5 Things I Liked (& Didn’t) About Fast & Furious 618.05.13 # Review # No Comment
The Fast & The Furious was kicked up a further notch with the release of Fast 5, and more importantly the casting addition of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Interpol Agent Hobbs. But after Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the gang street raced into the sunset with $100m, why on Earth would they be re-teaming for one ‘last’ job? Why because The Rock says so. It turns out Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive and well (apart from the memory loss), and working with a new crack team of bad guy car-jackers led by Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). Of course, only Toretto and crew have the expertise and mad stunts to stop them. Despite the woman never having cracked a smile in her life, they decide their little family of lovable criminals is incomplete without her.
5 Things I Found Furiously Entertaining -
(1) The Rock (Agent Hobbs). You can’t ignore his influence in helping drag the Fast franchise to another level. A physical presence that dwarfs Vin Diesel and the rest of the cast and more charismatic than all of them put together. Straight-faced but hilarious when mistaken for the ‘kitchen help’, and hulking in the background when the gang are talking about him – “I smell baby oil.”
(2) The car chases are pretty spectacular, and that’s always been the selling point. From speeding around the streets of London, to chasing a tank on a Spanish bridge highway, to anchoring a car on each wing to stop a plane taking off. Every one of these scenes hits the mark.
(3) Gina Carano (Agent Riley). She could crush cars with those thighs. Unquestionably the star of the fight scenes as she beats Letty all over the London Underground.
(4) The cheesiness is so good. Brian’s (Paul Walker) a new dad and vows that his criminal days are over… Yeah, right. Vin Diesel interacting with a baby is as funny as it sounds. There’s a brilliant soap opera twist (don’t worry it’s not all a dream) near the end that actually made the entire cinema gasp in shock. I never even experienced that watching The Sixth Sense. The tone is spot on all the way through.
(5) The end credits scene. If you’ve managed to avoid the spoilerific IMDb cast list so far, well done! Continue to do so (and ignore any spoilery Fast 7 articles on this website!).
Not So Fast -
(1) It’s not Transformers-long, but at two hours ten, it felt long. The problem with sewing it together with such high octane set pieces is everything else seems rather slow and boring in comparison. With five films’ worth of back story, even a new-comer to the series can grasp their motivations quickly. Hooray for trying to add some depth, but shaving twenty minutes or so off the runtime wouldn’t have spoiled it.
(2) Michelle Rodriguez. Misery-guts personified with a ‘tough chick’ sticker on her forehead. Does Letty really have memory loss? Or is she just a terrible actor? It hits a bit of a wall when Letty and Dom flirt awkwardly in your standard comparing scars scene. After all, we’re led to believe Dom’s moved on; starting the film shacked up with Elena in the Canary Islands. She’s a bit too understanding of his obsession with finding Letty, practically forcing him along. It’s all very amicable. One suspects she needs the wardrobe space currently housing so many vests…
(3) Sure, Owen Shaw is a beast behind the wheel, but he’s not the biggest menace they’re ever going to face. Villains like this are often lazily tagged ‘ex-Special Forces’ (or SAS cos he’s British) to give them a believable chance up against much bigger heroes. But in the end it takes The Rock AND Vin Diesel to take him down…
(4) The Rock’s plenty involved as he throws a guy around an interrogation room, and pulls off some great tag team moves with Vin Diesel at the end. But sadly, no Rock Bottoms or People’s Elbows.
(5) Yeah that’s Rita Ora at the London street race…
It hovers somewhere between a genuine action classic, and the most ridiculous thing ever. The very best action movies should be a mix of both (and usually star Arnold Schwarzengger). You could argue either way whether it hits the same heights of insanity as Fast 5, but it delivers on what we want and even wets our appetite for number 7.