Kevin: We’re officially past the midway mark in our march toward “The Fate of the Furious.” So far we’ve been introduced to Vin Diesel and his monumental belief in his own awesomeness in “The Fast and the Furious.” We’ve wondered about what’s really up between Tyrese and Paul Walker in “2 Fast 2 Furious.” We’ve questioned why millionaire globe-trotter Han wanted to hang out with high school kids and steal from the Yakuza in “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift.” And we’ve wondered when anyone will notice how many innocent people Paul Walker puts in danger in “Fast & Furious.”
While the fourth entry showed that audiences will still see these movies despite starring horrible actors, the filmmakers decided to see what would happen if they cast someone people actually liked, namely The Rock. Well it turned “Fast and Furious” from a moderately successful franchise to a global phenomenon. Today CJ and I take a look at how the fifth entry took the series into a whole nother gear:
CJ: Welcome to “Fast Five”: BRAAAAAAAAAASSSSIIIIIIILLLLL!!! (As Dom obnoxiously refers to it later in the film)
After the movie starts off with a little “Previously on ‘Fast & Furious’,” we finally get to see how Brian and Mia break Dom out of the prison bus (“Con Ground”?). It simply involves Brian racing ahead of the bus, stopping, forcing the bus to flip over a hundred times, and for Dom to survive. In reality, I would imagine Brian would stop the car and then all we would hear would be his girlish shrieks as the bus plowed right through it, ripping off several of his appendages.
Kevin: Have we ever even seen Mia drive a car before, much less pulling off the moves she does in this sequence? Also, what magical car is Brian driving? It looks like a classic GTO but it stops and take the brunt of a collision with a large bus without moving, while the bus flips and rolls over more than a dozen time, obviously killing everyone on board.
But wait, just when you were worried that any shades of grey may color our enjoyment of these movies, we find out from a news report that “amazingly there were no fatalities.” Yeah no thanks to our “heroes”! And if you think you’re amazed, imagine how we in the audience feel since we actually watched this shit go down. Although I’d like to see the rest of the news report where the anchorman adds “… however most of the people on the bus are now paralyzed from the neck down, including the bus driver who also suffered severe brain damage, a tragic turn of events since he was the sole provider for his four children following the death of his wife from cancer just two months ago.”
The news people in charge of finding photos of the suspects must be big fans of Tough Guy Digest, because their photo of Brian is clearly a shot that we previously used from Letty’s funeral in “Fast and Furious” but with his earpiece obviously photoshopped out:
We then cut to Rio, and you’ll never guess what super original visual they use to indicate that! Actually you will guess, it’s the same giant Jesus statue every lazy director relies on. Quick question, do people in Rio get tired of the constant helicopters swarming around their giant Jesus just so hack filmmakers can get the same exact footage for their movies?
Although now I’m reminded of “Blame it on Rio” with Michael Caine, which reminds me of Michelle Johnson, which reminds me of naked Michelle Johnson, which reminds me to rub one out again for old time’s sake.
Anyway, after establishing that we are in fact in Brazil now, Paul Walker shows what a great boyfriend he is by bringing Mia to a gang-ridden favela, because a chick who looks like Jordana Brewster has nothing to worry about there. But just when things look hairy, it’s … Vince, that guy from the original “Fast and Furious”! You know the one: shitty actor, didn’t have much of a career after the first movie. Oh wait, that pretty much describes everyone in these movies.
CJ: When Brian is asked how it feels to be on the other side of a WANTED poster, I was a little surprised he didn’t have more of a reaction. Wouldn’t you at least take a moment to reflect and realize what you’ve just done to yourself? Before this he was a FBI agent who was legally allowed to kill lots of people in street races while banging the hot siblings of his targets. Now he’s on the run in Brazil, which boasts such tourist-attracting distinctions as “Total murders set new records in the three years from 2009 to 2011, surpassing the previous record set in 2003.”
