Fast Five Dir. Justin Lin

[Universal Pictures; 2011]

Styles: action
Others: The Fast and The Furious, Fast and Furious

Just before the earth-shattering climax of Fast Five, one of its main characters (Vin Diesel) gathers every other major character (minus The Rock, who will momentarily bust into the gathering behind the wheel of his armored Hummer anyway) and with a paternal air relays to them that in a world where money comes and goes, the only thing that really matters is family. Even from his perspective, as the fugitive leader of a motley crew of sassy, hot, and muscular international thieves who really, really like what happens when they press down on gas pedals, this is clearly a lie. The character played by Diesel is no less susceptible to the real point of Fast Five than any audience member who is going to go see it for its noise and its crashes and its women with nice asses. This movie is a barreling, pummeling affirmation of the world of macho, whose philosophy dictates that all roads driven by expensive cars lead inexorably to muscles, money, and the complete acquiescence of beautiful women.

At the center of its grudging plot, there is a heist to be pulled off, and as it borrows lazily from Ocean’s 11 (itself a mighty lazy film) to put together its so-crazy-it-just-might-work scenarios, Fast Five finds plenty of time to work cars driving really fast into just about every aspect of its story. Eventually the driving simply overtakes the plot entirely and the heist is forgotten in lieu of the movie’s biggest over-the-top car chase, wherein the character played by Diesel drives alongside his partner, the character played by Paul Walker, while both are aided by the character played by The Rock, a Federal agent who decides that instead of pursuing the characters who play Diesel and Walker, he will accompany them in their mayhem, ostensibly for revenge against a common enemy, but mainly, I suspect, because he harbors a deep desire to drive cars quickly as well.

Pointing out that a movie about driving cars fast is dumb is a futile thing to do, but so is seeing it, and enough people will do that, no matter how noisy or nonsensical the film is. And, of course, Fast Five will make its hefty budget back in spades, whether I give a shit or not.

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