Series Shift – Fast Five (2011)

Upping the ante.  So Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) are lying low in Brazil after the events of the previous movies.  The D.E.A. is closing in on them, so they decide to get the gang together one more time to pull a giant heist over on the crime kingpin of Rio de Janeiro, taking him down for all that he is worth.  This movie was a turning point to be sure.  If you look at the Fast and the Furious 1 – 4 (I’m not going to list all of the silly titles that this series is infamous for) each one of them at their core is still about street racing.  This is where the series decided to go in a different direction and started to turn these characters into international spies and superheroes, and it gives the franchise the perfect injection that was needed.

1And they also decided to bring in the Rock (along with eighteen pounds of baby oil), and he is the perfect person that every series needs, without exception.

Now I personally like these movies, but I do realize that they are not for everybody.  You have to just be looking for well executed spectacle and macho one-liners, but if that is what you are looking for in a blockbuster, the Fast and the Furious is a series that is always looking to one-up itself.  I still have yet to see the Fate of the Furious and Tokyo Drift, but Fast Five is my favorite so far.  It is really the point where they left the racing in the rear view and started doing something more, and I love the set pieces to this.  The train sequence that this leads off with is excellent and underrated, and it still looks good six years later.  There is a lot more build up to Fast Five than just straight up exhilaration, and I am perfectly fine with that, because the vault finale is spectacular, regardless of the preposterous physics.  I think it is the best sequence of the series, and it still gets the tip of my hat all of these years later.

2And it takes a full fifteen minutes to resolve, and it is nothing short of flooring.

This is such testosterone infused fun, it is hard to imagine somebody having a bad time with it, apart from the audience that watches exclusively Masterpiece Theatre.  It is over the top, but hey, that is simply the evolution of the series.  The heist aspect just makes this more fun, and along with the Rock playing the manliest character ever written, it is just what the doctor ordered.  The Fast and the Furious is probably the most diverse franchise out there, and ever since this installment, I have been 100% on board.

Fast Five (2011) ****

– Critic for Hire


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