Uh oh, Mia just threw up, and Vince’s lady Rosa immediately knew she was pregnant. This happens all the time in movies and TV shows, and it drives me nuts because there is no way anyone just KNOWS you’re pregnant because you vomited. What if she puked because the cooking was shit? Or she is just actually sick? Or she just realized she has to spend the rest of her life fucking Brian while knowing Dom is always standing in a shadowy corner listening or possibly watching?
Kevin: Yeah vomiting is the all-purpose movie sign of pregnancy. Or maybe considering she was just holding a black baby, it’s a sign Mia is a huge racist who couldn’t even be near an innocent baby of another race without wanting to throw up.
CJ: I also like how Dom immediately finds Vince in the middle of the favelas and decides to make his grand entrance by menacingly driving up to his house. First of all, these people continue to think “low profile” means “wave your arms and scream DOM WE’RE OVER HERE!” like you’re at a sporting event. I’d love to see the scene before of him driving up to 30 different houses and having to shuffle off after guys run out throwing beer cans at his car.
We’re barely 15 minutes into this movie, right?
Mia, Dom, and Brian are short on cash but luckily Vince has a nice “clean” job for them to do. Simply put, Mia and Brian just need to get on a train with DEA agents, but they’ll be easy to identify because they wear their badges across their chests like Care Bears. Then, they just need to take a train attendant’s card and swipe it to copy it, all while the attendant never notices and the passengers all agree that snitches get stitches. The hard part is now over! All that’s left is to have other people catch up to the speeding train, maintain speed, cut off a giant portion of the train with a torch cutter, get drivers into some cars they want to steal, and gently drive them off the speeding train onto a tow truck, and then seamlessly drive off. Oh and they have to do all this in two minutes. Yeah thanks Vince, how about next time take that “clean” job and stick it up your ass!
To no one’s surprise this plan was not that clean as originally advertised, as double-crossing and light gunfire ensue.
Kevin: Yeah I don’t know what to say about the sequence where they boost the cars from the moving train, except that apparently it was too dangerous for Paul Walker to drop three feet onto the dirt from a moving train, but perfectly fine for he and Vin Diesel to hit the water from about what appeared to be about the length of four football fields:
CJ: During this scene the music cuts out, there’s no dialogue, and all you hear is the wind as the boys are plummeting to what ordinarily would be certain death. When this movie came out I dragged a friend to see it in the theater, and as this scene happened the whole audience held their breath wondering what would happen. Well what happened was they had to listen to my friend and me as we exploded into laughter. Was it assholish of us? Yes. But in our defense, this movie is stupid.
But wait a minute…
OH HO HO HO! THE ROCK IS HERE AND EVERYONE GET THE FUCK OUT OF HIS WAY!
Kevin: I’ve never been totally on board with the idea that The Rock is the second coming of Sly or Arnold, mainly because as likeable as he is his movies usually suck, but dear lord after sitting through more than four movies filled with people like Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Bow Wow, Tyrese Gibson, Devon Aoki, and Ludacris, when he shows up here it’s like Eddie Murphy agreeing to be a ringer in some beginner comedy improv class. In just his first minute in this movie Dwayne Johnson is so far above everyone in this series in terms of charisma and screen presence that I’m already rooting for him to kill all these scrubs and just get his own spinoff.
CJ: And in that spinoff there is definitely a scene where his character Agent Hobbs introduces the girl he is protecting to his hand-selected team of the only guys he trusts: five guys with giant beards with names like Vag Monster, Jizzmanian Devil, Reagan, Griff “G Spot” Gruffini, and Nuke Dick.
Kevin: Even though Hobbs only landed in Rio like 10 minutes ago, in typical “Fast and Furious” style I keep waiting for his superiors to already tell him he has like 8 hours to solve the case and arrest everyone before they shut the investigation down and demote him.
