Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fast Five

In 2001, I was eleven years old and I went to the movies with my friends to see The Fast and the Furious. I liked it. It captured a boy's imagination with its adrenaline-fueled car chases, its testosterone-inspired characters, and of course it had a hot woman by the name of Jordana Brewster. That furthered the career of Vin Diesel to make him a household name and Paul Walker was also getting noticed. The film's director, Rob Cohen, took Diesel off to go make an action movie called XXX, but the studio wanted another F&F film so they got John Singleton to make 2 Fast 2 Furious. Even then, when I was still too young to even accurately judge a movie, I thought that sucked. Diesel wasn't around to grunt and punch people and therefore my pre-teen mind thought it wasn't as cool as the first. Then came The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which even now still has little to do with the series (despite a few recurring characters). Either way, Tokyo Drift's writer (Chris Morgan) and director (Justin Lin) got put in charge of the franchise and once Walker and Diesel's schedule matched up, they went ahead and made Fast and Furious. Now that was a cool (in that pre-teen sense) movie (and THAT had Jordana Brewster). Well, now Lin, Morgan, Walker, Diesel, oh and Jordana Brewster, are all back for Fast Five. The pre-teen imagination I once had gets to come to the forefront of my brain once again.

The film opens with a muscle car flipping over a bus. The thing about that is (and this is how American action movies seem to work), as long as something looks slick and youthful, we buy into it. We still like it even if there can be those cliche cuts and shots and even that "action-yelling" (you know, when someone goes "woo" or "damn" or "gotcha"... Michael Bay likes to take that to the next level like in Transformers 2 aka "BOOM-Holy Shit! The Movie"). That is what American action movies have become. I would love for films like Die Hard or The Dark Knight to be the typical blockbusters, but everything is quintessentially MTV-itized and that is what Fast Five is. Take the think-tank from MTV and ask them to write Ocean's Eleven with a few more cars.

I compare it to Ocean's Eleven because of the large ensemble, but I call it MTV-itized because there are macho guys, hot chicks, crazy destruction, and death being cheated. Oh, did I mention The Rock/Dwayne Johnson is in this one? So yeah, this fulfills genre expectations even for a franchise that it actually does pain my snobby self to admit I have a soft-spot for. Very absurd movie. The stupidest amount of fun I've had so far this year.

Oh, and like your typical blockbuster, there is a scene after the credits... or technically halfway through the credits. A marketing strategy I'll never understand.

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