Solid action, potholed plot

2011-05-09 00:00

HOW do you keep a franchise fresh? No doubt this is a key question asked by many film makers in their challenge to keep fan bases happy. Fast 5, the fifth in the Fast and Furious series, is a hybrid of both heist and muscle car genres. On the surface it seems well-suited to this development.

The main protagonists, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), were always masters at grand theft auto and the deeds of the charismatic criminals were somehow justified when compared to the corrupt and dumb-ass authorities.

The focus this time, though, is not cars but rather millions of bucks, stashed away in a police vault owned by a ruthless Brazilian druglord-cum-politician. Using Rio as a backdrop, the film flits between the favelas, the city and Copacabana.

Cars and heists, like in The Italian Job, come together in the climactic getaway and Fast 5 doesn’t disappoint. The sequence is well-devised, startling and at times downright unbelievable. Coupled with the opening sequence, involving the theft of some cars from a moving train, Fast 5 certainly offers something new on the action front.

The strength of the FF franchise, though, was not only based on great action sequences but also the challenges faced by the lead characters, living their machine-fuelled fantasies.

As in The Godfather and indeed many crime films, the family are the ones who suffer and the FF franchise managed to create some dimension to their characters in the exploration of the theme.

In this latest version, however, this development is stymied by too many differing plot strands that need resolution.

Firstly, there is a reunion of characters from the previous films who form the heist crew. This provides some lighter moments and Dom refers to them as family, but they come across merely as diversions. There are contrived subplots involving both Dom’s friend Vince and a Brazilian female cop that are clunky and a pointless scene between Dom and O’Conner talking about fathers that is frankly oversentimental and cringe-worthy. Yet another complication involves federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and his team trying to capture the speedsters.

The overall effect of these plot shenanigans is a film that does some handbrake turns and hits a few potholes.

But my dramatic preferences aside, I think diehard fans will love it, and as action movies go it’s better than the average fare. ***

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.