April 30, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
When it comes to movies, the month of May typically marks the official start of the summer season, a lineup full of brainless blockbusters and sequels. The fifth film of The Fast and the Furious series fits the bill appropriately here as this weekend’s opening summer showcase highlight. Director Justin Lin, just as he did with the two previous installments, injects more fuel into the burning hot franchise of crowdpleasing action thrillers driven by underground racing, high-stakes heists, and beautiful bodies. Fast Five does exactly what its immediate predecessor did: milk the cashcow once more and ultimately keep the wheels rolling with no finish line in sight.
Lin steers Fast Five down familiar road and makes sure all the right parts that have made this series successful in the past get picked up along the way. He doesn’t try to go anywhere beyond that, so you know what you’re gonna get on this latest tour: speedy car chases, spectacular car crashes, and sexy cleavage close-ups that’s as non-T&A as you can get within PG-13 boundaries. Nothing more, nothing less. Throw in some recurring characters, lay down some sort of passable plotline, sprinkle in some obligatory high-flying stunts and jumps to rev up the extreme-o-meter, and you’ve got yourself the archetypal summer sequel.
The only essential change that comes with this new model is that Fast Five shifts gears into a new exotic locale, Rio de Janeiro. The second film this month to prominently feature the Brazilian city, Fast Five presents Rio gorgeously even in the slum scenes and will make you want to either revisit City of God or replay parts of the Modern Warfare 2 campaign. By staying on track with the formula of its predecessors, Fast Five parallels its previous sequels in many ways, even mirroring the most recent pair’s last-minute cameos en route to setting up the eventual next model, except doing so this time with a bit more style via a stinger (here).
Despite its title, Fast Five does sputter through some slow parts, complete with eyeroll-inducing dialogue, heavy-sigh-spurring acting (and its good friend unintentional laughter), and run-of-the-mill music converse to the frenetic soundtrack of the trailers. While most of the audience couldn’t care less for these distractions, they keep the film grounded in mediocrity at its simple core of cool cars and wicked wrecks. Fast Five is mindless fun. Jump in, buckle up, don’t ask questions, and enjoy the ride. Fast Five gets 2.5 out of 5 stars (Okay)