Waiting for the movie theater lights to dim I could not figure out if “Fast Five” was merely a cash cow marketing scheme to squeeze more life out of a franchise or if it was an actual attempt to revitalize and continue a story for the sake of the bigger picture.
The change of the movie’s title from something without the word furious in it to “Fast Five” made me see the creators of the project realized that the brand itself held little weight but it was the characters that were what made the films so popular. Seeing this, it was not surprising that all the major characters from the four subsequent films were brought back for the next installment of the series.
Looking back at the previous films the only similarities they all shared in terms of creation was producer Neal H. Mortiz.
In the opening scenes I could tell this was more than a sequel but a reboot of the “Fast and Furious” franchise. The film immediately dove into action-packed sequences leaving off where the previous film left off. Within a few minutes the film introduced insane driving, sporty cars and vehicular mayhem obviously playing on the movie’s strengths.
There was never a dull moment in the film and it never tried to go too deep into character development, nor did it try to sedate the audience with an overdose of adrenaline and twisted metal. There was a careful blend of both which continuously pushed the film forward whereas overdrawn character development and lengthy introductions set previous installments back.
As a movie “Fast and Furious” understood its intent and purpose: to entertain and wow the audience. It was also aware of its target audience, which by the look of the theater audience was male dominated. By doing this, the film was careful in the use of its characters, its jokes, and the overall direction of the film and the way in which the film progressed.
Aside from bringing in previous characters from the past, the film introduced new ones such as Officer Lucas Hobbs played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Johnson brought the character to life creating an intimidating and formidable antagonist that did not feel like a revamped and recycled bad guys.
This film takes place in Brazil, more specifically Rio. The settings and many of the shots are different than urban scene of Los Angeles or Miami creating a more exotic and distant feel to the films plot.
Although there was an abundance of cars the film did not focus so much on the racing aspect. The film focused more on the overall heist making it feel like a mix between a not as intricate “Oceans 11” film and a $100 million action film. The heist itself made for interesting screen time and set up tension and resonated doubts if the super team could possibly pull off their master plan.
There was one race in the film though it was short it evoked a nostalgic feeling as well as a craving for more utter destruction, illegal race cars, and speed racer camera angles.
The events leading up to the ending are a bit surprising actually and the ending itself is smart yet practical but initially it’s what most audiences who are invested in the film will hope for. The sequences at the end make use of the film’s $125 million budget. Although some of moments are absurd and clearly defy logic and gravity it is an action film, so it was excusable and welcomed.
At first I was bit skeptical that it could be the highest-grossing debut for the franchise, the highest-grossing opening weekend for Universal Studios, the largest opening weekend of all time in April and the second-largest opening outside the summer and the holiday.
Fast cars, beautiful women, destruction, millions of dollars, a master plan in an exotic country with a bit of retribution and machismo family fun are the components which make it a good movie. The creators understood their audience and after four movies were able to learn from their strengths and grow from their weaknesses.
Michael Phillips can be reached at email@example.com.