Fast Five

Fast Five ★★★★½

I stand by my claim that this and 7 are the high points of the franchise. So many top-shelf set pieces here: the train robbery, the goddamn looney-tunes bank vault sequence, the safe house raid and rooftop chase in Rio, holy smokes. This movie in particular does such a surprisingly great job of balancing the nonsensical meathead vehicular mayhem that we go to these movies for with the earnest familial stuff - which, at the end of the day, is what gives this franchise distinction from your run-of-the-mill tentpole property. The team dynamics have felt off or strained in later movies ("Fate of the Furious" is a particularly egregious offender in this regard), but Justin Lin, consummate journeyman professional that he is, really nails all that here. This was the last time I remember Vin Diesel being watchable in anything and Paul Walker... man, watching this, you realize that the franchise sort of died when he died. Not to say I don't enjoy "Hobbs & Shaw," but that warm, loving, unaffected surfer-bro sincerity that Walker possessed in spades ultimately may have been responsible for restoring a sense of equilibrium to these very testosterone-heavy movies. He was the glue, and the series just isn't as watchable without him. As for Dwayne Johnson, he’s dripping with sweat in every single scene. King. This movie fucks at 200mph and I can't fucking wait until we can go to movie theaters again so I can see these car boys go to space in "Fast 9.” Perfect for those of us who like our dessert first.

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