Fast Five

Fast Five ★★★★

Fast Five is like a refreshing cannonball into a swimming pool on a hot summer's day when compared to the wade through sludge that is Fast & Furious .

Anything that has ever felt confused about the series comes together so beautifully here; this is both the best Justin Lin and Fast film. The disjointed nature of the characters being dispersed randomly in separate entries is remedied when this crew of charismatic illegal street racers end up coming together in a surprisingly exuberant, emotional way. Whereas the Marvel Cinematic Universe has all their film products lined up for years to come, the Furious franchise was able to completely turn their own weird series of mostly standalone installments on it's head and into an Avengers for the layman.

While the next couple installments merely try to replicate the energy and madcap virtuosity (to varying degrees of success), Fast Five manages to carry a magical, once in a lifetime realization of lore development and lean mean filmmaking that puts it above the rest of the series. Although I do enjoy the illegal street racing found in the early F&F movies, this is where the series peaked and retroactively made those films seem better just in lieu in how brilliantly they intertwine the plots and characters in Five . When Tokyo Drift came out, for instance, everybody said "who the hell is this other white guy and random Asian dude? Fuck this!". Fast Five isn't just able to single handedly salvage not just that criticism, but also gives us time to enjoy all these characters who once were only in a single movie and put them all together here. It is really awesome to see them all interact with each other, especially if you like the first three.

One huge benefit to the roster of criminals and not-a-cop-but-also-a-cop-sometimes is The Rock, who is not just the best character in the whole franchise, but elevates the entire production to great personality action cinema in vain of Schwarzenegger's heyday. The crime aspect is also a surprising delight, what would otherwise be a fairly typical heist is again enhanced by the united cast. The final set piece is up there with the greats, it's an orgy of well realized destruction and character moments in action.

Fast Five is one of the most fun and enjoyable blockbusters in the past 10 years. It redeems the insane low point of the previous entry in spades and gives the audience exactly everything they've loved and wanted out of movies about cars, muscular men, attractive women, and a unifying theme of family. It promises good times and good vibes, and this commitment to pure entertainment is quite appreciated.

Kyle Donovan liked these reviews