Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ten Statements About....FAST FIVE (2011)

"Hey!  The audience is getting bored--let's jump out of this car!"
"This just went from Mission: Impossible to Mission: In-freaking-sanity"

1) Even though this is undisputably a Fast and Furious film, it's nice to see that the caper flick has survived beyond last year's glut. Hell, there's a decided whiff of The Italian Job at points. That being said....

2) Chris Morgan's script tries so hard to make sure every one of the film's massive cast of characters a story arc that the movie ends up at times with a sense of diffuseness. In particular, the second act feels like so much running around trying to convince us meaningful things are going on.

"'s the plan...I act all bad-ass...and
you, you distract Diesel with your tiny ta-tas."
3) Elsa Pataky's Elena is arguably the most ill-served by this desire to give everyone something uniquely theirs to do. The script sets up an interesting back story for her, gives her some motivations...and then she does nothing much save give Diesel's Dom someone to look at meaningfully. The resulting romance just doesn't have the right feel to it..

4) I don't buy where Dwayne Johnson's Hobbs ends up in his story arc. Considering how much time is spent convincing us that he is truly hardcore ("Real Old Testament," if I recall Paul Walker's Brian saying)...then has him stepping back and pretty much letting our heroes get away because they helped him avenge his team.

5) Jordana Brewster's Mia's main story arc effectively takes away the one thing that makes her uniquely suited for this franchise--namely, that she is overpoweringly sexy when driving a fast car. Sitting at a computer screen and giving instructions over a headset...not so much at all.

6) You gotta give this movie credit for playing thoroughly fair with the big twist of its climatic heist. They lay out the clues, but manage to misdirect us with key lines of dialogue.

7) You know, given how easily Brian and Dominic escape from Joaquim de Almieda's Reyes in the first act, and how they manage to elude him and overcome the obstacles he puts in front of him with inpunity...well, he's a pretty crap bad guy. And no amount of him telling stories about how the Portuguese conquered Brazil will convince us he has more than one dimension.

" can't judge did The Tooth Fairy, damnit!"
8) But then...these movies aren't about vivid bad guys. They're about big-ass stunts, and the film manages to give us something exploding, flipping over or flying into the river every ten minutes or so. And on that level, it is a success.

9) I sincerely doubt the physics that allows our heroes to use precision driving moves to manipulate a ten-ton safe as if it was a mace...and the damage to property, vehicles and--yes--life reaches Bad Boys level of ludicrousness. But it did look cool.

10) I am so happy that this film doesn't forget anyone who was anyone who appeared in the series to date--as the final stinger after the cast credits attest.

Overall...taken for what it is, it works. As a movie, it's a little too convoluted in its desire to make sure everyone gets a chapter in this film's book.

Since I was treating my mom for Mother's Day, we headed out to MovieWorld in Douglaston, to my knowledge one of the very, very, very few independent movie theaters left in NYC--this place still practices a $6.50 matinee on Sunday before 5p.m. Yeah, the place still has a cheesy 'trapped in the 80's' feel to it, but the sheer friendliness of the staff makes up for it. The trailers included The Hangover II, which seems to want to make me not want to see this movie every time I see it; Transformers III: Dark of The Moon, that made my eyes glass over with boredom...and ones for X-Men: First Class, which emphasizes the relationship between Xavier and Magneto and makes the film look even better (and Hell, as a Banshee fan, I marked out seeing him flying across The Bay of Pigs) and Cowboys And Aliens, which reveals more of the plot and is getting me all the more jazzed for this.

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