When Dominic (Diesel) is busted out of prison in the high octane opening sequence of Fast Five, the whole gang relocate to Rio in order to lie low. Of course, lying low has never been their strong point, and when – within a matter of days – a heist goes wrong, it is up to Brian (Walker), Dominic and their friends to band together for ‘one last job’, bring down a crime lord and evade the FBI’s Hobbs (Johnson).
I have to confess at this point, I have never seen any of the other Fast and the Furious films. They just never interested me. What surprised me about this latest installment was how much I actually enjoyed it, and how hard they were trying to make the film Oceans Eleven-and-a-half.
It seems to me that the centre of all the Fast and the Furious films to date, has been cards, so the fact that this newest film is focussing on the theft of money and the deposing of a crime boss does not quite sit well with me, although I could be way off with this asessment. By the time the gang have decided what they are going to do, the film has definitely drifted into Danny Ocean’s land. They build a replica of the escape route to practice driving, devise many different personas, hack into a CCTV system in an uncannily similar way to Oceans Eleven, and even get a replica of the safe they are trying to rob. This all sounds very well and good, the manner in which this is done is not nearly as slick as any of the Ocean’s films, and I found myself wondering where all the cars were.
What can be said about the performances? It seems unlikely that any of these actors are going to win an Academy Award for this film, but that is not their intention. The performances match the tone of the film – over the top – especially Dwayne Johnson’s uber macho FBI agent who seem to speak only in cliches and defies anyone to get in his way. The glances shared are all of them – all of them – laden with subtext that is not needed. Vin Diesel has about as much acting ability as a tree, but at least he sounds good, Paul Walker looks pretty, as do Elsa Pataky and Jordana Brewster as the love interests of our two heroes.
At the end of it all, Fast Five (or The Fast and The Furious Five, or whatever the heck it is calling itself these days) is fast, fun and fantastically frivolous. Don’t try and over think it, because there is nothing there to really think about. These lads, just like Ricky Bobby, wanna go fast and that’s precisely what they do. Fans of the series will love it, and for the uninitiated, like me, there are plenty of laughs, chases and pretty people to look at. This film is not going to change the world, but it will answer the questions of ‘how do you steal cars from a train?’, ‘how much baby oil does The Rock have on his arms?’ and ‘what happens when unstoppable force (The Rock) meets an immovable object (Vin Diesel)?’