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Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here

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Tim Wilson
Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 3:15:09 am

A little bit of kidding aside, I can't remember the last time I had this much fun at the movies. Maybe Inception, but maybe even longer ago than that. Maybe the JJ Abrams Star Trek reboot. In any case, I was blown away.

I went with my wife and her sister - between us, we have 7 college degrees, from schools you've actually heard of and kind of respect, and seriously, we were completely swept up in it. Of course, we've been salivating to see it for months, and were there the first showing we could get to on opening day, so while over 18, and only 1 boy out of 3 in the group, we still felt somehow like the target demo to me.

I was really struck by how much the positive reviews sounded almost like negative reviews at Rotten Tomatoes...but it was far, far from "so bad it's good." It's really good, period. Carefully crafted (if implausible - but hey, so were Inception and Black Swan) story, strong performances -- some KILLER supporting turns, mostly comic -- attention to filmmaking detail, maybe the best stunts and old-school blowing sh*t up I've seen all century.

Anyway, to wit:

That force of chaotic and unsatisfiable desire that Freud called the id is much closer to the surface in a movie like "Fast Five" than ever before in action-cinema history, and part of Lin's peculiar genius is that he barely tries to conceal it. - Salon

Gets lots of mileage from a combination of high spirits, scorn for the laws of physics, readily renewable energy and an emphasis on family values -- not those of the nuclear family, but of hell-raising, drag-racing outlaws... - Wall St. Journal

What it all comes down to is a skillfully assembled 130 minutes at the movies, with actors capable of doing absurd things with straight faces, and action sequences that toy idly with the laws of physics. -- Roger Ebert

Here's a popcorn flick strong enough for a man and gentle enough for a woman. -- Minneapolis Star Tribune.

I laughed out loud at the last one - it really is an unapologetically sentimental picture, which I also really liked. I actually found myself tearing up a few times.

Scott R., I'm shocked to be the first one to report on this. Please tell me I wasn't the only one of this crew to attend!

Not that Universal will mind too much - it's the biggest opening in their history even without you, with a worldwide cume of $165 million so far.

But you'll feel better if you see it than if you don't, I promise. Timmy like.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 2:48:00 pm

Sadly, I went in the completely opposite direction from Fast Five, and saw a documentary instead! I probably should have just seen Fast Five, though...

I get why a lot of people like The Fast and the Furious movies (I legitimately like the first one a decent amount), but then it sort of became parody of itself, while still remaining oddly serious. It's this attitude that made Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift one of my favorite guilty pleasure so-bad-it's-good films of the last few years. I'm 100% serious, I've probably seen it four times now.

But based on what you said, and on overall critical response, this new one seems like a rebirth for the franchise. And if it's filled with old school driving stunts, I'm all for that (CGI and cars shouldn't mix).

I'll check it out in theaters sometime in the near future. Probably not this weekend, though, as I'm planning to satisfy my over-the-top action fix with Thor.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 2:48:19 pm

But I still struggle (and will continue to struggle) with taking anything Vin Diesel says seriously. That voice! That delivery!


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Mike Cohen
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 3:03:05 pm

Is Vin Diesel the same person as The Rock? They both seem to alternate between action flicks and attempted comedies. Sure, Ah-nold used to do the same thing, and $85 million opening weekends are pretty rare, so good for them. I think RedBox for this one.

Mike Cohen


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Tim Wilson
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 5:13:03 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Is Vin Diesel the same person as The Rock?"

Entertainment Weekly has a funny thing on that, including a quiz about which one did which movie.

FF 2 was weak-ish, but introduced some new characters that were a blast to revisit. (Not that I remembered them all until I saw them again.) 3 was almost standalone, barely part of the series at all except for the cars. But it brought us director Justin Lin, and actors including Don Omar and Sung Kang, who actually played the same character in another, unrelated picture by Lin - aces, though, and a real pleasure in this one.

I kinda dug the 4th one, though, and felt like THAT was the rebirth, and I wasn't alone - that one opened to $70 mil, largely because it was the first since the original to have both Vin and Paul Walker. Opening sequence is better than anything from a James Bond picture, and I'm pretty fond of those, especially D. Craig's.

