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Man of Steel (2013)
They almost had it !!!
Now I guess a lot of people are simply going to "Disagree" with this review once they see the rating and the heading. After going through a lot of the reviews posted on this recently, I get the trend - you hate this movie even a bit and you have 20% of the audience disagreeing; you love it and 80% agrees with you. While I'm not at the end of either side as my score illustrates, I do believe the movie is slightly disappointing.
This being a Superman movie and the board being filled with Superman fans, lets not even discuss the plot. Instead, I'll straightaway get to the points. To begin with, here's what I liked about the movie:
Action & Effects: As much as the critics will bash it, I'll admit the action in the movie is simply spectacular, very literally of epic proportions and quite out of this world. In fact the trailer of this movie has more action than the whole of Superman Returns and the trailer contains only about 5 - 10% of the action. The best scenes are in the end when you see Superman flying at breakneck speed and slamming Zod - intensely gratifying.
Story & Script (If I understand the term Script correctly): Nolan and Goyer wrote and conceived the story together with Goyer then writing the screenplay. I must admit that this is definitely a very unique take on Superman, the likes of which we've never seen in any Superman movie or comic. The ideas presented are interesting and one plot point gradually leads into the next instead of scenes being forced. And the ending is simply brilliant.
Performances: Shannon as Zod is exceptional. Cavill as Superman is also intense. And both the fathers add their unique paternal touches. Everyone else plays their part convincingly.
Score: Hans Zimmer. That epic score running in the battles scenes. It doesn't get any bigger and better. Enough said.
Now, onto the dislikes:
Zack Snyder: I seriously didn't like his direction. He overuses Zimmer's score, inserts random flashbacks and focuses much more on action when instead he could have given time to characters like the Kents, Perry and Lois (though she does get a lot to do). Although the story had the world "reacting realistically" to Superman's arrival, we rarely get those moments save one or two shots of people staring in the sky reminiscent of standard disaster flicks - meaning, nothing different. I guess Nolan in the chair could have made a huge difference.
Cinematography: The hand-held work, while good enough in the action scenes, totally sucked during character interactions. I mean, when Jonathan is talking to kid Clark, the camera shakes so much to make it "seem real" that it looks like those scenes were shot with a Galaxy SIII with stabilization turned off. I doubt shaking the camera that much was the best way to achieve realism with the 3D making it even worse. Steady camera shots focusing on the actors could have a more powerful effect if not more.
Miscellaneous: Characters rarely get beyond a point (lets hope there's more of that in the sequel). The only exception is Zod who is far far better than what he was in Superman II - and yup, you actually empathize with him. The first meeting of Lois and Clark is not what people would expect and hope for (yet seems to be the only way to progress the story forward it seems). The "realistic" portrayal they were so talking about seems completely lacking as well.
So many hits and yet so many misses. While Man Of Steel is certainly a good movie, it was destined for greatness which it never manages to fully achieves. This, and not the movie, is the reason for my disappointment. Nevertheless, it certainly deserves a watch on the big screen. The action alone is worth it.
Score: 6.5 / 10
Furious 6 (2013)
As if a Tank wasn't enough, they got a Plane too
Fast & Furious over the last few installments has become all about action. And the latest outing takes it a step further. Almost 20% of the movie is comprised of action sequences. And at the expense of action, plot, writing, characters all take a backseat. But no one's complaining. Why ? Because the action makes up for all of it.
Do the above statements sound cliché ??? The movie's plot is full of such silly dialogs so its best ignored in the current context. What works is the action - Lin and his crew bring us some of the most ridiculously outrageous and boldly conceived action sequences. There's an intense chase through London in the initial reels and also a race later on. There's a whole plane take-off-crash sequence towards the end that you've probably got a glimpse of in the trailers. The girls are no slouches either and we see an intense hand-to-hand fight of sorts between Michelle Rodriguez's Letty and Gina Carano's Riley.
