Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Fast Five is an ocean of motion and it never lets up. It was the first movie I saw in the IMAX format and it washed over me like a tsunami.

It sizzles from the beginning, as Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), his consigliere Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), and others are stealing impounded lux cars from train packed with DEA agents while it’s still operating. The cars are for Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida, always a gem), the crime boss of Rio de Janeiro.

Great set piece: A big ole truck rides alongside to act as midwife to the cars as they roll from boxcar to the ground at high rates of speed. O’Conner’s fighting with Reyes’ henchman whose operating the industrial truck. He knocks him off and is hanging on for dear life as Toretto drives up trying to catch him before he smashes against a bridge pillar. Shot to shot to shot, he jumps, truck explodes in blaze of glory, and he and Diesel do a slo-mo dive into a raging river way down below, all three of them, Walker, Diesel and the car.

The cars should have top billing. Especially the cars at the end when Roman (Tyrese Gibson) pulls up with hot babe in tow and his bud Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges), a hard working day job man, slyly has his hot babe drive up in the same car.

What’s the movie about? Hot fast shiny cars, keep the motor running, sexy people (“We’re a family!”), $100 million in untraceable bills and two identical bank vaults. Tyrese and Ludacris bantering like old friends. But never forget the 3 monuments to Mother Nature, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel and Rio de Janeiro. Rio should have gotten top billing as a person in its own right. The beach at Ipanema. The hills covered with colorful houses in stadium seating.

Diesel’s less combustible than he’s been before. He’s the natural leader but picks his words carefully and all his crew lean in for every word.

Kudos to director Justin Lin for keeping things rotating like planets running on Diesel fuel. Shooting the final sequence must have been as hair-raising as it was to watch. Kudos to everyone, especially the stuntmen and women.

If you like very cool cars, sexy people, lots of action, gorgeous Rio de Janeiro, an implausibly irresistible heist and tawdry touches of Mission Impossible and Ocean’s Eleven, you’ll like Fast Five.

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