Amidst all of this, our anti-heroes have to try to figure out how to steal $100 million dollars so they can all retire in style and freedom.

The story of “Fast Five” is stupid, but it’s the best kind of stupid, and story’s not why you dragged your ass all the way to the theater, is it? You want to see cars driving, guns firing, brawny giants fighting, chase scenes galore, and if a couple of ass shots happen to find their way into the film, that doesn’t hurt the situation any. That’s the foundation the “Fast & Furious” franchise is built upon. The only chink in the otherwise gloriously absurd armor of “Fast Five” is that this time around the producers tried to make a heist film instead of a straight up action film. The pace definitely falters when it tries to be clever (it’s not), and there is a bait and switch move that is straight out of one of the “Ocean’s” movies. But this isn’t much of an issue, because “Fast Five” never takes itself too seriously, and even when it does get melodramatic and emotional, like when Dom and a sexy Brazilian cop bond for a moment over dead loved ones, those moments are so asinine and cheesy that you can’t help but laugh your ass off.

At times “Fast Five” spends too much time building up, and you think the payoff can’t possibly be worth it, but Roman says things like how his share of the score will mean “a lot of vaginal activity”, so even when it gets slow, it’s never boring. By the time you get to the big climactic scene, you’re ready for an epic chase, and you will not be let down. You haven’t seen cinematic mayhem and destruction since “Bad Boys II”. “Fast Five” wrecks half of Rio in magnificently over-the-top fashion, and, if you go in expecting a movie that is both ridiculous and ridiculously entertaining, you shouldn’t be disappointed. This is the kind of movie where they throw two grenades at you, because one grenade is never enough.

Justin Lin (director)/Chris Morgan (writer)
CAST: Vin Diesel…Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker…Brian O’Conner
Jordana Brewster…Mia Toretto
The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson)…Hobbs
Tyrese Gibson…Roman
Ludacris…Tej
Matt Schulze…Vince
Gal Gadot…Gisele
Sung Kang…Han


Buy Fast Five on DVD

Author: Brent McKnight

Brent McKnight lives in Seattle with his dogs. He likes beards, movies where things explode, and overcast skies. His three favorite movies are "Rubin and Ed", "A Bittersweet Life", and "Out for Justice". He wishes his knees didn't hurt. On Twitter @BrentMMcKnight
  • scott

    That trope about “occupying the same space” always bugs me. Doesn’t anyone realize what it would take for two people to literally occupy the same space? i could shake hands with or hug my double and we’d still not be occupying the same points in space. That’s not a slam against Brent, i just… augh… nevermind.

    Agreed that The Rock and Diesel are similar.
    But The Rock has a sense of humor, which sets him miles apart.

  • Mrculea

    i can’t see the rock playing Toretto .

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      No? He played essentially the same character in Faster, muscle car and all.

      • Mrculea

        i don’t think so …

  • Stevensionel

    This was a stupid movie. Basically no street racing no wild party scenes, its oceans 11. with muscles. even the end with the safe. seriously? them w2 cars can pull that huge ten ton safe around? without destrioying the road? yea, only if its on wheels. safes are heavy as hell. you try dragging a normal gun safe the size of a closet around. stupid movie. good action. kill the series now. they are rich. enough already. noone cares about heists. we want the street racing.

  • Stevensionel

    This was a stupid movie. Basically no street racing no wild party scenes, its oceans 11. with muscles. even the end with the safe. seriously? them w2 cars can pull that huge ten ton safe around? without destrioying the road? yea, only if its on wheels. safes are heavy as hell. you try dragging a normal gun safe the size of a closet around. stupid movie. good action. kill the series now. they are rich. enough already. noone cares about heists. we want the street racing.

  • FanC

    You Forgot Johnny Stong aka Leon.

    Did you stay for the ending credit? Eve Mandez Character confirms that Lett is Alive . I cant wait for 6

  • JackCrow

    Good action, stupid plot.
    I was entertained.

  • http://goarticles.com/article/Watch-Free-HBO-HD-TV-On-Computer-Live-How-Can-I-Watch-free-television-on-Web/2853263 Diz

    The action is great but the storyline is abit awkward and not thought through…but hey, thats with most machismo movies..right?

  • http://goarticles.com/article/Watch-Free-HBO-HD-TV-On-Computer-Live-How-Can-I-Watch-free-television-on-Web/2853263 The Jinxed

    I agree, the rock has a good sense of humor but vin is all serious, action and more of that

  • http://goarticles.com/article/Watch-Free-HBO-HD-TV-On-Computer-Live-How-Can-I-Watch-free-television-on-Web/2853263 The Jinxed

    I agree, the rock has a good sense of humor but vin is all serious, action and more of that

  • Guest

    Just loved you in F&F5. You always get away with it Vin. “Dom the Diesel” way to go… :*