But the movie's best sequence is undoubtedly the 10 minute Tank chase across the freeway that involves most of the cast and culminates in a breathtaking "catch" (about which I'd not say any further). The camera cuts like crazy, music is pulsating and that single sequence is probably worth the price of the movie ticket.
Apart from action, Furious 6 doesn't have much going for it. Dialog is standard, at times even silly and predictable, characters are flat, performances are decent. The car chases and night scenes got me so involved, I actually felt a bit strange leaving the theater and coming out into the real world's broad daylight. And the post-credits scene is simply, a treat which makes the next installment in the series worth looking forward to. Suffice it to say that in the end, the movie drifts full circle.
Watch it for the action, and for the action alone. If you expect any sort of character development or family issues like the first installment had, you'll be disappointed. Else, you're in for one hell of a ride.
Score: 7 / 10
Iron Man Three (2013)
He still is Iron Man
We've all seen the trailers. And we've all probably built up a certain vibe about the movie - that its taking the dark route a.l.a. DC movies. So, if it doesn't end up living up to that vibe that its built around itself, its bound to disappoint viewers, mildly or hugely. Because in this case, the dark route actually seemed like a perfect fit for the third installment.
Sample this: After the events of The Avengers, Tony Stark suddenly realizes that there are other supremely powerful beings in existence, that he's not alone, and that when compared with the others, he's certainly not the strongest of the bunch. So he develops post-traumatic stress, starts getting anxiety attacks, and in the process has built himself an army of suits - an Iron Legion - all because he just doesn't feel safe anymore. This causes friction between him and everyone else he knows - between him and Pepper and their romance, between him and Rhodey and their friendship, and between him and Happy affecting their bonding. Lots of room for exploration there right ??? Add to that, an emerging terrorist threat in the form of The Mandarin whose organization, The Ten Rings was alluded to in the first movie and you have an opportunity to bring things a full circle. The Mandarin being Iron Man's most prominent foe in comic book legacy only helps.
But sadly, it looks like the movie doesn't care to exploit all of these to their fullest. I'm not saying it doesn't use these issues at all, Tony's vulnerabilities are played out brilliantly. Its just that they could have done so much more with this material and the trailers gave us reason after reason to expect that they have that we end up a tad bit dissatisfied or should I say even mildly frustrated. And the pacing of the movie is quite feverish which isn't a problem if the characters are involving enough. But when they keep spurting out one-liners after another with a comic intent, it gets a bit irritating. Again, I'm saying a bit and not hugely irritating.
There's no reason to scoff at the movie's production values. In fact, being a Marvel movie, I shouldn't even be commenting on how amazing the visuals are, or with Black at the helm, the action is top-notch. It would simply be wasting characters in this review if details are described. But yes, the airplane crash and the subsequent fall sequence deserves mention - its the only sequence in the movie that gave me real goosebumps. I'd say that sequence makes up for some of the movie's flaws never mind the brief duration that it last's for.
Downey is at the top of his game here. He plays a more mature, sensible and disturbed Stark unlike the jolly good alcoholic of the previous movies. However he does retain his sense of humor which is good in a way but not so good when done excessively. The girls get little screen time but give in their best. As for the bad guys, they're all effective and any further comments on their performance would mean spoiling a big twist in the movie.
With Iron Man 3, Marvel's Phase II has begun. And while this may not be the best of starts, its certainly not a bad one by any means. A little bit of fine tuning and even sticking to the vibe the trailers projected would have made this movie a serious force to bicker or reckon with. As it is though, Iron Man 3 is a pretty decent summer flick. Just don't expect anything extraordinary out of it.
I was about to give it a 7, but I'll raise the score by 0.5 for Downey's performance and for the airplane sequence.
Score: 7.5 / 10
The visuals are surely not prone to Oblivion
In a vast seemingly endless landscape, Jak travels on a bike surrounded by what appears to be the remnants of the Manhattan Bridge. In another shot, Jak's Bubbleship circles a destroyed football stadium which hosted the last Superbowl before the alien invasion that destroyed earth. These are simply two of the many shots that you see in Oblivion showing a ravaged Earth circa 2077. And they're a sight to behold no matter the countless times such sights have been and shall continue to be shown on celluloid. The effects blend in seamlessly and after the initial few shots, it ceases to matter what's real and what's digital.
