Fast Five Justin Lin
Published Oct 14, 2011Not that anyone expects great plausibility from a The Fast & the Furious movie, wherein archetypal characters drive a variety of muscle cars and socialize anywhere featuring scantily clad women, but the handful of action sequences that occur in Fast Five are so ludicrous that it's almost impossible to suspend disbelief for the sake of visceral entertainment. For example, near the beginning of the film, when Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), now on the other side of the law, and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) are engaged in a car heist on a train in an effort to make some money while on the run, there are some issues with the plan that result in chaos. Beyond the inherent problem of driving a car off a moving train, there's a scene where Walker jumps from the train to a moving car manned by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). Now, considering basic air resistance in relation to a 160-lb. man with a limited natural thrust moving from an inert, but accelerated, state on a moving train with substantially more force, you would have little Paul Walker flying through the air and mashing against the side of the train like a bug on a windshield. Later, after Brian and Dominic have discussed moving away from their dangerous lifestyle now that Mia is preggers – a biological implausibility based on her continued malnourished state and resultant unlikely menses – they decide to do one last job, stealing a vault full of money from a Brazilian crime lord, since American criminals are still better than South American leaders. In doing so, they drive two Dodge Chargers with roughly 260-pound-foot of torque down a highway, dragging a concrete bank vault behind them. Considering that each car could only drag roughly 1,000 lbs. of material, not considering the absurd amount of friction that the cement highway would apply, it seems unlikely that they could pull a bank vault weighing far more than a tonne. I won't get into the effect that their constant change in trajectory would do to the weight distribution and thrust of each vehicle. Now, again, it's obvious that everyone involved knew that this was absurd. But while watching this scene unfold with Toretto and O'Conner manipulating the vault back and forth to slam into police cars, taking out parked vehicles, city streets and everything surrounding, it's hard to engage in both this adjacent reality, as well as the character rationale for decimating a city for their self-preservation. This is particularly confounding considering that we've spent two hours listening to them whine about betterment and change via exposition. Maybe if they'd spent those two hours speeding around in cars and looking at cleavage instead of yapping humourlessly these absurdities would be easier to take at face value. It's just hard to take the strained dramatics seriously in relation to the cartoonish action, which is far too sporadic for its own good. More amusing is the fact that all of the supplements on the DVD pertain to character development and growth throughout the franchise. What does it mean that O'Conner is on the other side of the law now? How has Dominic Toretto grown into a father figure? Does the core audience looking to see fast cars drive around and crash into things give a shit? Not likely.