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Fast Five movie poster

Fast Five: Movie Review

Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13
Directed by: Justin Lin

Starring: Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Elsa Pataky
Released by: Universal Pictures

In Short: Get ready for a joy ride of crazy, breathtaking racecar action sequences in this empty-headed "thriller." But don't look too hard at the plot, for the holes in it are the size of a very large garage.

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"Fast Five" Big on Action, Small on Plausible Plot

As the credits roll at the end of "Fast Five," the producers want to make sure that anyone who just experienced this totally ridiculous action thrill ride does not go out and try the stunts at home. There's a disclaimer that explains that the nonstop action sequences — like driving a racecar off a speeding train, for example — are not actually real.

It's pretty funny to think that anyone seeing this fifth installment in the hugely popular "The Fast and Furious" film franchise might really believe that any of the driving sequences could be done on a typical city street. But apparently in the ten years since the first film was released, people have gotten into trouble for trying to duplicate the death-defying driving highlighted in the original and the sequels.

This time out, our hero, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is in jail, sentenced to a long stretch with no possibility of parole. But his gorgeous sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and her impossibly handsome boyfriend Brian (Paul Walker) have other plans, and thus this Jason Lin-helmed flick starts off with a bang — and a break out of jail.

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in Fast Five Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster in Fast Five

So now the trio, who have floated back and forth from the wrong side of the law to the right (and back again) as the franchise has evolved, have to slip out of the United States. They choose Rio de Janeiro, where they should be able to take cover in the massive hillside ghettos that dot that Brazilian city.

But (of course!) they just cannot keep their heads down and their mouths shut. A caper comes up, the chance for a big score lures them onto that speeding train, and away we go. Soon there's the added bonus of an über-buff Dwayne Johnson thrown in; he's a relentless agent of the U.S. government, bent on bringing Dom and crew back to justice, and he's got the firearms and manpower to almost make that happen.

"Fast Five" requires the viewer to seriously suspend any need for plausible plot points or realism of any sort. Don't try to put it together, or it all just falls apart. But despite plot holes so vast that you could drive a Lexus LFA right through, it is still a guilty pleasure. It's a fun, fast ride, filled with eye-popping action sequences and those gorgeous top-of-the-line muscle cars, the ones that characterize every one of these popcorn movies and keep people coming back for more. The final sequence is laughably ridiculous, and other moments earlier in the narrative are totally derivative of films we've seen in the past, but none of that actually stops us from enjoying the ride.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters


(Updated: 04/29/11 CT)

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