For a futuristic sci-fi that claims to be original (and it is if Kosinski's unpublished graphic novel by the same name is considered just that: unpublished), Kosinski nails the look and atmosphere. But then, Kosinski's already done that in Tron: Legacy, his last outing, which was no less of a visual achievement by any means. Fortunately, at least for me, this one comes out to be a tad bit better than his previous attempt.
Jak Harper and Victora a.k.a. Vika work as a team with Vika serving as the operator and Jak handling the drone maintenance work on Earth: repairing drones that have been programmed to destroy any alien life on sight. Earth was destroyed in an alien attack 60 years ago and while the humans won the war, the planet was sabotaged beyond habitation. On one of his routine missions, Jak encounters a flying object that crash lands on Earth. It turns out that there were five objects housing humans with one of them resembling a woman Jak has been seeing frequently in his dreams. Jak rescues her and the real story takes off from there.
Joseph Kosinski takes the simple route and has the film begin with a narration by Cruise explained the aforementioned scenario. Perhaps he chose to do it because the film already has plenty of surprises in store in the second half and as such, there was no need to obscure Earth's current situation. As expected, the movie feels like a well polished product in all departments. Cruise, Olga and Andrea turn in pretty decent performances despite having no distinct character arcs to follow. Cruise in particular gives in a very, shall I say, sincere performance playing it low key. Freeman essays his cameo with ease. The Zimmerish music does get a bit repetitive and generic but manages to keep the tension at appropriate levels which suits my tastes so that'll be a plus for me. And thankfully, the movie refuses to go all out into Haloesque action mode for a long time with the action being interspersed and well spaced and most importantly, kept to as much as is required and no more.
What you will take in the end with Oblivion are the visuals. Lets face it, by the time the whole movie ends, you'll realize all the plots elements have been borrowed from a flick or two in the past. But these days, its not only about an original plot but an original execution. And for a movie that's not a remake, or a sequel, or an established comic book or adapted novel, Oblivion does the job. It may not be an Avatar but Oblivion is decent enough for a one time watch. And going by the visuals, that watch is best suited for the big screen.
Score: 7.5 / 10
A word of advice. Watch this movie straightaway without reading anything about it. Most of the plot summaries you'll go through will mostly end up ruining the movie for you. Its incredibly short (about 3 minutes) so even if it ends up sucking for you, it wouldn't have in any way hurt to devote 3 minutes to what I find a great start for a by now famous and master craftsman Nolan. Heck even a visit to the loo takes more time so giving 3 minutes to this movie without any second thought shouldn't be hard enough. Let the bug surprise you.
Doodlebug came to my attention when doing a bit of research (that isn't the right term but I'll stick to it anyway) on Christopher Nolan now that his final movie in the Batman trilogy is about to hit out. It appears he made two more shorts before this of which one named Larceny, I've heard a lotta praises about but sadly couldn't manage to get my hands on it anywhere. So I decided to started my Nolan filmography with this one. For the meager amount of money, this movie is quite a watch. Excellent camera-work, nice editing which keeps the movie flowing smoothly (and not much like Nolan's later non-linear works), good effects for a short (that's just me though) and a decent performance make this worth a watch. Now I don't exactly know what messages this movie wished to convey but I do know that those were some entertaining and insightful 3 minutes into what was to come in the future from this guy. Following's up next for sure.
The perfect Star Wars movie. The perfect action adventure flick. The perfect film.
