I have proclaimed my unabashed love for The Fast and the Furious series before and I will do it again anytime someone asks me what my cinematic guilty pleasure is. Now I will admit that the fourth instalment, Fast and Furious, had me thinking that the series had run its course. Fortunately, director Justin Lin has proven once again that you can still make lemonade from used lemons. The latest edition in the franchise, is an outlandish action film that takes more than a few cues from Ocean’s Eleven series and I loved every minute of it! Here are five reasons why I love Fast Five:
1. The train heist scene wonderfully sets the tone for the gleeful absurdity that is Fast Five. It is hard enough believing that Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) could survive a truck crashing into a moving train, let alone the fact that he hangs on to said truck as it catches on fire. The minute Brian and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) drive the car off the cliff, my brain officially closed up shop for the day and I was able to thoroughly enjoy the over-the-top goodness.
2. Bringing back old favourites means less onscreen time for Mia (Jordana Brewster). Look, I am sure Jordana Brewster is a great person in real life, but her character Mia is just not that interesting. Fortunately with the likes of Sung Kang, Ludacris, Tyrese Gibson and Eva Mendes making an appearance in the film, Brewster can just fade into the background.
3. Setting the film in Rio de Janeiro really helped to breathe new life into the series. The perceived lawlessness of the land, not to mention the overall corruption in the police force, gives everyone from the villain Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) to Toretto a false sense of confidence. Where else in the world could Toretto and his team, the most wanted individuals in the entire world, openly defy Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and his team of commando by hanging out in plain sight at a street race.
4. Speaking of Hobbs, Dwayne Johnson was a much needed addition. One of the main problems with the franchise has always been the lack of a proper villain. Every villain has been rather forgettable. While Hobbs is not a villain per say, he does provide Toretto with an adversary who match him in both the brains and the brawn category.
5. The laws of physics be damned I say! The final action sequence, which features Toretto and O’Connor, dragging a giant safe through the centre of Rio de Janeiro is both ridiculous and exhilarating at the same time. The logical part of my brain states that there is no way that the sequence can occur without a single civilian getting hurt. However, the fun side of my brain loved every minute of it. There is something thoroughly satisfying about watching the carnage that ensues as the safe flings across the street like a tetherball.