2011-04-29

Fast Five – Good, Dumb Fun

by Yo Snyder

When I saw the trailer for Fast Five, two things caught my
attention. The first was Vin Diesel throwing down with Dwayne The Rock
Johnson in an all-out brawl, and the second was a couple of Dodge
Chargers tearing through the street pulling a huge bank vault behind
them. That just looked cool, and all I wanted was for the movie to
deliver on the promise of those things being as cool as the trailer made
them appear. Does it? Oh yeah, it definitely does. So is Fast Five
a good movie? No. Actually its pretty dumb. However, its a whole lot
of doesnt- really-make-sense, over- the-top, action- packed,
car-wrecking and racing fun; so yeah, I definitely enjoyed it.

Now, Ive never seen any of the past films (is anyone else surprised there are five of them, with more possibly on the way?), but I was still able to enjoy Fast Five
as a stand-alone, ridiculous action film. However, I could tell that if
you are a fan of the series, there are some nice pay-offs in this
final movie. Like all of the rest of the character development, these
moments are short and mostly superficial, but theyre sure to mean
something to long-time fans, so its nice the movie stops to catch its
breath long enough to include them.

Still, Fast Five isnt about emotional farewells with
well-developed characters, its about the chaos, mayhem and action of
going fast in cool cars. Oh, it also has guns and good ol fashion fist
fights. Good times. I especially appreciated how (for the most part)
this was a rare movie to feature a lot of practical effects and real
stunt-work. It wasnt overly cluttered with enhanced CG action; it had
real cars and real guys doing crazy stuff. Nice. Also, no fussy lets
convert it to 3D to make more money nonsense. All of that combines to
help make this movie as fun as it is, and Im glad the director and the
studio were bold enough to go so far in this old-school direction.

Im not going to waste much time talking about the plot (such as it
is); its really just there to give everyone an excuse to punch, shoot,
or race. However, there was one line and idea that jumped out at me. Dom
and his family are ready to give up life on the run, and they need to
finish this one last job in order to get the money necessary to
disappear forever. They want to do this because theyre tired: tired of
being chased, tired of being on every wanted poster, tired of having
life dictated to them, tired of not being free. As one character says;
Runnin aint free.

Thats when I realized that these characters are stand-ins for us
all. Were all on the run, and some of us dont even know why. Some of
us are running because we dont want to be caught, judged and condemned.
And the one whos chasing us is the holy hound of heaven. The funny
thing is our pursuer offers us the very things we desire most: freedom,
peace, love, and joy. We are pursued because of his great love for us,
because he already paid the price on the cross for us, took our judgment
and condemnation upon himself so we wouldnt have to bear that which we
couldnt carry. Hes chasing us to share that good news with us. And
yet we run, and as we run we long to be free, but we run from the very
one who promises to set us free. Its true; runnin aint free. Freedom
comes when we stop running and simply rest in the grace and love of our
eternal pursuer.

There was one other thing about Fast Five that kind of
bothered me. At the end of the movie, our theater was cheering the
success of our heroes pulling off their clever little heist. I leaned
over to my friend and asked; Arent they technically the bad guys?
After all, Dom and his family are bunch of crooks; good crooks maybe,
but theyre still breaking the law. Why am I happy that they get away
with it? Plus, they endangered (and mostly likely harmed or killed;
dont know how they couldnt have) bunches of innocent bystanders and
drivers with their crazy shenanigans. I get that these bad guys are
stealing from a bad-er guy, like some kind of Robin Hoods, and I get
that the cops are all corrupt cops (a fact constantly reiterated in
the film) and so its not like theyre taking on real police-officers;
but still, these are the bad guys were rooting for. I cant help but
wonder what this says about our society when Oceans Elven, The Italian Job, Thomas Crown, Fast Five
and so on paint bad guys as good guys. Isaiah 5:20 says Woe to those
who call evil good and good evil, and that doesnt sound good and when
were cheering for the bad guys. Isnt that whats happening?

Setting those issues aside, I did have fun at Fast Five.
Its the type of over-the-top, ridiculous-but-cool kind of action flick
that we dont see too much of any more. Its not too serious, or
brooding, or dark, or gritty, or gory, or lewd or any of those things
that some feel are necessary to make a serious film these days. Its
fist fights and fast cars in a world that asks viewers not to think too
much. Its a turn-off-your-brain and enjoy-the-ride-kind of romp. Its
tough guys delivering tough-guy lines with tough-guy voices. Its cars
doing things cars could never really do but youve always wanted them to
ever since you got your first Hot Wheels. Its a movie that made me
want to play a video game (Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit with its racers and cops set-up fit the bill nicely). Its loud, its crazy, its dumb and its fun. Would I recommend Fast Five?
If you could catch it at the dollar theater or Netflix it, sure.
Otherwise, you may want to save your brain cells for something slightly
more productive.

Guide Rating: 5/7