After Fast Five was over, my first question wasn’t “Wouldn’t a bank vault being dragged through the Rio streets by two sedans eventually get snagged enough to at least slow the cars down?” or “Why cast Tyrese Gibson as the comic-relief motormouth character when you’ve got Ludacris right there?” Nope, I was OK with that and the myriad of other impossibilities this movie hurls at you. My question was, “Why no drifting?” Remember drifting? The concept that was the entire focus of the third film (I called it a “film”. I guess its more of a “flick”), Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift? They even brought the Asian guy back as part of the team that initiates the heist that is the centerpiece of Fast Five, and when he strolled in, all bad-ass, I relaxed into my seat and thought, “Bring on the drifting. The Tokyo drifting.” Oh, and by the way, every single character always, 100% of the time, enters in a bad-ass way.
But two hours and ten minutes later, nary a single drift. And for a movie that makes it a point to reunite the various characters from past movies in the series who have shown a propencity for being a) fast, b) furious, or c) both, they couldn’t bother to get Lucas Black or Bow Wow to join the team? Is Tokyo Drift ignored as part of the F & F canon? It was my favorite!
I say ‘was’, because Fast Five is clearly the best of the series. It is the Goldfinger, the Dark Knight, the Short Circuit 2 of the F & F movies. It is Huckleberry Finn to the previous four movies’ Tom Sawyer. Untll this one, I liked every single F & F movie to the exact same degree. They were interchangeable, pretty much, but all delivered on what you wanted. Adam Carolla, on this week’s Bill Simmons podcast, said it best: “This movie is like a Twinkie. How do you review a Twinkie? You know exactly what you are getting, you know it isn’t good for you, but nothing will do but a Twinkie.” (I am paraphrasing).
What sets this movie a notch above the rest is the addition of The Rock. Now that he has shown what he can lend to this movie, I am afraid I must insist that every F & F movie henceforth must contain The Rock. We cannot go back to a Rock-less F & F movie. I’m serious- I think he is as vital as Vin Diesel or Paul Walker. Actually, he may be more vital than Paul Walker, who you could trade out for whoever the poor man’s Paul Walker would be… I’m thinking Mark-Paul Gosselaar?
But you need Vin Diesel, if only because I want to watch the mano y mano rematch between him and The Rock. The fight scene between them is pretty great; it was like that scene in King Kong when the giant ape fought the T-Rex. Actually, it was closer to a fight in one of the Transformers movie- two giant machines who look fairly similar to one another smashing through walls, windows, car chassis’… it is something to behold. It is one of the best “Bald Men Fighting” scenes that you are ever going to see, possibly supplanting defending champion “Mike With the Towel Around His Neck vs. My Bodyguard” from My Bodyguard.
So… yeah. The car chases are the best of the series, the first one involving stealing cars from a train being the best. The Rock is hilarious in his bad-assery, as is Diesel. Rio looks seedy as all get-out, making for the most atmospheric locale of all the movies. Its a good action movie, what can I say?
The posters for it state that “Summer begins April 29.” I am inclined to agree.