Anyway, it turns out that one of the cars they boosted from the train contains an important microchip belonging to a drug lord named Reyes, played by Jaoquim de Almeida, who was not only the main villain in “Clear and Present Danger,” but also looks pretty much like a Latin version of Phil Hartman:
After Dom and the gang get away from both Reyes’ men and Hobbs and his team, Mia reveals to Brian and Dom that she’s pregnant. Dom embraces her and says “Our family just got bigger.” Yeah you went from two to three Torettos. Seriously what’s up with Dom’s love of “family” in these movies? Dom apparently has no other siblings, and no grandparents or aunts or uncles or cousins or anyone else tying them down since they are career criminals who are prepared to flee the United States forever at a moment’s notice. Dom had been with Letty, the love of his life, for years and he apparently would rather boost DVD players and Dominican gasoline than actually sire children with her. But yeah, he hosts an annual barbecue with a bunch of douchebags drinking Coronas and he’s Mr. Family Man.
Later Elena (Elsa Pataky), the requisite hot chick on Hobbs’ crew, says something doesn’t add up about Toretto and Conner: “They stay when they are supposed to run. They steal gas, they give it away. Now they are killing federal agents, it doesn’t make sense.” Wait, so they gave away the gas they stole at the beginning of “Fast and Furious”? Are we now retroactively saying that all this time Dom and his crew have been modern-day Robin Hoods, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor?
Weird, because in the last one when they were stealing that gas in the Dominican Republic, I didn’t get the impression they were planning on giving it away. It sounded like they were planning on selling that shit and spending the money on themselves, because that’s just what they did. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe even in the original “The Fast and the Furious” in 2001 they actually gave away those top-of-the-line Panasonic DVD players to poor unfortunate families who could finally watch “Tomcats” with Jerry O’Connell in pristine quality.
CJ: Anyways, after a nice afternoon of driving off a cliff and sustaining no injuries, Dom tells Brian about his dad having a BBQ every Sunday but you could only go if you’d been to church that day. You know church, that place where several of their major rules are things like don’t steal or kill people. I like how Dom explains this with no sense of irony. The scene establishes nothing other than to make us want Hobbs to win.
Kevin: Yeah apparently it turns out his father was an awesome God-fearing man who stayed up late at night to help the kids with their homework. So again, how did you all become criminals?
And apparently in this scene Dom also didn’t get the possibly studio-mandated-in-post-production memo that they are now supposed to be modern-day Robin Hoods, because he then holds up the computer chip to Brian and says, “We’re gonna do one last job. We’re gonna take all of Reyes’ money, every dime of it, and disappear … forever.” At no point does Dom add, “And then of course we will take that money and set up affordable housing for single mothers in Uganda, as well as set up a foundation to find a cure for Alzheimer’s in elderly dogs.”
But to pull off such a job they need a team, and according to Dom this team needs to consist of:
1) “A chameleon, someone who can blend in anywhere.” Obviously that’s Han (don’t forget this is technically a prequel to “Tokyo Drift” where he bites the dust), because … well I’ll get back to you on that. Also in this instance you don’t actually need someone who can blend in anywhere, you need someone who can blend in in Brazil, which a Korean guy might have somewhat of an issue with.
2) “A fast-talker, the kind who can talk their way out of anything.” That’s obviously Roman (Tyrese) from “2 Fast 2 Furious” because … well we never saw him talk his way out of anything, he mainly was just always weirdly possessive and jealous that Brian was possibly attracted to Eva Mendes.
3) “This guy’s gonna have a lot of surveillance; we’re gonna need someone good with circuits.” Well obviously that’s Tej (Ludacris) from “2 Fast 2 Furious” because … shit maybe you guys can help me out here because I’m drawing a blank. Tej organized a lot of street races in Miami, but when the fuck was it ever established that he was some genius hacker?
4) “Reyes is gonna have walls, so we need guys to punch through those walls.” Shot of two guys from behind, I’m guessing neither of them are Bow Wow or Ja Rule.
