Nicholas Goodchild

Historic and Pared Down

Fast 5

19 February 2013 by Nicholas in Films

The Fast and the Furious film franchise is a series of films centring around people driving fast cars in various illegal ways. It’s not high art and the better ones have Vin Diesel in them. Fast 5 sees the action taking place in Rio, Brazil and centres on Dwayne Johnson trying to apprehend a group of criminals who have been framed for killing some American agents while planning a robbery.

The reason I wanted to see the film was to see Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson punching each other. The testosterone is palpable but the action scenes aren’t particularly inventive or exciting. The climatic scene has a nice central conceit but arguably drags on too long and suffers from pedestrian direction. As much as Michael Bay is derided, some low tracking shots would have made things considerably more exciting.

But, on its own level, it isn’t a bad film. It does what it sets out to and has a twist. The supporting cast is largely marginalised, but this is actually addressed in the plot rather than incidental. The leads glower and perform explosively and the action ticks over. It doesn’t feel as long as it actually is, so that is a sign that things succeed.

Neither Vin Diesel nor Dwayne Johnson are particularly nuanced actors. It doesn’t matter. They’re both convincing as very big, muscular men who engage in high testosterone pursuits and jump and punch things. That is all the film really calls for and something they manage to do with aplomb. The supporting cast has precious little to do, but the villains are suitably nasty and glare at things and people make doe eyes at each other when appropriate.

Fast 5 is entertaining and enjoyable, but as long as you go in with sensible expectations you won’t be disappointed. It’s a Vin Diesel/Dwayne Johnson vehicle and serves perfectly well at showcasing their particular talents.