This one was as much of a reboot as anything else. They've realized that they've gone about as far as they can with the car thing, so they're turning it more toward the heist angle. This is a sequel to The Italian Job as much as anything else, with an, uhm, different approach to casting, and played much more for laughs.

In fact, I like that this movie played harder and longer for intentional laughs, and scored as often as any movie I've seen in ages. I laughed A LOT.

re: Vin. I loved him in Pitch Black, an action picture whose second half failed the outstanding first, and as a "real" actor in Boiler Room and Saving Pvt. Ryan, and even moreso in Find Me Guilty, directed by Sidney Lumet.

I'll also give XXX a pass as a not great movie, but again, the first couple of action sequences better than Bond. The Pacifier was goofy and charming.

Dwayne has nailed goofy and charming. I especially liked Race to Witch Mountain, but he was also fun in The Game Plan and Be Cool (the sequel to Get Shorty), and better than The Scorpion King as a whole. The Rundown is also a waaaay underrated action pic, and he was perfect in it. (I bailed on Get Smart before he came in, and I haven't seen The Tooth Fairy, so no comments there.)

I also thought that it was charming that Dwayne liked the FF series so much he ASKED to be in it. If I knew that that would work, I'd have asked too - except that I can't act, I can't drive, I'm kinda gawky, I'm old enough to be the father of most of the characters, and my entire torso is scrawnier than Dwayne's thigh.

(For the record, both he and Vin were bigger than I've ever seen them. They clearly spent the time between these pictures in the gym.)

While I don't mean to overstate the "great"-ness of it, I think that there's an enormous amount of integrity to spending that much money, employing 1000 people (a massive crew, by any standard), and 100% delivering the goods to the producers, the studio, the stockholders and the audience.

Dwayne's already signed for the sequel. I'll buy tickets as soon as they'll let me.


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Scott Roberts
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 2, 2011 at 11:19:07 pm

[Tim Wilson] "and as a "real" actor in Boiler Room and Saving Pvt. Ryan, and even moreso in Find Me Guilty, directed by Sidney Lumet."

As much as I like to sort of mock Vin Diesel, just for being Vin Diesel, I do also acknowledge that he was awesome in Boiler Room. And I completely forgot he was even in Saving Private Ryan! And I saw Find Me Guilty a few years ago when it came out on DVD, I don't remember Vin Diesel wowing me all that much, but I really liked the story.

And Dwayne J also had two very funny cameos that you didn't mention. As a super detective in the beginning of last year's The Other Guys; and he had arguably the funniest scene in the entire Reno: 911 movie. I've always liked The Rock. Going back to his wrestling days (I was 13 during his rise to WWF power, but I was probably 14 when I stopped watching wrestling). He definitely has comedic timing, and plenty of it. And he's built like a typical action star. He'll probably keep doing the back and forth between the two genres for his whole career (like Arnold). But yeah, I think he could do more serious work if people gave him the chance. But it's always hard to get someone who looks like him into serious roles. 6'4", 250 pound jacked-up, tattooed Samoan guys don't exactly fit into every scenario.

But I did catch about 30 minutes of The Tooth Fairy on HBO a couple months ago. It was kind of a bummer seeing him sink that low. Even for a kids movie. I wouldn't have wanted to watch that as a kid.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 3, 2011 at 12:22:25 am

[Scott Roberts] "As much as I like to sort of mock Vin Diesel, just for being Vin Diesel"

Fair enough. I gotta say, though, I feel bad about the Oscar Race thing. Looking back, it feels condescending, which I absolutely did not intend.

Thinking about it some more, I agree that he was impressive in Boiler Room, because he was meant to be larger than life...and he was. In Find Me Guilty, he was meant to be smaller than he may ever have. A big doughy guy who was past the point in his life of using his body in the context of violence. He spent a lot of the movie in a chair, which is hard for anyone.

Not that I'm saying that this movie was 12 Angry Men or anything - another Lumet picture that mostly takes place in chairs - but I think that "wry" isn't the first word you think of when you think of Vin, and I think he pulls it off.

And in Fast 5, my guess is that Dwayne was over 250. I've never seen him this big - at least 260, maybe more, and razor, razor sharp. Max shred, especially for an all-natural guy his age, without being a comic book character.

I've heard about both of those cameos of his, but haven't seen 'em. I'll keep my eyes peeled for sure. Thanks for the reminder!