5) “Utilities and weapons (kind of a broad category there Dom), someone who ain’t afraid to throw down.” Cut to someone on a motorcycle. It will be a huge shock to anyone who doesn’t understand how movies work when this mystery person takes off their helmet and it turns out this awesome badass is Gisele (Gal Gadot) from “Fast & Furious”!
CJ: If we are being honest, the only one I care about is Han. And Han is back! Hey Han, last time we spoke you said you were going to Tokyo, so how was it? What do you mean you haven’t gone? Well then what the hell have you been doing?
Kevin: By the way, we get a second shot of the Jesus statue in case you forgot where we were.
At the warehouse when everyone has gathered together Brian describes Tej as the “best circuit man on the East Coast.” Once again, since when?
Han: “What’s this all about Dom?”
Tej: “Yeah why’d you drag us halfway around the world?”
Me: You mean none of you guys asked these questions before you all got on planes to Rio?
When Roman finally hears that Dom wants to rob Reyes’ cash houses, he says, “I thought this was business, it sounds personal to me,” before adding, “I got love for all ya’ll.” Umm, how much love could you have for everyone in this room considering the only two people you know here are Brian and Tej, and you only barely know Tej from your brief time in Miami?
Dom says that the score is $100 million, and everything they take they split even. Roman once again tries to mask his obvious unrequited love for Brian by saying, “Eleven million … sounds like a whole lot of vaginal activity to me.” Also once again none of these supposed Robin Hoods mentions anything about giving this money to the less fortunate.
CJ: Dom and friends then rob a drug house and set the money on fire and I notice two things. First, it is MUCH lamer than how The Joker did it in “The Dark Knight” Second, how much money do you think is in that pile? It seemed like there was enough to at least justify a conversation about taking it and getting out of the country.
Reyes is also confusing as a bad guy. He knocks the shit out of the guy who lost his drug money, but never punishes right-hand-man Zizi, who lost all the cars off the train that led to this whole mess in the first place (Kevin: And then failed to kill Dom and the crew later in the favelas).
So as Dom expected, Reyes decides to consolidate the rest of his money in one location, which turns out to be the local police station. While the crew is on the second-story rooftop scoping out where Reyes is keeping his money, I would have loved a shot of the cops across the street where one of them is like, “Hey Ramon, do you see that group of ethnically diverse people directly across the street all standing in tough poses and looking at us? Weird, right?”
In our “Fast & Furious” discussion, Mike pointed out how Gisele helps Dom for no real reason. She further explores this flaw in her character when discussing their plan and whether they can or can’t do it, to which Han says, “Can’t? You mean shouldn’t.” She then gives him a “Holy shit, where has THIS guy been all my life?” look, and I’m betting there is a missed line in “Fast Five” where Gisele mentions her father left her at an early age.
Further discussing the plan, Brian says they’ll be in and out of the police station before anyone notices. My prediction? Lots of people will notice.
Oh thank god, they found a street race. I was starting to think this franchise had moved away from the heart of what’s made them successful: scantily clad, well-to-do whores. Weirdly though we don’t actually get to see the race.
It seems that while Gisele fell in love with Han because he expressed a sense of logic, Han falls in love with Gadot after watching her drift. This delves further into the Han myth and explains why he follows drifting in Tokyo, clearly as a way to honor Gisele’s memory and pay homage to her. While being surrounded by many Tokyo hoes and high school boys.
Kevin: Third shot of the Jesus statue but this time lit up at night … yep we’re still in Rio.
CJ: Wait, they spend a significant part of the movie and plot on planning for this getaway, testing cars out, and scoping out locations. Why did they go through all of this testing if they were just gonna steal cop cars in the end? Oh, so they could have another street race. Boys will be boys!
I will say it’s probably not a good idea for Roman to be laying out their plans over the radio while they race with the lights flashing and sirens blaring. I would think this would draw some attention. On the plus side, good to see the totally empty streets of downtown Rio de Janeiro, which is obviously Spanish for “forgotten and abandoned ghost town.”
