This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

Fast Five

Fast Five Directed by: Justin Lin Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris Running Time: 2 hr 10 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: April 29, 2011

PLOT: Dom (Diesel) and Brian (Walker) get put on the top of the Feds most wanted list after a prison break and dead DEA agents. They two bring a gang of drivers together to pull one last job in Rio De Janeiro.

WHO'S IT FOR? Diesel and Johnson should be enough to pack it in for action fans. For a movie I thought would mainly be about flashy cars, I don't think gear heads will totally geek out.

EXPECTATIONS: Adding Johnson to the mix is a huge bonus. I'd be thrilled if this turned out to be the fastest and the most furious.



ACTORS: Vin Diesel as Dominic "Dom" Toretto: Don't worry Fast & Furious fans (that's the fourth installment), Dom doesn't spend the movie in prison. Diesel continues to do well with the "less is more" approach with Dom. He loves his family and treats his friends as such. It's easy to root for this good bad guy. I mean, see how sweet he is NOT to hit someone in the head with a wrench? Score: 7

Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner: Gone are the days of waffling between the good and the bad. Brian has chosen his side. He's hooked on Mia (Brewster) and their future family. Walker used to be laughable for me in this role, but gosh darn it, he's getting better. Score: 6

Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs: Diesel used to be the big man on the furious block. Good lord, not anymore. Johnson put on what looks like another 40 pounds of muscle and for some reason rubbed himself in Crisco. Seriously, he's dripping and glistening in every single scene. Johnson as Agent Hobbs is no nonsense and doesn't take any guff. Yes, we've seen this all before, but since it's in small doses, and it's The Rock, it's totally fun. Score: 8

Rest of Cast: The gang is back together, or meeting each other for the first time. Roman (Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) puff their chests to one another until it gets old, which doesn't take very long. Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar) are dumb, funny and play off of each other well. Han (Sung Kang) and Gisele (Gal Gadot) are the most fun with them falling for each other as Han continues to eat snacks in almost every scene. Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) is a standard token drug lord and never once adds anything to the film. Plus, there's a new love interest for Dom with Elena (Elsa Pataky) and Vince (Matt Schulze) is back. Yeah, that's a lot and honestly I would have been fine with only Han and Gisele making this entire list. The characters seems to get in the way of the movie, not add to it. Score: 5

TALKING: In the beginning we have lines like "We're running on fumes" which means, "We don't have any cash." Thankfully, we don't like in car-puns and that is quickly done. There does seem to be a lot of talking that really isn't very important. Johnson has the best lines like, "You'd better have your thunderwear on." There were some unintentional chuckles from the audience when I saw it, none bigger than when one main character says, "I'm in." I know, I know, we aren't seeing this movie for the dialogue, but still, it could have been better and more purposeful. Score: 5

SIGHTS: Really, really nice. Officially, you can't go wrong with Rio De Janeiro. Second, when they are driving you rarely feel like it's fake. Third, they don't rely on SCS (Shaky Camera Syndrome). Fourth, almost everything happens in the day light so you can actually see it. Plus, there's the Best Scene down below. Score: 8

SOUNDS: Pump up music and plenty of muscle behind those cars, especially Dom's classic. Score: 7


BEST SCENE: Dom and Brian are left behind to get one last car from the train. It ends with a cliff that puts Butch and Sundance to shame.

ENDING: I'll give you a day's head start to stop using the idea of good guys giving bad guys a day's head start to get away because they have earned it. Also, make sure it stick around during the credits. It made one girl in our audience gasp with future delight.

QUESTIONS: No one died during the opening bus crash? That's funny, and seems pretty tough to plan. Did the gang really need to get together? Think about the skills that were actually used. Nobody knew Tej was a safe man. Again, Dom could have just said, "We need more people." Instead, he went out of his way to list the assets they needed. They just needed people who know how to drive and talk (and a safe man). Why not think of the cop cars sooner? That would have saved a lot of time driving in circles. Also, why weren't the stolen police cars not reported? As you can see, this movie doesn't make it a priority to fill in all of the holes.

REWATCHABILITY: If you put the 30-40 minutes of action on a DVD, I will happily eat it up. Or watch, I guess I'd just watch it.


More. That's what people obviously want with sequels. More time with the characters, more cars, more action. The Fast Five team happily ramp up the action sequences. I was utterly thrilled with watching the foot race through the streets of Rio De Janeiro, the car theft from the train, and the great safe escape. I just named three scenes in a movie that was more than two hours long. So what does that mean?

There was also more waiting. There are long stretches with no action. During these times it really reminded me of a poor man's Ocean's Eleven. The gang doesn't seem to be utilized, plus the plans keep on changes. I believe in Justin Lin's ability as an action director. He's rumored to be the man behind the camera for the next Terminator movie. I just wish Fast Five would have been 35 minutes shorter, so then it could truly be called FAST.





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