It's now an accepted fact that the first Star Wars is regarded as one of the most, or amongst some communities, the most successful movie of all time both in terms of critical acclaim and box office gross. Attempting a sequel to a movie of such magnitude, while an exciting prospect from the movie goers' perspective, is a suicidal task for the crew behind the same. One can only imagine the immense pressure of expectations that the makers of this film would have gone through while making this movie and even more so when the movie eventually saw the light. However, this movie not only fulfills all such hopes that fans of the first movie would have from the sequel but takes the Star Wars franchise into an even better and exciting territory, and improving upon the minor flaws of the first, turns out to be an adventure that can be regarded as good as perfect in all aspects of film-making. Although I had gotten a slight hint of this from the forums and internet talk, I now realize why this is regarded as the best movie in the Star Wars universe.
There's little need to get into the plot as it is best experienced by watching the movie directly. To describe it in short though, Darth Vader is desperately after Luke Skywalker and wants to turn him to the dark side. In an attempt to capture him, he plans to use his friends Han Solo and Princess Leia as bait. Meanwhile, Luke, guided by Obi-Wan Kenobe's voice through the mystical Force must travel to Dagobah where he must learn the true ways of a Jedi Knight in order to confront the evil lord Darth Vader.
Once again, all the elements that made the original Star Wars a success abound in the sequel. There's a well conceived story put together in place, great writing and editing that makes all the sequences feel connected to each other allowing them all to flow together, there's the original cast giving better performances this time being more aware of their characters, and of course, there's the by now famous Star Wars opening musical piece. Lucas, busy handling his newly established visual effects house and finances, hands over the directorial reins to his trusted professor Irvin Kershner. A professor at the University of Cinema Sciences, the way he handles the epic sequences while at the same time concentrating on expanding and developing the characteristic traits of the main cast gives the film an emotional depth which was sorely lacking in the original movie and which was one of my complaints with that film - the characters there were appeared too flat and devoid of personality as though they were just going through the motions. The presence of some character development this time allows us to connect with them even better which in turn makes the situations in which they get involved in a lot more engaging. Amongst all, the character of Han Solo as a dependable "scoundrel" is what really stands out; Ford plays him out in a near perfect way which is not only consistent with what Solo was in the first film, but also takes it in a further positive direction. His sequences with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia are amongst the high points of the movie and are brilliantly played out. We also see Mark Hamill as a now slightly more mature Luke Skywalker as he journeys to Dagobah to learn the ways of a true Jedi from the strangely voiced Yoda. And of course there's the inseparable duo of C-3PO and R2-D2 who are actually forced to stay apart from each other for a major portion of this movie. As much as I can admit to not being able to understand anything R2 says, I have inexplicably grown to like his presence immensely in Star Wars.
The film features visual effects and action on a scale that's almost twice as big as its predecessor (the budget only confirms this). Spending $32 million on a movie in 1980 would not have been regarded as a wise decision but thank goodness that Lucas decided to go for it or we might not have been able to witness space battles on such a huge scale. The battle on the ice planet at the start of the movie is brilliantly staged and a behind the scenes documentary sheds some light on how some of these miraculous shots were achieved. What's really great about the action is that unlike the heavily edited action sequences of present films wherein the average shot just lasts for about 2-3 seconds, shots in Star Wars last longer making the action very comprehensible and easy to follow. Its easy to see the strategies being adopted by each side while fighting as opposed to units just being brought down by random shots fired by people / creatures obscured by the miss-mash editing. And the best sequence of the movie comes towards the end in an epic battle between Luke and Darth Vader that literally will send your pulse racing. Even more exciting is the battle's infamous outcome which I shall not reveal.
Movies like The Empire Strikes Back come only once in a while. Perhaps, every decade must have only a few of these movies present. Fans would obviously come up with a few nitpicks here and there but as far as my opinion goes, this movie is perfect in every aesthetic and area of film-making I'm ever aware of. Now that this movie has set such high standards for the Star Wars saga, I wonder where the next movies will take me. Suffice it to say, The Empire Strikes Back strikes a positive blow from which recovery is simply not possible. A winner all the way !!!
