Fast Five

Fast Five ★★★★½

What a bounce back from Fast & Furious, adopting the hangout, Ocean’s 11-vibe and adding Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a sort of antihero to our outlaw heroes was a better match for this series than the Diet Mann-posturing of the last one. Gets in the right gear from the first-act’s succession of set-pieces. A nice practical bus-flip in the prologue - quaint (hilariously so) but highly effective - followed by the train-heist, then nicely toning it down with a smaller scale footchase that makes nice use of Brazilian favelas, the movie then kinda settles down for the second-act. It’s fun seeing the gang come together. This is widely regarded as the best entry, and the palpable sense of camaraderie is probably a good reason why. An action highlight in the midsection would have to be when they race the “invisible cars,” - for the first time in my rewatches the trash-talk (that the characters clearly have never been able to hear amongst each other) truly felt natural. Once the whole Peter Berg-ian shootout takes place - an effective sequence - you’re pretty much off to the races. I didn’t actually catch this one in theaters back in 2011, as my interest dwindled on the franchise after Tokyo Drift, but it would reignite briefly, two years later, with a Memorial Day matinee of its’ follow-up, Furious 6.

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