Fast Five Review
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Technically, this year’s Summer Blockbuster Season doesn’t start until next week—the first weekend of May. That’s when the theaters start to load up on heroes and bad guys and big-budget explosions. But, this year, we can start the summer body count a week early, as Vin Diesel and Paul Walker face off against a tough new rival in Fast Five.

After helping Dominic Toretto (Diesel) escape a 25-to-life prison sentence, former FBI agent Brian O’Conner (Walker) suddenly finds himself on the other side of the law. Pursued and penniless, he and girlfriend Mia (Jordana Brewster) travel to Rio de Janeiro, where an old friend, Vince (Matt Schulze), gets them involved in a car heist to help them make some money to get by.

Dom shows up just in time for the heist, but they soon discover that the whole thing is a set-up by Brazilian drug lord Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). The heist attracts the attention of ruthless federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who arrives in Rio, determined to get his men.

  
 
Dom and Brian just want to get away from it all—to start a new life. But, in order to buy their freedom, they’ll need to do one big heist, so they put together a team of old accomplices who can help them pull off a near-impossible job.

This fifth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise definitely ratchets up the testosterone levels. Not only does it have the same fast cars, frantic action, and hot chicks as the previous F&F films, but it also throws in a massive heist and a whole new arsenal of big guns (and I mean that in both the literal and metaphorical senses of the word—these guys’s biceps are bigger than any of their female cast mates’ swimsuit-model waists).

In fact, while watching Fast Five, I couldn’t help but think back to a line from a popular old sketch from Saturday Night Live: “¿Quien es mas macho: Vin Diesel o Dwayne Johnson?” The addition of the tough guy formerly known as The Rock to the cast gives the film all the more muscle (not to mention a perma-scowl that perfectly pairs with Diesel’s). And, really, could you get any more badass than a showdown between the two (even if it’s a dark and blurry one)? I seriously doubt it.

Meanwhile, fans of the franchise may be a little confused by the fact that the cars take a backseat to the film’s Ocean’s Eleven-style heist. But Fast Five still has its share of high-speed chases—and the cast is like a who’s-who of franchise favorite characters.

Of course, it comes as no big surprise that Fast Five isn’t exactly Shakespeare. The writing is often pretty cheesy—so much so that even Johnson struggles to deliver his lines. And the acting is totally overdone—perhaps to emphasize the melodrama, the anger, and the sheer testosterone of it all. But while it may not have any comic book superheroes who swoop down to save the day, for all of its cheesiness and melodrama, Fast Five is still an action-packed and entertaining thriller—and it’s not a bad way to kick off another Summer Blockbuster Season.

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