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Fast Five

Fast Five

The Last Dragon

What He said:

Love em or hate em, the Fast & Furious movies are some of the only true action movies around nowadays. The genre is far removed from its prime in the 80s and early 90s. I never quite figured out if it was a lack of big names (Stallone, Arnold, etc.) or if it’s because audiences simply grew tired of the genre. Either way, the genre has changed. Sure there’s a few action flicks still out there, but not a very many.  The genre has turned into mostly a vehicle for comedy. Movies like The A-Team, Red, and Starsky & Hutch are common for what passes as action movies.  Now I happen to like those movies, but sometimes you just want some good, old-fashioned type of action and that’s hard to come by nowadays.  If nothing else, Fast Five is indeed just that.

Fast Five is a direct sequel to Fast & Furious; which is the only true sequel to the original. Both are prequels to Tokyo Drift. Tokyo Drift had nothing to do with the original aside from a small cameo by Diesel at the end. 2 Fast 2 Furious only had Paul Walker in it and like Tokyo Drift, had very little to do with the story from the original. Did I lose you? No matter.  Anyways, director Justin Lin tries to bring together a bunch of random characters from movies that had nothing to do with one another. It's kind of a mess. A mess – I might add – he’s kind of responsible for himself when he decided to make the seemingly random Tokyo Drift.

Anyways, this movie story of what happens to Dom (Vin Diesel) after he’s arrested at the end of the previous movie. *Spoiler alert* Against all odds, Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian (Paul Walker) bust him out and rather easily and recklessly too I might add. Soon enough they are on the run once again, only this time being chased by supercop Luke Hobbs (The Rock). He’s one bad mofo and he never loses. Neither does Dom, which should make this interesting.

Speaking of Dom, when did he turn into a demigod? Dominic Toretto has always been top dog in the F&F universe, however he’s downright Herculean in this movie. At a certain point, I kind of expected him to catch a bullet with his bare hands. I get that he’s the poster boy for the franchise, but the character has turned into Superman in more ways than one. First of all, for a guy on the run from the law, he certainly puts his face out there a lot. And why shouldn’t he? He never loses anyway. He's also pretty much indestructable at this point.

The character serves as something as a metaphor for the rest of the movie. Everything is bigger, more ridiculous, and less believable than the previous movie or the original. For a second, I thought I was seeing Fast & Furious: The Return of Xander Cage. Frankly, I’m a little surprised this one was as well-received as it was. I found Fast & Furious to be a lot better. The story made more sense and the action wasn’t anywhere near as ridiculous. There was still some good action sequences in it, but other times where they simply should have scaled it back. A lot. Besides getting boring at a certain point, it also starts to bring into question your ability to follow these characters. When they are laying waste to entire sections of a city, how do you root for that? You’ve got innocent people dodging bullets – or in this movie’s case much larger objects – and our “heroes” are just kind of laughing it off as if they know it is a movie and they won’t get hurt. I hate what this series has turned into.

One thing I did enjoy was the addition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He was great and needs to do more roles like this. He’s had trouble with consistency to be considered the next great action guy, butroles like this will help. His character was something of a throwback to some of the good guys from the 80s or 90s action pieces.

Rating: Thumbs down

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on November 22, 2011.