After all the hype two years ago over Fast Five, I decided I should catch up on the Fast and Furious franchise (trying saying that three times fast), having only seen the original. Like many things, I procrastinated as long as I could, and now that Furious 6 is upon us, I have binge watched the first five films. Here is the final part of my look back!
Let's get this out of the way: Fast Five is the Avengers of this franchise. It seems to exist solely for the purpose of bringing together characters from the previous four films. This is the centerpiece of Justin Lin's four directorial turns with the franchise, and it may just be the crown jewel.
It picks up right where the previous installment left off, with Brian (Paul Walker) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) breaking Dom (Vin Diesel) out of prison. They cross paths with a criminal warlord in Rio de Janeiro, and assemble a team to take him down. Besides our central cast, they bring back Tyrese and Ludacris from 2 Fast, and Sung Kang from Tokyo Drift. It also brings in Dwayne Johnson, which honestly, is never a bad idea.
At its core, this is a joyous film. The entire cast seems to be having a blast, and there is enough of a MacGuffin to feel like we are accomplishing something. The action is also at a series high so far, throwing physics out the window to relish in the face of excess and adrenaline. This allows Fast Five to embrace the kind of stunts seen in the video games the franchise has influenced over the years.
Fast Five does have weak points, however. At over two hours, it can feel a little long, and the dialogue is functional, if not simplistic. None of this mattered to me when watching the film, because broadening the ensemble beyond Walker and Diesel helps the exposition and comedy land much better than previous installments.
Fast Five is the best film in the series to date, with the infectious energy and comic book team-up transcending any faults.
Best (worst) lines:
Roman (Tyrese): Guess they did, considering your ass is here. When are you gonna give Martin Luther King his car back?
Tej (Ludacris): As soon as you give Rick James his jacket back.
Roman (Tyrese): You say what? This shit just went from Mission:Impossible to mission: in-frickin'-sanity! Whatever man.
Some final thoughts on the series:
I was actually dreading this project, but watching all five of these films in a weekend was actually quite a fun experience. Individually, Tokyo Drift and Fast Five are probably the only films I would come back to again, but watching the other films in the franchise really does enhance the return on investment in Fast Five. Never has a franchise built so much out of so little.
My official ranking is as follows:
1. Fast Five (The fifth film)
2. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (The third film)
3. Furious 6 (The sixth film)
4. Fast & Furious (The fourth film)
5. The Fast and the Furious (The first film)
6. 2 Fast 2 Furious (The second film)
These titles are ridiculous, confusing, and inconsistant.
Which film and title are your favorite!?