As I said over at [livejournal.com profile] daily_happy I loooooved Fast Five, and I'm totally into the series now. ^_^

When Kat and I first saw the trailer for Fast Five, I think we were both thinking that it looked like stupid action movie fun. I had seen the first one years and years ago and wasn't very impressed, and she had seen the third one, possibly others, but neither of us were well versed in the universe. We decided, for fun, that we should watch all four movies in the weeks leading up to Fast Five's release...so we did, and I never expected to love the ride as much as I did.

For those who don't know, The Fast and the Furious WAS a dumb action flick that came out about a decade ago. It followed Brian O'Connor, an undercover cop who infiltrates the world of these street racing criminals in order to take down Dominic Toretto. In the end, he gains an affection and respect for Toretto that keeps him from taking him down. This movie (and the one that followed it, 2 Fast 2 Furious) had decent action scenes and decent acting, but they were equally as hokey and ridiculous. They were stupid fun, obviously entertaining enough for us to keep going, but nothing special.

Then came the third movie.

When first planning to watch these movies, Tokyo Drift was the one I was fearing the most. I almost wanted to skip it for how little it had to do with the series as a whole, but it was this movie that was the turning point in the series. Oh, it was still hokey, still ridiculous. It had almost nothing to do with the other movies at all, save for a brief cameo from Toretto at the end, but something had changed. For the first time, you actually found yourself caring about the characters...at least one of them. ^_^ The story was a little tighter, the visuals were absolutely stunning, and as far as I can tell, it's all due to the new director, Justin Lin.

Justin did the next 2 movies as well, Fast & Furious and Fast Five, and I'm convinced he's the reason I'm now a total fan of this series. He showed an affection for his creations right from the start by bringing over not just the actor, but a character from a previous movie that has nothing to do with The Fast and the Furious at all. He respects canon and continuity, and he treats the main characters like people rather than nameless muscle. He hasn't forgotten a single character from the past—even the one I thought he had showed up in the after the credits bit of 5! And he took Roman, the most annoying person in the world in 2 Fast 2 Furious and made him comic relief that you actually enjoyed and, dare I say, care about.

I was wary due to something (that's a spoiler so I'm not going to say) that happened in the fourth movie. It seemed like a cheap ploy garner sympathy for Toretto. Something to be used and then thrown away, but that's not what happened at all. It's become a part of his character now, and not only that, but that plot point itself is wrapping around and coming back to haunt them in the set up for the 6th movie that I really, really hope they make.

Even while heading to the theatre yesterday, all I hoped for was a fun action flick, which it certainly was—again, wonderful visuals, great action, ridiculous stunts, with great one liners and a decent amount of humor, but it ended up being so much more than that. You actually care about these characters now; you worry for them and get invested in the family they've made for themselves. You genuinely want to see them happy at the end of it all. These movies—the last two especially—have a surprising amount of heart, and that's where they really shine. And that bit at the end will leave you BEGGING for more—it's a superb plot twist. ^_^

I totally recommend Fast Five, but you HAVE to see the first four to really appreciate all the nuances; otherwise, you'll probably just see it as the great action flick that it is. ^_^
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