Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges.
Fast & Furious 5 Rio Heist (to make it easier for some to identify the franchise) is loud, has lots of actors with muscles and very few scenes with racing muscle cars, and a plot that’s far from original. Still, it overtook animated film Rio’s rule of the box office roost and takes pole position on the charts. Perhaps it has something to do with Rio!
Woo-hoo fast cars and hot babes. Yeah you totally have to leave your brains at home for this one dude. And sure enough, all the ‘dudes’ in the critics core loved this film. Perhaps it’s the ‘dude’ thing to say. I’m all for a bit of mindless entertainment. But somehow I just wasn’t entertained by this film.
So Dom Toretto (Diesel, huh, not like Nitro?) and his ‘family’ Mia (Brewster) and Brian (Walker) are on the run from the law and end up escaping to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As if they haven’t had enough, they decide to take on one ‘last’ job carjacking some speed machines off a train. And what do you know, they get a whole lot more than they bargained for. Now they’re on the run from Rio’s biggest crime boss Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) and a crack force of steroid-ridden, beef head Feds lead by Agent Hobbs (Johnson).
Sure there are lots of cars getting smashed up, lots of chases and a bank vault of action (you’ll get it when you see it) at the end but I just couldn’t be bothered by it all. Dom assembles a group of specialists to take on Reyes and a corrupt Rio police force who are hiding Reyes’s millions in a vault at their headquarters.
Okay, so here’s my thing. They have to get past the Police HQ’s cameras, so they have all the specialists on the team. They need fast cars to evade the swivelling cameras. They’re testing out cars, each one taking turns to see who can get their car to evade a mock-up of the police cams. Then, after a good amount of time and testing, they think, why not steal the cop cars. And this they do in 10 seconds! So they didn’t think of that before? I guess steroids do that to you. Oh, oh and then at the end, they don’t even bother using the cop cars, they just bust in to the HQ and pull the vault out of the wall.
Interestingly, the girls in the audience were all giggles. My ex-colleague and friend Manisha enlightened me: Because they’re all so well-muscled you see, the girls will like the film more. And yes, inspite of girls protesting they don’t like the beefed up look, I agree that they in fact secretly do like it, in fact they’re as obsessed with men’s curves as we are with theirs. It’s just they’re a lot more subtle. And another girl told me: well if they’re muscles are big, then ehem…
Tight t-shirts, tight pants and a very sweaty Dwayne Johnson having it out with Vin Diesel leave very little room for any acting chops to be displayed. In fact the dialogue is laughable. Some of the slapstick jibes by actors like Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson are funny though, proving that black actors have a lot more to offer up, and ladies they have a big… voice (Ludacris performs for the soundtrack). The music by Brian Tyler is heavy on the ears and that’s probably what ups the action quotient in your mind.