'Fast Five' delivers
Saying "Fast Five" is the best in its series is like saying Schlitz is the best malt liquor.
Not exactly high praise, but praise nonetheless.
This latest installment in the perpetually propagating "The Fast and the Furious" franchise is the lesser of five evils. Unlike the Schlitz Blue Bull, it's harmless fun, goes down easy and leaves no aftertaste.
Abandoning all logic and plausibility, "Fast Five" hits the road like Steve McQueen on amphetamines, a manic drive through an action buff's id - fast cars, dangerous women, gunfights, fist fights and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson uttering lines like, "Give me the veggies."
It's a ridiculous movie, but with director Justin Lin ("Fast and Furious") at the wheel, "Fast Five" refuses to take itself seriously, almost defiantly so, and it works splendidly.
Packed with some of the best car chases in recent history (thanks to actual stunt drivers and minimal computer-generated imagery), an automotive carnage count that rivals "The Blues Brothers," and an anything-goes attitude, "Fast Five" can be flat out fun.
Vin Diesel ("Pitch Black") returns as ex-con/street racer Dom Tenetto, daringly sprung from a moving prison bus by sister Mia (Jordana Brewster, "The Faculty") and rogue FBI agent O'Conner (Paul Walker, "Varsity Blues").
Hoping to escape the law by relocating to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, their plans are for naught when a job gone wrong provokes drug lord Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida, "Desperado") and attracts the attention of federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, "Get Smart").
With both sides of the law closing in on them, Dom and company plan an "Ocean's 11" style heist that'll set them straight for life and, preferably, help them avoid extradition.
Over-the-top action ensues.
That's what saves "Fast Five" from its dismal predecessors. Lin gleefully ups the ante, filling his film with jaw-dropping action with only one demand for viewers - that they sit back and enjoy the ride.
The plot is preposterous, and its actors chew up the cheese-filled script with B-movie abandon. Don't look for character development, subtext or anything of the sort; look for a pair of Dodge Chargers dragging a bank vault through the streets of Rio at breakneck speeds, leaving sheer devastation and piles of police cars in their wake.
As far as action movies go, "Fast Five" is noticeably old school in its suspension of disbelief. This isn't a film to be taken seriously, just a flick to be enjoyed with popcorn and one's beverage of choice (Schlitz Blue Bull, perhaps).
"Fast Five," rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, sexual content and language, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone and the Parkway Theatre in West Jefferson. For show times, see page 12B or visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.