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'Five': Implausibly stupid and incredibly fun

Posted: May 4, 2011 - 7:35pm

The concept of any woman actually believing Kobe Bryant didn’t do it, or agreeing to marry Ben Roethlisberger (oh wait) is silly. It’s implausible! Just like thinking we’ll have a summer full of 90 degree days and very little rain in Juneau, Alaska is over-the-top. These things will never happen (save for Big Ben getting engaged).

Something else I am fairly certain will never happen: Two souped up hot rods rip a 10-ton safe out of a police station in Rio de Janerio via heavy duty tow cables and proceed into a high speed police chase with said 10-ton safe trailing behind, destroying anything and everything it careens into. 20-30 city blocks are destroyed, the thieves get away, and amazingly no bystander appears to have been hurt. You know, despite the out of control 10-ton safe that somehow took out entire building lobbies but miraculously did not hit a human being. Oh, and don’t cry for the police force and their sudden need for a whole new fleet of cars; they are dirty. Blatantly dirty. That safe, property of a drug lord who has the police in his pocket, has $100 million of his cash inside.

Way over-the-top, completely implausible, and totally silly. It could never happen in real life! In the fifth installment of the “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, on the other hand, that scenario makes perfect sense. If Big Ben can get engaged and Kobe Bryant can be a role model again (both actually happening), why shouldn’t we be able to let go of any ties to “realistic” and enjoy the hell out of “Fast Five”?

If, right now, you are shaking your head and getting frustrated at the thought of appreciating Vin Diesel… I get it. That’s fine. “Fast Five” isn’t for you.

I’m not about to suggest Diesel be taken seriously as an actor. (Although there is a case to be made he is one of the top acting talents in this cast. Oh crap. I’m destroying my own case for “Fast Five” before I have even made it.) I’m not implying Chris Morgan’s script will be remembered for anything other than the occasional painfully awkward one-liner.

What I am suggesting you approach “Fast Five” with the attitude that the whole thing is stupid, but you’re ready to dig it anyway.

Director Justin Lin first got his hands on this franchise with the third chapter (“The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”), which set the stage for “Fast & Furious” (also Lin), and “Fast Five” picks up precisely where “Fast & Furious” left off. It doesn’t make any sense (which is actually fitting), but Lin has managed to make the characters of these stories matter. Dom (Diesel) is just cool; Diesel should play him as many times as the box office permits. O’Conner (Paul Walker), who has gone from chasing Dominic in “The Fast and the Furious” to joining him at the top of the FBI’s Most Wanted List in “Fast Five”, is the perfect compliment. When Walker appears to either be staring intently or struggling to remember his lines, it works. Somehow. Sung Kang, Tyrese, Jordana Brewster, and Ludacris are all reprising roles from the various installments of the franchise they were a part of. Lin’s got the whole gang together again and the reunion is actually fun to watch.

There are even sub-plots of romance if you want to go all-in!

“Fast Five” works only if you are willing to embrace all the stupidity. You won’t be able to get your arms all the way around it, but a hug is a hug. Look, none of us will ever purposely cause a bus full of inmates to crash at a high speed in an effort to bust our buddy out (seriously, you probably shouldn’t do that), but it is fun to watch someone else do it.

It’s also fun to watch The Rock (sorry Dwayne Johnson, you’re The Rock and you always will be) sweat profusely every time he’s on camera when nobody else is even mildly perspiring.

There’s only one place I know of to see all of that happen: The implausibly stupid and incredibly fun “Fast Five”.

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