Justin Lin’s Fast Five

I have discovered the key to watching and enjoying the fast and furious series is to go in with no expectations.  Because I had no expectations going in, it blew them away. Of course, I was comparing to the previous Fast and Furious, and this was head and shoulders above those, but that’s not terribly hard.   Granted you absolutely have to maintain suspension of disbelief, as tiny cars overturn giant armored buses and haul enormously heavy steel encased safes across miles of city road, but if you believe that Vin Diesel and Paul Walker somehow have the capability of doing that without accidentally killing anyone, then you’re set.

Justin Lin has come a long way from Better Luck Tomorrow.  This movie is jam packed with nitrous filled  large moving vehicles inexorably and inevitably crashing into each other at explosively high speeds, hot girls being able to drive AND tune up/tear down vehicles and master incredibly complex military-grade software and beefy big guys slamming on brakes and getting into fights.  Oh yeah, and tons of gun fights with ridiculously large weapons.  In rio.  In other words, it’s a teenage boy’s wet dream.  But, it’s actually also strangely enjoyable for many of those not in that particular target demographic.

You know, one thing I was surprised about was the lack of high speed car chases that were in the other films.  And yes, in order to do research and prepare myself for the movie, I watched the first two movies.  I realized afterwards it would have been helpful to at least watch fast and furious (number 4) in the series as well.  It’s not 100% necessary, but it helps in terms of understanding the background of the story.  And know the characters.  Cuz fast five is all about the all-star cast getting together for a dumber, more violent. ghetto-er version of Ocean Eleven-style heist in Rio de Janiero, with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker as the George Clooney and Brad Pitt characters respectively.  Yeah, it wasn’t so believable to me either.  They even have the pair of dumb squabbling brothers who liked to do more of the technical stuff.

That said, it did have a number of redeeming factors that were maybe a notch better in this version of the elaborate heist.  First of all, eye-candy.  Paul Walker and Tyrese….HOLLAH!!!  I’m not a Vin Diesel/the Rock type of gal myself, but if you’re into that, there’s a lot of that action goin on too.  Secondly Vin Diesel and the Rock square it off, which to me, was the best part of the movie.  I always kinda thought they were the same person, and to see them duke it out on the big screen was just kind of trippy honestly.  I kept saying to myself, wait which one is winning now?  They’re both just so big!  Like Vin Diesel’s arms are like tree trunks, but then standing next each other gives you an idea of exactly how MASSIVE the rock is.  Gianormous.

So in other words, if you can ignore the obvious inconsistencies with the laws of physics, plot holes, predictable story-line and 2-dimensional characters, and focus just on the incredible action-packed sequences and on-screen eye candy, it can be an enjoyable experience and in all honesty, probably one of the better action films for the summer….$5

Recommendations from …:
Oceans Eleven
Fast and Furious Series
Bourne Identity

P.S. In addition to making sure you watch Fast and Furious 1, 2, and 4 before watching Fast Five, I recommend staying through the credits if you do watch Fast Five.  I don’t necessarily know if it’s worth it per the press about it being a big surprise, but it’ll probably help if you ever plan on watching Fast Six.

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Hanna

Hanna kicks ass!  Well, the movie was pretty good, but literally, seriously, scary little kid.  Saorise Ronan does an admirable job portraying an albino-esque girl who has essentially been raised by her dad in the wilderness and taught how to survive in a coming of age type of film amidst government conspiracy.  Can I say, I really like Saorise Ronan.  What a talented little girl.  She was good in Atonement too.

Anyhow, besides the predictable social errors Hanna makes while trying to reintegrate into society, a ploy that has been done numerous times in the past that serve as a kind of comic relief to the concept of a killer adolescent girl, Hanna, the movie has a pretty zingy soundtrack and a fairly good pace.

I also love Cate Blanchett in pretty much any role she does.  Whether it be this hard-as-nails, mannish Southern bitch, or as the regal Queen of England learning how to rule, I always am astounded by how well she does with what she has.  Eric Bana was also alright.  It’s hard for me to assess because it seems he always has to play this emotionless, accented, detached character, but he does have a nice scene of swimming half naked across what seems like the Arctic Ocean.

Hanna was fun, enjoyable, forgettable…$5

Recommendations from …:
Salt
Bourne Identity
Tarzan

Salt

Salt was….salty.  And by salty I mean, not very good.  The marketing for this campaign was spot on…Who is Salt?  And this continued throughout the movie.  I was left confused 60% of the movie, which generally does not in principle, make for good movie.  The other 40% of the time, I was either bored, marveling at Angelina Jolie’s long long lashes and wondering if she uses Latisse (ok, I watch a LOT of hulu and by the way, Claire Danes is looking good these days!), and for the remaining time, amazed by how thin Angelina Jolie looked for being in her late 30s and resolving to go on a diet.

Angelina Jolie’s appearance alone gave it one star cuz she’s hot, but from that point onwards, there isn’t much to give it more stars.  Sure there were ok fight scenes, good to see girls kicking ass, but since I watch a lot of “Chuck” these days, I’m used to super hot girls kicking ass.  There was a small twist in the plot, but it was a little too obvious what was going to happen and entirely too obvious there will be a Salt 2.  One thing I would add is there is a pretty killer kill scene in the last 10 minutes of the movie, which almost makes it worth sitting through the movie and feeling your brain melt.  On second thought, nah, it’s not really worth it. Watch the inevitable clip of the scene on youtube  and you’re set.  It is rather amazing seeing how flexible angelina jolie is;  she must do a lot of yoga.

If I had to analyze this, the movie is defined by the word “anti-climactic” and is an extra long preview for Salt 2 that ran 2 hours too long.  On the other hand, the length of the movie does exhibit Angelina’s ability to swing any hair color or style.  I bet she would even look good as a redhead!

In my books, if you are a hardcore Angelina Jolie fan, this *might* be worth watching in the theaters.  For most, you’d be better off waiting until it comes out on disc, or better yet, wait until Salt II comes out on disc so you can watch the preview and THEN the real movie. . . $2

If you heart Salt:

Recommendations from …
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Wanted
Bourne Identity series

Trailer:

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