FAST FIVE:

Near the beginning of this follow-up to FAST & FURIOUS (2009), a pair of American “outlaws” (Vin Diesel, Paul Walker) and their female accomplice (Jordana Brewster) pull off a train heist in South America. To complete their getaway, both men have to leap off a cliff into a river at the bottom of a canyon. If you’re near or over fifty, you saw this movie when it starred Paul Newman and Robert Redford and was called BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969). But if you’re a twentysomething or younger with the notion that you can’t possibly know about anything that happened before you were born, then this mindless and, at times, fun piece of cinematic trash might be your cup of tea.

For my own self, the evolution of this franchise from a modernization of ‘50s hot-rod racing movies into a contemporary “buddy western with fast cars” is at best an awkward fit. The plot of this film is recycled from the previous one where, once again, the primary characters are out to rob the leader of a drug cartel (Joaquin De Almeida) of millions of dollars in a police station vault. Secondary characters from prior series flicks are brought in to complete the gang and provide some comic relief that seems strained.

This is one of those movies with a kind of twisted morality that wants you to support criminals with the justification that their “victims” are lots worse than they are. As eye-popping as the action sequences and stunts are, I’ve seen them all before in either a Bond or a Bourne movie. This flick is also overlong for what would have once been called a “drive-in movie” and it drifts noticeably whenever vehicles aren’t crashing around on Rio de Janeiro streets that appear to lack any traffic.

Since FAST borrows so freely from other movies, I’ll sum up its future value as a franchise with a quote from a LETHAL WEAPON film. “You’re getting too old for this s---.”

CRITIC’S GRADE: C+

CRITIC’S “DRIVE-BY” COMMENTARY: I, for one, think Donald Trump would make a great President. Who better to run our economy than someone who personally knows the “ins and outs” of filing for bankruptcy? We’d have our first “trophy First Lady” in the White House since Jackie Kennedy who was always pregnant anyway. And I know that our nation’s unemployment rate could be reduced by anybody who can get steady work for Gary Busey, LaToya Jackson and Meat Loaf.