Sam Strange Remembers: FAST FIVE

Hollywood legend Sam Strange recalls his latest triumph.

Childhood is fun. But the time comes in every young man’s life to put the games away and grow up. For the many characters in the Fast and Furious series, that time has finally come. I cordially invite you to Fast Five, the greatest argument for oversized summer movies since that last Mummy film. I forget what it’s called. The one with Sammo Hung.

Before we can get into the film proper, though, we still have to clean up the mess made by Fast and Furious. Our lovable hero Dom “Touretto” DeLouise is in a bus driving towards 25 years in prison at speeds he’s deeply impatient with.

Luckily, his crew shows up to bust him out. The escape goes like this: his sister Eloise DeLouise tells the prison bus it’s shoes are untied. When the bus bends over to check, Han Kenobi gently nudges it backward where Paul Walker is waiting on his knees. The bus falls over Paul Walker’s back and flips fifty times. Then Mexican sidekicks Taco-Tico and Del Taco quickly jump in to free Dom and handcuff all the real criminals so no innocent people get murdered or raped as a byproduct of Dom’s escape.

We pick up several months later in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico. Dom, Paul Walker, and Eloise DeLouise are running out of money, so they take a job stealing two cars from DEA custody on a moving train. What begins as the simple task of welding off the side of a moving train car and driving key-less cars out of a space too small to allow turning grows complicated when the gangsters they’re working with turn out to be gangsters.

The gangsters try to double-cross Dom, Paul, and Eloise, and they kill the DEA agents on the train. Eloise gets away with one of the cars, but Dom and Paul Walker survive only by driving theirs off a cliff while activating NO5 Bird-Callers that attract giant eagles to catch them and fly them to safety.

So now our good guys have a car wanted by Rio de Janeiro, Mexico’s biggest crime lord, Bucho. But something else is going on too, something of a much deeper personal nature. Dom’s mechanical eyes see all. And right now they see a change coming over his partner, Paul Walker. He notices Paul’s been talking about cars in terms of interior size and gas mileage. He no longer drinks Corona, preferring Rolling Rock. He traded all his Sublime CD’s for the entire Bob Seger catalogue. He’s started taking Eloise DeLouise to Kate Hudson films. Dom realizes that Paul Walker has matured so much that he’s ready to go straight.

With this development, Dom sees that he not only stands to lose his best friend, but his sister as well if he lets jealousy get between their happiness. He may be a mountain of masculinity, but he’s also a sensitive family man at heart. When he finds out Eloise is pregnant with Paul Walker’s child, he sheds prideful tears over the growth of his crew, but reserves a few for his bruised, lumbering heart.

As Dom worries about his romantic future, God sends him an angel: The Rock. If The Hulk could Hulk-Out, you might have some idea of who The Rock is. Everything we already love about Dom is taken to the next level with this guy. He’s bigger, balder, more racially confusing, and twice as articulate. The idea of the two of them hooking up somehow is almost too good to entertain. And yet, The Rock is in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico for one reason and one reason only: find Dom and fuck his shit up on behalf of the United States Justice System.

Anyway, Dom and Paul Walker realize their stolen car holds all the cash box locations for Bucho’s drug operation. Dom decides they should steal all of it to bankroll the domestic future of not only Paul Walker and his sister, but everyone he ever rolled with, all of them likely facing their late thirties as well.

To do this, however, will require all those people to come help out with the heist. First to arrive is mystical Han Kenobi, the series’ sole heterosexual male. Next, Chris Tucker from 2Fast 2Furious shows up as the crew’s premiere electronic genius. After that, Paul Walker’s childhood friend and lover Roman “Rome” Romeo appears. Taco-Tico and Del Taco come too. Last is some skinny lady I imported from Torque just to be a smartass.

Dom and Romeo knew each other in juvie. While they re-bond over a shared longing for Paul Walker, it is not enough to rekindle their youthful affair. Meanwhile, the skinny girl from Torque quietly pines for Dom while Han Kenobi quietly pines for her. Chris Tucker is a eunuch. Probably the only people sexually and emotionally satisfied in this group are Taco-Tico and Del Taco, but that’s because they are clearly in their forties already and past all this juvenile shit.

Their plan is to rob one cash house, scaring Bucho into consolidating his money into one monster vault for them to nab. This works to an extent. He puts the money in one place, but it’s in a police station. To get it, they’ll have to drive a car unseen past a series of security cameras in ten seconds. This requires turns unknown to both humanity and physics alike.

Han has an answer, however. There is a driving technique known as drifting. If he can momentarily leave the mission to go back in time and teach it to Paul Walker as a teenager, they may have a chance. Dom’s not sure they can spare that much NO5, but Han has more to say privately:

“Listen Dom. I have seen the future. If Bucho isn’t taken down, he’ll turn Rio into a cesspool. If that happens, the last two Spix’s Macaws on Earth will not come to Rio and fuck. If that happens, all the bees will die. If that happens life as we know it will cease to exist.” Han gets the go-ahead he seeks. The next day, Paul Walker can suddenly drift and the crew is ready to roll.

Just then, The Rock breaks into their hideout with his FBI guys and starts fucking their shit up biblically. Most of the crew escapes, but Paul Walker’s stuck trying to get away from The Rock’s super-hot blonde Mexican translator without hitting her in the face while Dom has his hands full trying not to kiss The Rock as they roll around the floor with their boners on.

The Rock/Dom fight is a monumental thing. The Rock seems to have every physical advantage, but Dom keeps escaping his holds because The Rock’s entire body is covered with slippery sweat. Ultimately The Rock wins, but only because he wills his tribal tattoos to life, something he promised himself he’d never do again after it broke his heart the last time. An almost unbearable lust overcomes both men as he slips handcuffs on Dom’s oil-stained hands. “This ain’t over,” Dom growls. Secretly, The Rock hopes he’s right.

Before they can bring their captives in, Bucho’s crew shows up and kills The Rock’s whole FBI crew. Only he and his translator girl escape, and that’s just because Dom and Paul Walker help out. Now, shit is personal, and The Rock decides to finally fall for Dom and help out their heist. The two make some jaw-dropping, seriously violent sex.

Stealth is no longer a concern. Instead of Tokyo Drifting their way through, Dom and Paul Walker simply drag the entire vault out of the police station. They do, however, utilize Tokyo Drifting to make the vault a weapon they can aim at other cars. The rest of the crew shows up in identical cars with vaults of their own, thus confusing all Bucho’s men. By the time the whole chase is over, every police car in Rio has been smashed and Bucho lay on the side of the road with two of The Rock’s bullets in his brain. Rio is saved, and now the two stupid birds can fuck and make more stupid birds that save the bees that save the world.

Dom and The Rock want to be together, but it just won’t work at their age. Only at this point does Dom realize what Paul Walker already figured out. It’s time to grow up. He takes the hot blonde translator lady as his wife and lives the rest of his days as a family man in a house adjoining the one owned by Paul Walker and his sister (which adjoins Taco-Tico and Del Taco’s adobe which adjoins Han and Torque girl’s dojo which adorns Romeo and Chris Tucker’s “Bitches ain’t shit” pimp-pad).

Or does he? Will this turn to domestic bliss really last? Can Dom’s house of cards withstand the disruptive power of a very disappointed zombie who still wants to stay up late and party? Don’t forget, this is a story spanning time and space, told one quarter mile at a time. Stay tuned up…

(three stars)