Tuesday 22 November 2011

Review: Fast Five

Year: 2011
Director: Justin Lin
Screenplay: Chris Morgan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Joanna Brewster, Dwayne Johnston

Synopsis is here

Regular readers can probably sense that  the fast and the furious films aren't really my thing despite being pretty much the exact demographic for them. I mean if I were a fan, I would have clearly reviewed the film in April when the film actually came out. Such is life. As it happens the film came out to more fanfare than I expected, making a scary amount of money and slapping smack bang in the middle of the list of highest worldwide grosses. Making over $600million, I was shocked that there were that many boy racers.

Interestingly enough, it's the lack of the street racing element that makes fast five somewhat worthwhile. The constant shoehorning of these guys in the same typical street racing situations was getting more than a little dry. Also screenwriter Chris Morgan (writer of the dubious 4th film) seems a lot more comfortable with the series somehow.The film still drops scriptwriting brain farts. An example being a female character falls several stories through a shanty town roof before brushing herself and claiming she's pregnant. Another is the easily swayed loyalties of characters at the drop of a dime for the service of pushing it's somewhat generic heist plot. However  with this said; the story is entertaining enough, the humour is also a touch better and this time round despite the superhero prowess of it's leads (seriously, only Batman could take Diesel's Dominic character) there is an emotional crux within the film.

Don't be expecting too much from this muscle bound, dumb Oceans 11 with cars though. I say there's emotion in the film but don't look for complexity (like anyone watching is looking for that). The film does enough to make some of these characters worth watching for it's 130 run time (far too long for a film so basic) but don't expect secondary characters to be worth a damn. Plus, if you've had an issue with the treatment of women in this franchise previously, then don't expect any turnaround changes. Although like the naff pop rap that comes with the movie, the extremities are toned down slightly.

Fast Five is once again WYSWYG although it seems that there's steadier footing. The performances are what they are (I don't think I'll ever get on with Paul Walker) and while the stunts defy logic they are do creating a certain amount of awe to proceedings. One must also note that the inclusion of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnston injects some much needed energy. It's a shame that his Tommy Lee Jones character is sidelined for the films duller, generic main villain. With this said, the fact that there's a Fast Six in production not only gives us hope of a larger role for him, but says everything it needs to about the franchise. Bloggers like me be damned, the boy racers will have their day once more.