Tuesday, October 3, 2023


April 29, 2011 by · 3 Comments 

Who wudda thunk? After waving the yellow flag at the Fast and Furious car-racing movies for a decade, critics have now given it a green one. Maybe it all has something to do with the fact that the high-speed racing that goes on in this movie takes place not on U.S. city streets but on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times remarks that the movie “is made of sheer, preposterous and nonstop impossible action, muscular macho guys, hot chicks and platoons of bad guys.” Well, weren’t all the rest of the films in the franchise? The difference, says Ebert, is that this movie is “skillfully assembled … with actors capable of doing absurd things with straight faces, and action sequences that toy idly with the laws of physics.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times also uses the construction metaphor. The movie, she writes, is “manufactured for extreme wows and not a single thought .. an exemplar of industrial moviemaking calculation.” And Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times finds fault with the “aesthetics” of the filmmakers, “the sheer audacity of Fast Five is kind of breathtaking in a metal-twisting, death-defying, mission-implausible, B-movie-on-steroids kind of way.” Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News cheers, “Now this is how you make a summer movie.” And although it’s still just April, she notes, the movie manages “to kick off popcorn season in high-octane style. And while you may not leave enlightened, you’ll definitely be entertained.” Well, Kyle Smith in the New York Post is among a handful of critics who was not entertained. There aren’t enough car chases, he complains. “Instead of a vroomer, we get a knucklehead Ocean’s 11.” And Peter Howell in the Toronto Star agrees. “To say that Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are nothing like George Clooney and Brad Pitt is just the start of it. The whole idea of just driving away from what made the original The Fast and the Furious such stick-shifting fun was that it really was all just about the cars, stupid.”