directed by Justin Lin
Starring Vin Diesel
Today I packed away all my pretensions at sophistication and taste and went to see Fast Five at the second-run cinema. The shedding of all ideas of intellectual capacity and artistry was necessary to give a movie of this ilk any chance at entertaining. Had I gone into the theater with some expectation that there would be any sort of high art in this movie, I would have been severely disappointed. Had I paid for a full-price ticket, or even a bargain matinee ticket, for this piece of ... well, let's just call it computer-generated imaging, I'd've been really pissed off.
This movie is not intended to entertain adults. It is intended to entertain virginal adolescent boys, who fantasize about touching women and driving really, really fast with no unfortunate consequences. It's intended, in other words, to get the video-game generation out into the public realm, where they might at least see and be seen by non-virtual representations of other people. There is a little touching of women in the movie; it actually plays, if I may use the term loosely, a meaningful part in advancing what passes for plot. Other than that, there's no sexuality, unless you count mention of a pregnancy of a character who may or may not be married. In other words, just enough sex to tease a 14-year-old middle-school student, who has some idea of what causes pregnancy, and who's always nursing a semi anyway, and doesn't need anything explicit to produce a more tumescent state.
No, this movie is about cars. Exotic, high-priced cars that seat two and can drive off a moving train without suffering a dent, or studly second-generation muscle cars that can drag a giant steel bank vault around the streets of Rio de Janiero fast enough that police cars in pursuit can't catch up.
The supposed plot is complicated enough that it would take at least three sentences to describe with any kind of completeness. Luckily, though, it's not worth that kind of investment of time or energy, as any of the many SUVs in the film (all of which are destroyed, of course, save one) can be driven through the holes in the plot without leaving a mark. The whole thing is executed with an artless stiffness by people who might have learned acting at the local junior college. They were selected more on the basis of appearance than ability. They are good enough to pull this picture off, since they can at least remember the words they're supposed to recite. Suffice it to say, then, that the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and crime pays big if you do it with honour and panache. There are a number of references to things that apparently happened in earlier films in the franchise; if you're like me and haven't seen any of them, you won't know what they're talking about, but don't let that worry you. None of it matters.
I'm sure this movie is now available at DVD rental boxes everywhere. If you're fourteen, literally or figuratively, or want to be for a few hours because the wife is out of town, or whatever, by all means, run down and rent a copy of this action-packed film. Call up your buddies from college (or junior-high) and get together to watch it. Just remember to use coasters.