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This Week's Movie ReviewFast Five
Two and a half stars

POSTED BY MICHAEL A. SMITH, April 28, 2011    Share

Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Justin Lin
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hour 10 minutes

For those of you not familiar with the “Fast and Furious” series of films, here’s a quick run down:

Tough guy can drive anything. Cop who can also drive anything goes undercover. Meets the tough guy’s sister. Falls in love. Hijinx ensues. Cop is now an ex-cop. More driving. Quick detour to Japan. Back to the states.

Caught up? Good.

The film opens with Dom Toretto (Diesel), the tough guy, being sentenced to 25 years in prison with no chance of early parole. Now you don’t have to be a genius to know that watching someone spend 25 years in prison does not a good movie make. With a little help from his friends Dom escapes. Fast forward.

Rio. We know it’s Rio because every fifteen minutes or so we are treated to a swooping overheard shot of the famed statue of Christ the Redeemer. Dom has reunited with Brian (Walker), the cop and his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster). The two are recruited to steal a couple of sweet cars off of a moving train. When things don’t go exactly as planned, Dom and Brian call in some friends. And once again, hijinx ensue!

I have to admit that I’ve always had a place in my critic’s heart for the “Fast/Furious” franchise. Watching cars do things I’m sure they weren’t designed to do gets the heart beating. And “Fast Five” has plenty of cars…doing things I KNOW they weren’t designed for. And when you think of it, it’s the cars that are the stars of the series. Here we are treated to a plethora of Dodge Chargers, a car that not only goes fast but apparently has the strongest bumpers in the automobile industry. On the human side, the cast does the best with what it has. Diesel has perfected the tough guy with a soft side role in films like “Pitch Black” and “xXx” (he is currently working on the “xXx” sequel) that I’m sure he could deliver his lines standing on his head. Yet, as he’s proved in films like “Saving Private Ryan” and “Find Me Guilty,” there’s more to him as an actor then just muscles. Walker is fine as Brian, though considering this is the fourth time around for the character he should have it down pat. The various female characters, including Brewster, really don’t have a lot to do except give the tough guys reasons to show that they’re human and have a heart. Johnson gets all of the good lines in the script and he spits them out with relish.

The film gets much better in its second half when it becomes an “Ocean’s Eleven” type adventure featuring many faces that will instantly be familiar to “Fast/Furious” fans. The action scenes are well staged, with plenty of high octane driving. If I had to voice my major complaint about the film it would be the sub-titles (remember, the action is going down in Rio). For some reason, Universal decided that, like the titles of the previous films, the sub-titles should ZOOM across the screen, zooming off after the line is delivered. I found them to be too fast, which slowly made me furious! Ironic, isn’t it.

This Week's Movie Review of "Fast Five" is ©2011 by Mike Smith. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2011 by Nolan B. Canova.

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