2011 fast five_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

There is a screenwriter in Hollywood who has just earned my respect.  He hasn’t had many films produced, but Chris Morgan is the same person who is responsible for Wanted, Fast & Furious, and The Fast & the Furious: Tokyo Drift.  After writing the worst film in The Fast & The Furious franchise (Tokyo Drift), Morgan has wholly redeemed himself with this last installment.

In Fast Five, we catch up with our favorite Fast characters.  Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) is about to go to prison when the bus transporting the inmates gets into a bad crash and Toretto disappears.  After his daring escape, Dom’s sister, Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Brian (Paul Walker) meet up with him in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to pull off one last job so that Brian and Mia can make a little extra cash.  In true Fast fashion, Dom, Mia, and Brian get into a world of trouble with the FBI, Rio police, and the boss of Rio, Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), and they use their fast cars to get them out of it.

The story itself is good.  Every plot point, every scene and all of the dialogue furthers the plot.  There is no wasted space in this film, all the way down to the end credits and the surprise ending.  The level of attention to detail is rarely seen in films these days, especially action film, which is an achievement for Morgan, to be sure.  Another achievement is that although Fast Five is, in fact, a sequel, it’s the best film in the franchise.

The major draws for Fast Five are my two favorite action heroes: Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who plays Agent Hobbs.  The sexiest part of the film is when Dom and Agent Hobbs engage in some true male aggression.  Honestly, all I wanted them to do is get good and mad and rip their shirts off.  But, I digress.

Morgan took all of the best parts of the Fast films and put them into one big movie.  I’m happy to report that fan favorites make an appearance: Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Leo (Tego Calderon), and Santos (Don Omar).  Each character’s dynamic and interaction enhances the plot and the film as a whole.

Looking at individual performances, Johnson gets a shaky start as the uptight Hobbs.  Actually, Hobbs is like a mean football coach, making up words and rattling off phrases like a military man gone wild.  I just have one question for Johnson: what the heck is funderwear and how should said wear be worn?

Diesel gives Toretto a soft side, mentally and physically.  While his expanding body mass and soft middle could not be ignored, it’s the glimpse into what makes Toretto tick that puts Diesel at his sexiest in his career.  He’s found a way to be a tough guy and a softy and keep his manhood.

Honorable mention goes to the interaction between Leo and Santos.  Leo is the smart one of this duo.  Santos is the pretty boy who whines and complains about everything that Leo does with maximum hilarity.  Even though Santos and Leo get minimal screen time, their interface makes a huge impact.  Paul Walker does his Brian O’Connor thing in his Converse sneakers.  No one can car jump better than Walker.

Speaking of car jumping, the stunts in Fast Five can only be described as unreal; as in that would never happen without someone breaking, twisting, and scratching a body part or two.  By my estimation, with all of the awe-inspiring stunts, the characters in Fast should have died at least eight times.  Then again, this is an action film, so the stunts are more for the jaw-dropping audience and less for the actors and stunt people who risk life and limb.

As a writer, I keep a watch for those writers who write well.  Morgan is one of them.  He has found his footing as a writer and I can’t wait to see what he does next.  I’m sure there will be a Fast Six.  All I ask of Morgan is that he makes sure that Diesel and Johnson share screen time again – shirtless.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at KAliciaG@aol.com