Wednesday, October 14, 2015

All wrapped up? Not a chance

After watching Fast Five, part of me wondered if they weren't finally deciding that five was enough installments of the Fast & Furious series.

The part of me that didn't realize there was a post-credit sequence, that is.

That part of me found out about the post-credit sequence only by reading a review of the movie, which teased the inevitable Fast & Furious 6, and which I then proceeded to watch on Youtube. Except it seemed somewhat evitable after the way they so tightly wrapped things up at the end of Fast Five.

Then again, since the fourth installment wasn't a huge hit -- not a huge critical hit, anyway -- I guess they couldn't have known that they'd keep pushing this series, even past the point where one of the two lead actors died. Fast Eight is still a go, right?

What I'm speaking of is this movie's ridiculously happy ending. Like, the happiest of all happy endings. Typically, even when the good guys triumph in a movie like this -- which they sort of have to -- they don't each get to keep the $11 million they were trying to secure in the heist. Here they do, and they all get to survive (well, except for one guy who was basically there just to get bumped off), and they also all get paired off with members of the opposite sex -- except of course for the two Spanish speaking guys, who came as a pair in the first place, and the two black guys, whose status as rivals and frenemies is this close to being played as romantic.

Of course, the post-credits sequence tells us "Yeah, they're happy now -- but it ain't going to last." And also answers my question in last month's post about the inevitable return of Michelle Rodriguez.

If it sounds as though I'm wantonly hurling spoilers at you, I guess that's because I am. See, the assumption of me marathoning Fast/Furious movies in 2015 is that I'm catching up with where you all already are. My goal is to watch the two remaining installments in the two calendar months before the end of this year, so as to rank the new one with my 2015 films, and lo and behold, I'm right on track for that. Even if I had to jam in my viewing of Fast Five before leaving for New Zealand, because I'd already exhausted my two library renewals and felt absurd having to return the movie and borrow it again -- especially since I'd reserved it the first time.

Anyway, because I'm departing for the airport in just a little more than six hours, and because I don't really have time to be writing anything right now (but am conscious of not having updated this blog in five days, with another expected five-day drought after this one), I won't spend a lot of time combing through the finer details of this movie. I will say, though, that it deserves to have its finer details combed more than any so far in the series, so my quick blog treatment will be one I sort of regret.

Yes, I'm subscribing to what seems to be the general and unlikely consensus that the fifth movie in this series is the best one -- so far, anyway. What other series can you say that, and not just be trolling someone?

However, that's still only a three-star rating for me. A strong three stars, but it doesn't quite notch up to 3.5. I'll mention a couple things that bothered me or made me laugh:

1) I love how after they send that prison bus into a roll at the beginning as a means of breaking out Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), not only is no one killed -- as a news report makes sure to point out -- but Dom is the only one that escapes. It's one of the great pains this series goes to to show you that none of the criminal behavior of Dom et al has any effect on anyone innocent, even those who are not really innocent like guys serving life prison sentences. A plan that probably should have killed most of them, including Dom (who appears not to have been in on it), instead comes off swimmingly. Allowing a handful of other impossible plans to come off during this movie.

2) In fact, Dom and his friends are so inherently just in their criminal activities that they win over even people like a straight-laced DEA agent (Dwayne Johnson) and supposedly the only cop in Rio who can't be bought (Elsa Pataky). So much for law enforcement ethics in this series, as Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) was long ago permanently corrupted to Dom's team.

Still, this movie does have excellent set pieces, I'll give it that. And I for one don't mind the switch to a more Ocean's Eleven style approach to making a movie like this, as I never cared all that much for seeing guys race each other for pinks.

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