Fast Five

Fast Five ★★★★★

There's gotta be a fan theory that says Dom actually died in the opening truck flip, and that the rest of the F&F saga takes place in his mind as he's dying, thus explaining the increasingly ludicrous turn the series takes. I'm imagining each truck tumble constitutes a sequel.

Anyway yeah, this is still great. Easily the pinnacle of the whole series, Fast Five is the one that manages the perfect balance between heightened theatrics without going too far, and down-to-earth sentimentality without devolving into mawkishness. As always whenever I watch this movie, I'm astonished that something that bears all the hallmarks of big budget studio fuckery manages to take all the elements that movies of this kind make unbearable, but actually uses them right. It just highlights how much of a miracle this is; the fifth film in a series that started life as a B-grade Point Break ripoff, with a budget this big and stars this bright, and the thing not only works, but it has the same level of craft and care behind it as any number of passion projects.

This thing’s placement in the series is really interesting, because while I argued in my Furious Seven review that the series should’ve stopped there, there’s something about the fourth Fast & Furious movie that I clocked to on a recent rewatch, and that’s that it kind of serves to close the loop on the first, I guess “quadrant” of movies. I ragged on it before, but in this light the title “Fast & Furious” actually completely works, if you take it as a finale to the stuff they set up in the very first one. So oddly, Fast Five actually had to do a lot of work in order to justify its own existence. How it gets around this is basically by doing The Avengers a full year before that movie was a thing, reuniting the stars of everyone's favorite films, plus two and three.

Theres so many great things in this. I love all the just little moments of positivity sprinkled all throughout this movie, like when everyone just stops to congratulate Brian and Mia on their baby. It transitions into the first ever “Salud, Mi Familia” speeches, but just that positive affirmation that came before, it makes my heart melt. So many big movies just wouldn't bother with those little moments. And of course, the stunts, still superior to whatever else CGI shit was going on that year. And this was actually a great year for classically-made modern films; Fast Five, the best F&F movie, shared the marquee with Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, the best M:I movie. You also got Drive, The Raid, Real Steel, Attack the Block, Haywire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes...what a fucking time to be alive.

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