If you’re a film critic aiming to be taken seriously you draw up reviews of awesome little-known films like Night of the Hunter and level sniper shots at the latest Transfomers flick. Anything heavily marketed to mass audiences is normally regarded as terrible before official screenings begin, and that sentiment isn’t without its reasons. But even the most erudite critic has a guilty pleasure, and mine happens to be any film that tries to do as much real special effect work as possible before going to the computer, which is what made me curious about Fast Five.
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel return to the franchise that launched their careers, this time hiding in Rio de Janeiro when a 100 million dollar heist presents itself.
Despite featuring characters who are notable only for their attractiveness and angry faces, this 2 hour heist film manages to milk some character development. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson hams it up nicely as the DEA agent chasing Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, and Walker is mercifully not given many lines. Instead, director Justin Lin introduces the characters with an impressive train heist and incorporates quieter moments that don’t clash with the rest of the film.
The actual heist sequence illustrated in the film’s trailer is what intrigued me, but within the film it’s delivered with mixed results. A scrapyard somewhere made a killing off the film, with plenty of vehicles getting mashed, crashed, and thrashed with nary a digital effect interrupting the fiasco (at least blatantly; it definitely played a supporting role). Kudos. After a while though, the auto body kill count becomes numbing and never manages to deliver a cherry on top of this metal mash-up sundae (think the truck flip from The Dark Knight).
Despite being the fifth sequel in a car racing franchise that still bears of the scars of its adolescence, it isn’t a bad action film. Sure, the film has some bad moments (it still retains its awkward homoerotic tension between angry ogre men), but overall it’s bearable.
If you’re interested in the film’s special effects, it might be worth your time. Other than that, I’m not sure why else someone would want to see it. Vin Diesel’s shiny head?