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Fast Five ****
Directed by: Justin Lin
Written by: Chris Morgan
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner
Jordana Brewster as Mia
Tyrese Gibson as Roman
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej
Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs
Reviewed by Lamar Kukuk 4/30/11
For the longest time, sequels were all about diminishing returns: keep going back to the same well over and over with fewer and fewer of the original creative people and less and less of the original spark. But somewhere along the way, something changed. Maybe the evolving state of all narrative media away from the self-contained and toward the serialized made them seem like a more legitimate endeavor. Or perhaps the simple fact that sequels are such a large part of Hollywood’s output motivated everyone working in the business to take them a little more seriously.
But either way, we’re looking now at franchises that build an ever-deepening universe and work hard each time at perfecting what they’re doing rather than just recycling it. Granted, that’s best-case, but can you imagine twenty years ago seeing a franchise about lovable crooks who drive really fast (or any franchise, for that matter) producing its most confident, exciting and generally best entry on the fifth try? Fast Five continues the, er, saga that began with 2001′s surprise hit The Fast and the Furious by assembling an all-star team of actors from previous installments to stage a nifty Rio-set heist movie that is easily the finest of the series.
Director Justin Lin, in his third go-round, keeps upping the ante on the action spectacle and his cast has gotten really comfortable with both their roles and each other, leading to a camaraderie that goes a long way to compensate for their dramatic limitations. It’s hard to imagine what a fan might be expecting from Fast Five that they won’t get, right down to the introduction of a splendid new adversary for the gang in the person of Dwayne Johnson. It’s unlikely to win any new converts to the Furious universe, but it’s a high octane good time that’s a perfect way to start the summer movie season.
For the full review and other outstanding reviews, go to Lamarsmoviepalace.com. Let’s Get It!