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Stephen Smith
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 3, 2011 at 2:47:44 pm

Dwayne J was the best part of the other guys. Oh my words that was so funny when they jump off the roof.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Motion Tutorials


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Scott Roberts
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on Jun 6, 2011 at 2:45:07 pm

I finally caught Fast Five over the weekend, fearing it's coming pretty close to the end of it's theatrical run. It was probably the best of the Fast and the Furious movies. I still say Tokyo Drift is (unintentionally) funnier, but the comedy ain't bad in the new one.

My biggest drawback to the whole series is that I'm not really a car person (I drive a used Hyundai Sonata, c'mon...!). And I never really got into the appeal of just looking at cars, so I've always frowned upon moments in movies where I'm supposed to be like jaw-dropping at the sight of some expensive car. Once you get over a certain price range, they all look the same to me. Luckily, I didn't recall as many moments in Fast Five where that sort of thing occurred. I agree with you Tim, that it felt more like The Italian Job than a Fast and the Furious movie. And that's a big plus for me. And it was also more about the action.

And the action was good. Oh yes, very good. It sort of had a Live Free or Die Hard / Transformers sense of being as crazy as they could possibly be, and it works in a movie like this.

I had trouble following the story for some reason. Maybe it's because I saw it at Hollywood Blvd, which is like a restaurant/movie theater. So I was eating dinner, drinking beer, talking to waitresses, ect, and maybe I missed a few details. Action movies like this are the only movies I ever see at this place. A movie with quiet moments and vast detail should not be enjoyed here. But like I have absolutely no idea what the Spanish villain guy did that was so bad. He was exploiting people? Paying off cops? Stealing money? I don't know, but I got the jist that he was the bad guy. Probably from when he killed that one guy. I also have no idea the significance of the female police officer, and why The Rock specifically picked her for this case. I kept waiting for the explanation, but I don't think I ever picked up on it. To be fair, there was a very delicious platter of chicken wings right under my face.

Also, one nit-picky thing bugged me during the end action sequence. The Fast Five crew are stealing money from the bad guy. But essentially they are bad guys too (at least to the common people). I mean, they ARE criminals, technically. And The Rock and his FBI friends are theoretically the good guys, from a perspective of the law. But during that last action scene with the bank vault being dragged through the street, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker probably do a million dollars of property damage to a harmless city, and killed (or severely injure) about two dozen police officers. And the way some of those cop cars got smashed, it was a definite kill. Yet they are painted as the heroes? I guess in a movie like this it's best not to think about it. You don't really root for the good guys, you root for the cool guys. I suppose I've enjoyed far more criminal characters being portrayed as the good guys. Bonnie and Clyde? Natural Born Killers? Hey, I watch Dexter. I guess I don't really have a problem with it, just felt like pointing it out. Maybe it's because they make no attempt to even slightly villainize Vin Diesel like they do in the other cases. It's like you're just supposed to accept that he's awesome, and just deal with it.

All in all, I completely understand why this movie is/was so successful, it really delivers on everything you'd expect it to. Nothing more, nothing less. Pretty fun, and very well made.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on Jun 6, 2011 at 3:02:45 pm

While I have not seen Fast 5 yet (or Fast 4,3 or 2), this morning on the way to work I did see some kids driving a pretty well beat up 4 door car with what looked like a solid steel spoiler on the back, bolted to the trunk. Surely something that heavy has a reverse aerodynamic effect, likely reducing fuel economy by 25%, not to mention being difficult to de-ice in the harsh New England winters.

Mike Cohen


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Stephen Smith
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 29, 2012 at 4:53:42 pm

Finally watched Fast 5 and loved it.

[Scott]
I had trouble following the story for some reason. ... I also have no idea the significance of the female police officer, and why The Rock specifically picked her for this case. I kept waiting for the explanation, but I don't think I ever picked up on it. To be fair, there was a very delicious platter of chicken wings right under my face.

The female police officer was there so Vin Diesel would have a love interest :-) In all seriousness they explain it well. She was picked because almost all of the cops are corrupt and on the bad guys pay role. Her husband was a good cop who was gunned down because he was honest. She upped and joined the police department because of what happened to her husband. So the Rock felt she was the person she could trust the most and would be motivated to help him. They needed a translator so that was her original role on the team.