Score: 10 / 10
Star Wars (1977)
Star Wars - A Renewed Hope
I can't believe I've missed this all these years. This has got to be the movie phenomenon of perhaps, the century. From what I gather, almost every avid movie watcher is in some way or the other aware of the existence of something called Star Wars. Today, I took the plunge to experience it first hand courtesy the arrival of The Complete Saga on Blu-Ray.
What makes Star Wars powerful ??? Is it the characters ??? Not for me. I believe its the well fleshed out story, which looks like it has been adapted from an extremely detailed novel of sorts. What also worked according to me was the development of the movie's narrative - it just flows smooth as silk with no such points existing in the movie where the director has none of the universe's story to share and has just added fillers. There is never a dull moment in Star Wars - it all moves one sequence after the other and they all connect so wonderfully that you're left mesmerized. The characters and performances in my opinion are not bad but they're not as good as the aforementioned aspects. And I trust that these are only going to get better in the movies to follow now that they've been successfully introduced to the audience.
Needless to say, the film is a technical marvel. And any praise of the film's technical prowess has to be incomplete without a mention of the film's visual effects. That Lucas could even dream about filming these ambitious sequences three decades ago is remarkable. There's a behind the scenes documentary which shows the making of some of these sequences. Its a must watch for those wondering over how visual effects were done in the good olé' days. The shots are truly breathtaking and so is the editing - everything's wonderfully put into place. Its hard to believe that the first cut of this movie was considered to be a shoddily edited piece of work.
The first time I heard the Star Wars main theme, which in the movie was right at the beginning surrounding the opening crawl, my jaw almost dropped. This is because here was the tune that I had been perhaps hearing since my childhood at innumerable award functions, events, advertisements and other such situations but I never actually bothered to investigate its source. I used to believe that its a tune which must have been specially composed for the Oscars, then recycled into being used elsewhere. The theme can best be described as uplifting - and John Williams, a maestro.
Missing out this movie meant missing out on one of the most brilliant movie experiences of all without even being aware of it. No amount of talk related to this movie is enough until you've seen it for yourself. I won't get into plot and cast details here because I'm confident that with the presence of so many reviews out there, these must have been taken care of countless number of times. I just felt that I needed to write out the excitement that has gripped me after watching this film - an excitement and curiosity about what the other films hold in store. Its not a perfect film and its certainly going to have its share of detractors and bashers. But this is one film that should be bashed only after its been given a fair trial. And there's a fairly slim chance that you'd wanna do that once you've seen it. This movie has introduced and involved me into the Star Wars universe. And now, I'm off to The Empire Strikes Back the next week !!!
Score: 8.5 / 10
Review of the Rise of the Planet of the Apes
A glimpse of this movie's trailer at a suburban mall is what caught my attention. It seemed like an interesting concept - apes taking over the world, getting intelligent. More research revealed that this is actually a part of a series (although not in a direct way) about apes ruling a planet. Information gave rise to curiosity and finally turned into enthusiasm which is when I decided to give this movie a shot. And it didn't disappoint.
The story should be familiar to people aware with the series - a new drug is being developed by a scientist Will Rodman to cure Alzheimer's. The drug is tested on a chimp who is killed while trying to defend her baby. The baby chimp then inherits the mother's genes and intelligence which develops far more than what the drug's maker's anticipated. What's interesting is the way this movie has been presented to people who are unfamiliar to the series - no worries, you're not at all gonna feel out of place. So, you definitely don't need to go through the previous movies to watch this one.
There's little of character development or outstanding performances here (excepting the main chimp Caeser that is who gets both of these). What makes the movie work at least for me is the writing and the direction. Watch the scene when Caeser defends Will's Dad. Endearing and mesmerizing. The effects are awesome as well. Its hard to believe that so much could be achieved for a relatively small budget (about $90 million). I guess when it comes to top notch visual effects at a relatively low cost, Weta is the one to approach. They could create a whole planet in Avatar for $237 million, the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy for about $300 million and also did the aliens in District 9 for $30 million. Need I say more ???
