Fast Five

Fast Five ★★★★

I'm guessing this is the real nexus point of this series of movies - the point at which that thin, attenuated tether to any vestige of realism gets gleefully snipped and these characters go careening off into a parallel universe of idiocy. Idiocy can be fun though, and I do think most fans of these films are fully aware of how stupid this all is. I hope.

OK, I have a theory that, at some point - maybe F13 or something - Dom Toretto is going to slowly open his eyes, finding himself lying in the coma ward, having been shot in the head in the fourth movie and so the rest of the movies from Fast Five onwards (plus Tokyo Drift) have all been his disturbed, fantastical coma dreams. The longer this franchise goes on, the more inevitable that seems.

Of course throwing The Rock into the mix at this point is just going to make everything better (at least that seemed like an inalienable truth until I watched the film after this one). And while we're at it, why don't we bring back Han and Roman, and invite Gal Gadot along again because she's too good looking not to.

I just have to shake my head in admiration of Universal's good fortune here. As an unintended consequence of their equivocation over whether or not they really believed in this franchise, along with Diesel's own prevarication, which led to such a ridiculously disjointed series of events and characters to this point, the convergence of all these familiar faces feels like the establishment of a cinematic universe akin to the MCU. It's so ironic that Universal tried so hard to do that with the monsters / Dark Universe stuff and failed so miserably, yet managed to pull one together here despite themselves.

Plus we get to watch a full movie set in Rio de Janeiro, which looks fucking amazing. Now we have decided to turn this into a heist narrative, and despite this strange swerve, there's something right and natural about doing so. There's also a lot of amusing hang-out stuff - Tyrese Gibson really comes into his own as a comic relief - and a bunch of ludicrous (the adjective not the actor) action set pieces. The novelty alone of this strange Frankenstein's monster of a film is enough to make it worth loving - but it's just fucking fun.

Having said that, and knowing how many more movies there are to go in this marathon I find myself in, it did occur to me as the end credits rolled that my enthusiasm for these films might start flagging soon. I don't know how much more of it I can be up for. And the next film kind of pushed that thought to the fore. To be continued...

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