Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fast and Furious, I'd Like You to Meet My Friend Ocean's 11

Directed by JUSTIN LIN
Starring VIN DIESEL, PAUL WALKER, JORDANA BREWSTER, SUNG KANG, TYRESE GIBSON, LUDACRIS, GAL GADOT, ELSA PATAKY, and DWAYNE JOHNSON

Trailer.  The fifth and not so final installment of this franchise can best be described as a car chase movie, sans car chases--save the final scene; lots of cliches (stolen from better movies); and an extra topping of melodramatic butter.  I usually give movies wide berth and on occasion I give good reviews to semi-decent films that were not well-reviewed, but I beg to differ with this one.  Essentially, the video below describes the screenwriting that went into creating this film.  I'm really surprised that Fast Five has gotten such good reviews.

Plot This film picks up where the last film left off.  Disgraced FBI agent Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) leads a mobile assault on a prison bus, which carries known outlaw and friend, Dominic "Dom" Toretto (Vin Diesel).  Brian is accompanied by his girlfriend and Dom's sister, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster).  The three of them become fugitives from justice and settle down in Rio De Janeiro.  As we know being a fugitive is hard, not to mention impoverishing.  So they decide to do a job stealing high-end cars confiscated from drug dealers, with Dom's friend Vince (Matt Schulze).  Vince was in the first film and had a crush on Mia.  Vince was also one of the first people to warn Dom that Brian was a cop, which ("wah-wah") happened to be true.  Needless to say, there is tension between Vince and Brian. 

Oh and did I mention that these cars are on a train?  Stealing cars off a train isn't easy, so when the job goes bad, the plot thickens.  The crew flips on the people who hired them and decide to take a car for themselves.  It just happens to be the one car that they shouldn't have taken.  That's when this film turns into a poor man's Ocean's 11.  The owner of the vehicle is a corrupt businessman and money launderer, Hernan Reyes played by one of my favorite bad guy actors (Joaquim de Almeida, character actor best known from Clear and Present Danger).  Reyes takes from people anyway he can, mostly legally and he has a series of stash houses all around town.  So the Fast and Furious crew call in their big guns from past sequels, including Han Lue from Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift (Sung Kang); Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Ludacris) from Fast and Furious 2; Gisele Harabo (Gal Gadot) and Tego Leo (Tego Calderón) from Fast and Furious 4; and singer Rico Santos (Don Omar) who had songs on previous Fast and Furious soundtracks and now has a starring role.  Tego and Rico bring some much needed comic relief to the film.  In comparison with Ocean's 11, they would be equivalent to the Scott Caan's and Casey Affleck's characters.

Complicating things, the crew has a tough as nails federal agent looking for them (Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson).  Hobbs' reputation is relentless and he pursues the crew as such.  He is assisted by local police officer Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky).  Pulling from another Steven Soderbergh film, Out of Sight, Elena develops a crush on the fugitive they're after, Dom Toretto.  Long story short, the crew is on the run from both Reyes and Hobbs, while attempting to pull off the heist of their lives.  I've actually made it sound more interesting than it is.  There is a post-credit scene, which I will not spoil for you.  I will only say that Eva Mendes makes a cameo and there will most likely be another sequel.  *sigh.

TWO -1/2 OUT OF FIVE STARS

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