Fast Five micro review: 2 mildly amusing, visually-stunning action scenes sandwiched around 1 hour and 10 minutes of horrifyingly boring exposition, bogged down by one of the laziest scripts of the year.

Fast Five full review: Many who read this review and are fans of the Fast franchise will say I haven’t given this film its fair shake and that I don’t even get into plot points. Frankly, for my own sanity, I don’t want to talk about the plot of trying to rob a rich drug dealer who owns the police in Rio De Janeiro, for it will only aggravate me and will not make the movie look any more enticing to those interested.

Those who say Michael Bay is the Nickelback of cinema clearly haven’t seen Fast Five. That was the first Fast movie I had seen since 2 Fast 2 Furious, and I seriously think Michael Bay would have sent the script back for several rewrites. The movie makes no bones about not being remotely realistic, even having characters chased by gunmen down descending levels of roofs. Of course, even though the gunmen have an incredible advantage of being able to shoot OVER chimneys, none of the dozens of bullets hit the heroes.

Additionally, when a movie has so many cringe-worthy lines, completely cheesy ideas and so many preposterous scenes, it’s not a good idea to have the middle hour and 10 minutes have absolutely zero action.

If I have a general distaste for all but one of the characters and a complete disbelief in their safety being jeopardized in any way, shape or form, I would at least like some mindless fights and action scenes.

The twists fell flat, the music score was pretty cheesy, and the more innocent lives they put at risk, the more I began to wonder how this was the only way any of them could make a living.

The only Bay movies I’ve watched are Armageddon. The Rock, The Island, and – the only one I paid for – Transformers. All of them were more handsomely shot and all of them had more action than Fast Five. I’m not defending any of them as quality movies, but I found out American action films can get considerably worse.

American action films lack the attention to detail that Asian ones often have. They lack the poetry and the money shots. They replace real fighting, real stunts, and sympathetic characters with quick-cut editing, CGI fights, and cynical characters.

The only things that save Fast Five from a lower rating is that the two action scenes do zip along, they do feature some pretty crazy shots, there ARE three likable characters among the unconvincing ones, and the one convincing performer – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – brings an unrivaled bravado and intensity that no one else in the film matches.

The Rock, similar to Jason Statham, plays ostensibly the same character in every movie. At the beginning of the film, he’s the by-the-book, cold-hearted DEA agent every other agent looks up to. By the end of the film, after seeing a few of his team killed, he helps out with the heist (instead of being mad at the crew who played a part in getting his employees killed) AND lets the criminals have 24 hours to get away.

When every joke about racing cars or grabbing booty falls flat – and every groan-inducing part of their plan works despite defying all logic and realism -, the Rock’s conviction, intensity and actual action-movie physical-frame shine through as it is clear he is having fun. In the grand, stupid scheme of things, that resonates with most of us and we end up having scant moments of fun the few times he’s on screen. Just don’t ask for more.

4 out of 10


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