[Scott]
But during that last action scene with the bank vault being dragged through the street, Vin Diesel and Paul Walker probably do a million dollars of property damage to a harmless city, and killed (or severely injure) about two dozen police officers. And the way some of those cop cars got smashed, it was a definite kill.

At the beginning they establish that almost all of the cops are corrupt. Plus, right before the safe is stolen the bad guy comes to the station and the police chief says everyone their is on the Bad Guys pay role so he doesn't need to worry about any of the police officers helping Vin Diesel. During the chase someone also says something like, "how does it feel to have every corrupt cop chasing after you." So all of the police officers are "Bad Guys" so that is why it is okay that they get their comeuppance. And yes, they do get killed. On the bridge you can see a cop hanging out of one of the crashed car behind Vin Diesel when he approaches the bad guy.

Speaking of the safe, the making of the safe part of the movie is really cool. To get the safe to go where they want it they tuck a semi truck and cut the back off and built a safe around it so they could drive the safe where they wanted it to go. I thought that was really cool.

I watched the last 30 minutes of the first Fast and Furious and thought it sucked. The second one was on Netflix so I fast forwarded to the parts with action and the action wasn't that great and the story was terrible. Do I dare watch 3 and 4 since I liked the 5th?

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Tim Wilson
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 31, 2012 at 1:00:17 am

[Stephen Smith] "The second one was on Netflix so I fast forwarded to the parts with action and the action wasn't that great and the story was terrible. Do I dare watch 3 and 4 since I liked the 5th?"

The only really important thing about the second movie is Eva Mendes. The third one was genuinely weak, but introduced a bunch of characters that show up in #5. If you stumble across it, it's got some nice driving...but other than that and a couple of characters, no biggie. I haven't seen it again since it came out so I might feel differently now, though.

But I just watched #4 again a few weeks ago and liked it a LOT. A couple of things to note:

--An INSANE opening action sequence. Really, truly nuts: hopping between moving vehicles, crashes, explosions, an iguana - awesome.

--If you've seen 5, you know that Michelle Rodriguez is supposedly dead...but maybe not after all. Well her (apparently somehow faked) murder in #4 is what drives the whole movie (so to speak).

--You also get the FBI guy and Dom's sister to reconnect. Remember, they split after the first movie because his love was a lie, blah blah blah....well, this is the first time they've seen each other since then, and it's nice to watch their relationship build back up.

--This is also the first time that Brian and Dom actually work together on something, so it's what sets up *their* relationship in #5 too.

Not to oversell it. Five is definitely better. But this is in some ways better than the first one, which I thought was a lot of fun. And in fact, #4 does as much to set up #6 as #5 did.

Make sense?

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou



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Stephen Smith
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on May 31, 2012 at 3:47:26 pm

Thanks Tim, that make perfect sense. I'll check out #4 when I get time and maybe 3 if I'm feeling like seeing some cool driving.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Stephen Smith
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on Jul 9, 2012 at 11:18:01 pm

Tim, thanks for the recommend. Just watched #4 and loved it. It was a lot of fun and 5 is defiantly the best. I found it funny how they portrayed the border patrol as having the ability to be any where in seconds. The opening action sequence was awesome and I loved how they had to drive under the bouncing semi trailer. I like how they showed what happened to Michelle Rodriguez in Dom's mind. I wish they would have spent a little more time developing the FBI guys romance with Dom's sister. It felt like they got back together to fast. Lots of cool action and a fun story that pulls part of the gang back together. It's worth watching again.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Tim Wilson
Re: Fast Five: The Oscar Race starts here
on Jul 9, 2012 at 11:43:57 pm

I'm glad you liked it! #3 was enough of a disappointment that I think a lot of people just steered clear of #4, which was genuinely top notch. I saw it again recently, and like you, I was really blown away by the opening sequence, one of the best I've ever seen.

I also agree about the romance. I guess they knew we wanted it, which we did, so they felt like they could skip right to it.

My biggest disappointment was that they skipped over Lettie's story, especially with the teases at the end of 5 that we'll see her in 6.

That's pretty darn minor, though! I've got a longer list of gripes in movies I thought were better. LOL I still highly recommend it for action fans, and am glad you dug it too.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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