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Film Review: Fast Five

05/06/2011 04:32AM ● Published by Wendy Sipple

Fast Five, the fifth movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise, steps away from its street racing roots. In this installment Dom and his crew plan a giant robbery scheme much in the same vein as Oceans 11.

The impossible plan is to steal 100 million dollars from a mob boss that runs the entire city of Rio. To complicate matters the series introduces Luke Hobbs (the “Rock) who is a top federal agent hellbent on capturing our team of anti-heroes. In this movie it doesn’t matter if it’s the corrupt Rio cops, mobs, U.S. Federal Agents, or Dom’s crew a large amount of collateral damage is left in their wake.
This may be one of the most brilliant action movies ever written because it really is tailor-made to please just about everyone. Fans of the original series will be excited to see many of the characters of the past films return to form a team. However, don’t worry if you are new to the franchise because even though you don’t know the characters from the previous films it doesn’t matter. For a fifth film in a franchise, Fast Five is a movie someone new to the series can follow, understand and quickly know the characters in this film. That’s simply not the case with most other franchise films like Harry Potter. And even though the franchise drifts away from street racing there are many scenes to satisfy that crowd as well without being a complete distraction from the main plot.
Being the fifth in the series also helped the scenes between the action. Because the characters are established, they have a built in camaraderie. The themes of family are highlighted between the characters which is a wise choice because for perhaps the first time in the series all of the characters were fun and likable. But ultimately a movie like Fast Five is not judged on its drama but its action and this movie delivers that in spades.
Justin Lin is quickly establishing himself one of the finest action directors out there. The action scenes are over the top, as to be expected but Lin’s direction makes them digestible and fun. The end car chase scene I would imagine has well over 100 cars being absolutely destroyed in wrecks in almost every imaginable way. However through all this carnage of metal and bullets the action is actually very easy to follow. Every shot and edit has a purpose and is carefully composed. The way Justin Lin adds shots from an observer’s point of view throughout the chase scenes really adds a lot to the way an audience perceives the action too. So while the action defies the laws of physics it’s done in such a clear, visual compelling and entertaining way that the audience doesn’t care.
The writer Chris Morgan has a good grasp on the characters in this franchise as well. Vin Diesel is the clear star and the amount and type of lines that Diesel gets in this movie is perfect. With his distinctive low voice I liken him to a Arnold Schwarzenegger type of action star, where the less he says the more effective his lines becomes. Short one liners are best. The Rock is great in his role too and the brawl between the two titans of this movie was fun to watch.
Sure you can pick holes in the plot and say that the dialog is cheesy in several parts, but that’s part of the fun of a movie like this. Every guy looks like a steroid using monster complete with a skin tight shirt and every girl is a cover model and wears a bikini between toting guns and driving cars. The movie is jammed pack with guns, cars, fights, muscles, boobs, and explosions and a perfect opening spectacle to the summer popcorn action flick season. 
 


Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.

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