Later we learn Tej’s dream is to open up an auto shop back in the States. But wasn’t he running a shop in “2 Fast” (Kevin: Yes he was. Oh shit, is this now a prequel to “2 Fast”? My head is about to explode!)
So I’ve noticed that every time we see Dom in these movies he’s working on his car. It’s also supposed to be the best car in the world. So, is it the best car in the world or is it a pile of shit that he constantly needs to fix?
Kevin: Dom to everyone after Mia reveals that she is pregnant: “The most important thing in life will always be the people in this room.” If Ludacris is one of the most important people in your life then you need to re-evaluate your life.
Hobbs eventually tracks down the crew and thus begins and even more epic battle than Superman vs. Batman: Vin Diesel vs. The Rock:
And just like how Batman, despite all logic, actually got the better of Superman in their cinematic battle, somehow this movie tries to make us believe that Vin Diesel could actually defeat The Rock, which is slightly more absurd than also trying to pretend that Diesel and The Rock are the same height:
CJ: I realize all of us don’t buy that Vin Diesel could beat The Rock in a fight, but I’d like to take it further: I don’t even buy that Vin Diesel could hang in for even a few seconds during a fight with The Rock. In fact, here are the only things I think could take The Rock in a fight:
A rhino (but only if it has its horn)
The 300 Spartans of Thermopylae
But while transporting the crew, Hobbs and his team are ambushed by the bad guys in a sequence that is entirely ripped from “Clear and Present Danger” (maybe Reyes learned it from doing bad guy duty in that one). After Hobbs’ team is killed, the crew decides to work with Hobbs in order to bring Reyes to justice by using their highly developed skills to gather evidence against him. Actually no, they decide to steal his money from the giant safe at the police station.
Given that Hobbs works for a government agency, does this mean he has effectively dragged the U.S. into an act of war against a foreign nation?
No time to think about that, because remember how Brian predicted no one would notice them coming into the police station? Well, Hobbs just drove a giant SUV through the gates and a wall and started a firefight. Eat your hearts out Seal Team 6!
After ripping the safe out of the police station, Mia points out that their plan worked and every corrupt cop is after them. Their theory is that because they took Reyes’ safe, only those who work for him are tailing them. When in reality, they are driving around town with a giant safe strapped to the back of two cars that is causing millions in downtown infrastructure damage and killing god knows how many civilians. Isn’t it possible some of these cops are after them because they are essentially foreign terrorists?
Kevin: Yes I can’t wait for the news report where we find out that “amazingly there were no casualties” even though we just watch a metal safe the size of a small house barrel into a fully packed bank. Either way, the bad guys get killed and Hobbs gives the crew a 24-hour head start before tracking them down. But wait, he opens the safe and finds it empty, because somehow during the police chase Dom and the gang managed to switch the safe with the money with an empty one under everyone’s noses. How did they do that you might ask? Well I’d try and explain but it would sound fucking absurd, because it totally was absurd.
CJ: We then get a montage of how everyone is spending their money, and as I predicted we get this scene between Han and Gisele:
Gisele: “I thought you wanted to go to Tokyo.”
Han: “We’ll get there, eventually.”
CJ: Well by “we” you mean “I” Han. She’ll be dead.
Here’s my big question at the end of this: Elena knows where Dom is “retired” to and it is clearly longer than Hobbs’ 24-hours promise. She also gave a whole speech about her deceased husband being an honest cop and how she followed in his footsteps to honor him. So a) isn’t she obligated to call Hobbs? And b) if not, did Dom basically make a widow completely shit over the memory of her deceased hero husband?
Also, I don’t think this movie had a single Corona.
Kevin: Well what’s important is that this movie ends exactly as it should, with career criminals who recklessly put innocent people’s lives at risk being rewarded with millions of dollars. We also end on a cliffhanger worthy of “General Hospital,” as Eva Mendes from “2 Fast 2 Furious” makes a post-credit cameo to inform Hobbs that Letty is not actually dead! Apparently there’s no one this series won’t bring back. Except Ja Rule.