Aug 26, 2011

Fast Five (2011): C+

Fast Five is loads more competent than the original Fast and the Furious, if only because Justin Lin has a clue on how to stage an action set piece. That said, the characterizations are still too thin to invest in, the acting too murky (is Paul Walker boringly introverted, or just boring?), and the thrills too sparse. There's a diminishing sense of largeness in recent Hollywood action films, and no amount of IMAX cameras are going to compensate for what comes down to a lack of basic craftsmanship. (And it's not like I'm asking for The Road Warrior, here, just some basic coverage and a less-than-total reliance on camera movement to generate excitement.) The third-act sequence in which Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Vin Diesel kick the ever-living shit out of each other is a total snooze, splintered into blurry shots that emphasize movement at the expense of spectacle. A briefly held wide shot lets us see the damage these two inflict on each other and their surroundings, and Lin would have been wise to hold it for the duration - I want to feel these bodies in space as they affect their surroundings. If only because the scale is so much larger, a final heist sequence almost holds its own, but the visceral satisfaction is too little, too late. Two hours reveals the films weightlessness; a 20-minute highlight reel would have done the trick.

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