Adam Clarke won’t answer to his slave name anymore and insists that you call him Dwayne Johnson.
Cinema can be such a time warp, can’t it? Sometimes watching a cherished film can transport you to a time in your life long since forgot. Sometimes an era is recreated so perfectly in a production that it can’t help but put you in a little awe. Sometimes a film is a timewarp based on who’s starring in it, as is the case with Fast Five which coasts on the combined star power of Vin Diesel and The Rock.
That there’s a recipe for bonafide box office success… if this were 2002. Not only are those two the stars of your movie, but Vin Diesel somehow has more screentime than The Rock. How does that even happen? Is anyone excited by or drawn to a Vin Diesel vehicle? Didn’t The Chronicles Of Riddick more or less make people realize that Diesel’s sole talent are that he’s really big and looks mean in sunglasses?
Inexplicably, Diesel is kept without shades for the duration of the movie, which makes him nothing more than a muscular, yet average bro. His face doesn’t have the personality of your Schwarzenneggers, Van Dammes or even Seagals of yesteryear. Basically, his boyish face and cartoonish physique make him look like a cross between Adam Sandler and a WWF Wrestling Buddy. Between his skimpy white shirts and the increasingly sweaty The Rock, Five is like a perspirating valentine to biceps.
Seriously, The Rock sweats more than William Shatner did when he played Evil Kirk in Star Trek.
The plot of Fast Five is a simple one. Rock-er, Texas Ranger, is the sweatiest fed in the entire US government. He ends up in Brazil to sweat on his co-stars, get sweat in his silly beard and hunt down thieves/racing entusiasts Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Jordana Brewster. But the film isn’t strictly made in a Dukes Of Hazzard vein with Diesel as Daisy and Rock Hogg comin’ after dem Duke Boys. Nossir! Our heroes run afoul of a mob boss (Joaquim de Almeida) in Rio and elect to take him down in one last heist.
To pull this off, the trio forms a team consisting of a poor man’s Chris Tucker (Tyrese Gibson), a lady whose ass is actually a plot point in the movie (Gal Gadot), a guy who exists only to be the ass-lady’s love interest (Sung Kang), a guy who wants to give it all up to become a mechanic (Ludacris) and two komedy characters who are recruited solely to flood a few toilets (Tego Calderon and Don Olmar). Seriously, the million-dollar heist needed dudes with the incalculably valuable knowledge of cherry bombs and their effectiveness in flooding public toilets.
Yes, not long after a crappy Scream sequel, I’m watching another sequel to a film franchise I’m barely familiar with. I’d seen two Screams, but have yet to see any of the four previous Fast and Furii. I can’t say I ever got lost during Fast Five nor can I say I ever came close to giving a damn about what was going on at any given time. I enjoy both action movies and heist movies and their associated tropes, but there’s no life in this one at all. It’s a sausage of a movie and not a very good cut of sausage at that, despite the aforementioned shots of sweaty man-slabs the film calls actors. This is the depressing part about being a critic: repeatedly seeing films that don’t even try. I saw the film a scant few days ago and I’m struggling to remember parts of it. Fast Five is as discernible as a kitten fart in the vacuum of space.