The movie has a really fresh feel to it - it has that typical summer science-fiction feel to it yet it is much more than that. It only runs too short - a little more time, say a run time of about 2.5 hours would have given the movie enough time to establish the characters and would have made it a masterpiece on the lines of Peter Jackson's King Kong. Its perhaps because of the short run time that Freida Pinto's and James Franco's characters get limited screen time and scope to perform. Nevertheless, for all that it is, this is a great summer movie with an outstanding performance by Andy Serkis as Caeser and a technically sound film in all departments (cinematography, VFX, production design and the likes). In short, its all that I expected it to be. If you do not have a problem in suspension of disbelief, I strongly recommend this movie !!! Score: 7.5 / 10
Too bad ... Its over
Its here. The moment we've all been waiting for and the moment we've been secretly dreading. For believe it or not, the fact is, that there might just not be any more Harry Potter left after this movie. The books are over, and with the latest Harry Potter installment, the movies are over too. And so, with Harry Potter, we've all entered adulthood.
First off, the movie was great. With the rave reviews it has been getting, I was of the opinion that most of these might have been given out of sympathy and an emotional attachment to the Potter franchise considering that we bid goodbye to him and his circle of friends with this. But the movie actually deserves all the applause its been getting. What struck me as different about this movie is that it has a constant feeling of movement - a feeling similar to what you get when watching Christopher Nolan's masterpieces like Inception and The Dark Knight. Even in a scene which could otherwise have been a simple dialog taking place between two characters, the background score gives the impression of movement - which in turn gives you the on-the-edge-of-the-seat feeling that you usually crave for in movies. And irrespective of whether you've read the novels or not, you're surely going to enjoy this movie because you are well aware that this is it, it has to end here. Either Harry has to die, or Voldemort will. Or maybe both ??? I'm not going to mention anything about the story lest I inadvertently manage to reveal a spoiler. Suffice it to say, that Harry, Ron and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Horcruxes and hence attempting to destroy Lord Voldemort and in their quest, are joined by almost every character we can recollect to be on their side since the inception of the Potter universe. For those who ain't read the novels, the plot is still simple to follow since most of the explanation bit has been done in Deathly Hallows - Part 1. For those who have, they've according to me included almost everything they could from the novel. Dumbledore's past has been left out and the sequence of events and the manner in which they take place in the ending slightly altered but apart from that, its like watching the novel come to life.
The recent Harry Potter movies have become increasingly dark, not just tonally, but also visually. The visuals are great although the darkness sometimes makes it difficult to see what's going on in the screen. I'd imagine the 3D to have an even worse effect which is why I saw the movie in 2D and apart from the opening logo and the ending sequence, I could not see how the movie could have been better in 3D than without it. The background score is simply excellent - just hear the bits playing during Snape's presence; they're haunting. The performances have come up too and again, although Fiennes as Voldemort gives us a scary act and Radcliffe, Grint and Watson are commendable as the trio, the best performance comes from Alan Rickman portraying Severus Snape. His eyes alone manage to convey a wide range of emotions, in some cases, with the rest of his body standing still. Its sad that he has less scenes in the movie. Just like Severus Snape, Rickman here proves to be the secret star of the show.
On the minuses, the movie is incredibly dark. Of course, considering that all the action happens during the night, it should rightfully be so but nevertheless, this makes things happening on screen sometimes, difficult to follow. Also, with the time they had, they could've easily extended the movie by 10 minutes or so and included all of Dumbledore's past. That would have added for some interesting character study from a movie's perspective and it would have ensured inclusion of the whole novel in the movie at just a few extra minutes of screen time's worth - something Potter fans and even non novel readers would not have minded. Besides, they should have shown how some of the characters who get bumped off (yes they do) have died instead of just showing us their dead faces. What is bugging is that they actually were cribbing of time all this time along and this movie being 130 minutes approximately, they could've gotten enough time (in fact all the time they needed) to put in those extra scenes which would have only enhanced the movie.
