Don't Ever Let Them Get Into Cars: Fast Five (2011)
Let me preface this by saying, I was never a fan of this series. The long and short of it is, I hate cars. So a series about hot people and even hotter cars had zero appeal to me. Of course, they were a smash hit, spawning a franchise that would never quit as long as asses were in seats and, man, the amount of asses seemed infinite.
Here comes Fast Five and my opinion stayed the same. That was until a fellow Vulcan co-worker made a damn great case for it: "Real cars were being run into the ground with jaw-dropping stunts with very little CG to sell the magic." He said a ton more but needless to say, I was sold and decided to give it a fair shake. This would be my first experience with the Fast series and let me admit to Planet Earth that I was dead wrong about this saga. Fast Five converted me easily with a hustle that was very infectious. All of the main characters, as far as this story was concerned, loved one another and would go to Hell and back risking all for one another. This made me want to follow them anywhere, quite frankly.
This was also very much like their Avengers movie where all the characters from the series' history collaborate to kick all the ass. Director Justin Lin returns to direct and he was not joking around with this one. From the first major action sequence, he is blowing us away with an exhilarating car heist, from a moving train no less. Justin Lin was also smart enough to cross pollinate his earlier film, Better Luck Tomorrow with the Fast series by adding actor Sung Kang. Ask anyone madly in love with the Fast series, Han rocks with his smooth nature and never-cracking-under-pressure delivery.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Agent Hobbs makes his entry into the series with way too much gusto as the manliest man. He gives our heroes a great chase before realizing how fucking great they are, so he ends up joining them to a certain extent. I find it kind of weird that he perspires enough sweat in this film to fill a swimming pool, even in a well air conditioned setting. I can’t forget the women of the series (Jordana Brewster, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky) who most definitely deserve a ton of respect. They do more than just assist the toughs of the picture, they make the heavenly finale possible. Without them there is no happy ending, period.
Now let's talk about the pure joy that is the last half hour of this motion picture. We are treated to a car chase for the ages, where several cast members all have a role in pulling off a major heist, a heist they have been setting up the entire picture. The job: stealing a huge safe, loaded with millions, from a police station. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker hitch the safe to their two cars and take off through the streets of Brazil in broad daylight, like it ain’t shit. They have also created a brutal wrecking ball in the process, smashing everything in their path from cars to banks. It’s a sequence too insane and fun to deny, the purest in popcorn cinema and summer entertainment. This chase alone was worth the price of admission, believe me.
For those who have not seen this, close this page now because I am about to talk about the ending and can not really do so without spoilers. Ok? Here we go. The thing that really sold me on the Fast series as a whole was this final montage of the main characters spending their earnings. I mean, I was truly entertained throughout a film that had car action, foot chases, a killer one-on-one fist fight and even more car action, but the celebratory nature of this ending showed a true love for its characters. It’s these characters, a rag tag bunch that became a family you fell in love with, that go out like Gods, being treated with the utmost tender loving care. For me, becoming a true outsider to leaving the theater wanting a sequel immediately, well, it only reinforced the old lesson: never knock it until you try it. Fast Five is a damn blast and the Fast series was something I was dead wrong about.