I've been preparing to watch this movie for months (three to be precise). I've been reading up all the novels and watching all the movies again. It is while reading the novels for the first time that I realized what I did miss on in all those years of my childhood. Nevertheless, the last few months feel as if I've been living in an alternate universe myself. And finally, I was able to watch this movie while having read the novel before hand - something which I wasn't able to do all these years. And now, its over. I have a hollow feeling inside me telling me that its all over - the event which I've been mentally preparing myself for 3 months is over. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable experience while it lasted. An of course, who knows, they might re release all the Potter films in 3D later on. Which reminds me, who's stopping us from re-watching and re-reading Potter all over again. For what it is, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is a ride that's fun, scary and filled with a tinge of sadness. As a sort of a bonus, you even get to see scenes from the previous Potter films. A must watch. Long live Harry Potter. Longer live Severus Snape !!!
Score: 8.0 / 10
Fast Five (2011)
Not a Five Star title, but definitely Fast
The producers / distributors / makers (call them what you may) behind this movie have decided to transition The Fast And The Furious Series of movies from a street racing franchise into an action / heist one with car chases at its helm instead of the notorious street races that governed most of the previous movies. Had I not watched any of the past movies, I would have certainly welcomed this move. But after seeing all four of them (in anticipation of this one), I believe that leaving out street racing from this movie was not a pretty good idea - there's just one race in this movie and that too, is a friendly sort of no stakes race. Although I can understand the studio's motives behind doing so, The Fast And The Furious series of films deserve at the least one race per film.
Anyways, enough of the complaining already. Coming to the point, which is Fast Five, the movie is surely fast and equally furious. The fourth movie ended with Paul and Mia attempting to bust out Dom from prison with an animated escape shown in the end. The fifth movie begins just at that point with a live action escape sequence replacing the animated one at the end of the previous installment. After a job that goes awry, the trio are then on the run since they're wanted by two factions of people - the crew of a businessman Reyes and the team of a DSS agent Luke Hobbs. After running around for some time, they decide to pull one last job to buy out their freedom with fake passports and start life afresh. But with these two powerful men on their tails, it ain't gonna be that easy.
Fast Five is more of an action movie and so, for it to work, there has to be action. And there is - plenty of it. Without spoiling most of it by describing it in detail, I'd say the high points of the movie are the train job at the start that goes awry and sets up the events of the movie, the trio's escape from both teams who get to them simultaneously over rooftops, a fight between Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and of course, the finale which is absolute madness. And perhaps all of the sequences have been shot without any use of CGI which is what makes the action even all the more exciting and brings back memories of the past era of action movies where all sequences were filmed rather than digitally created.
The cinematography is top notch as well. Although there are a lot of cuts in action sequences, we still get some long continuous areal views of the action (long meaning lasting around 5 seconds or so) which helps understanding what's going on and where it all fits into the surroundings. This ensures you're with the action. Performances are decent and for a mostly wooden Paul Walker reprising his role as Brian O'Connor, you have a surprisingly flexible Dwayne Johnson playing Luke Hobbs - the new entry in the franchise. His character is exactly what he told it would be in the behind the scenes featurettes - strong, efficient at nabbing criminals and a worthy antagonist to Dominic Toretto and his team mates. I'd definitely want him to return in the next installment. And although this ain't a movie about characters, we get some dialogs which actually help us understand the characters a little better giving us some insight into their lives. Nothing deeply psychological - just a tinge of what's hidden beneath the surface. Nice.
On the whole, Fast Five is solid entertainment provided you're willing to suspend your disbelief and forget the laws of physics. But then, we always do suspend our disbelief to some extent in movies - that's what they're for. And none of us really does remember the laws of physics so they're irrelevant for the most part. In which case, the movie comes highly recommended and even more so for an action movie buff. This is the definitive action movie of the year. And do stay for some time for a nice post credits surprise which unlike many meaningless sequences, is a critical post-credits scene that might set up the next installment in the series.
Score: 7.0 / 10