Who's In It: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez
The Basics: You demanded more reggaeton and Jordana Brewster in your life and now YOU GET MORE REGGAETON AND JORDANA BREWSTER. It almost seems like too much goodness to comprehend doesn't it? Alongside JB for this highway to nowhere is Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and--for at least seven good minutes--Michelle Rodriguez. Vin's a wanted man so FBI guy Paul offers him leniency in exchange for his participation in the catching bad guys. Then there are some really excellent car races and chases spaced out stingily in between long stretches of people doing a lot of extremely glower-intensive and majorly important acting.
What's The Deal: I think we can all agree that the best of the FF movies has been Tokyo Drift and I'm going to tell you why. First, none of the original blowhards are in it. It's got a D-list cast who had nothing to prove or lose. Second, it's got no concern whatsover for anything resembling a point or a moral, it's just a bunch of Japanese kids who want to party. Party party party. And predicated on this foundation of non-essentialness is a freedom and a bounce and a hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don't-care quality that surrounds every insane vroom vroom vroom sequence. But this one? It's got Vin Diesel as a star and as a producer. And Paul Walker, who is the enemy of all acting. (Compared to these two, Brewster is Helen Mirren.) together they siphon the energy and fun out of this like someone trying to drain the gas out of your tank with one of those plastic crazy-straws. Bummer.
Two Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be Late, Not Counting The One Where It Just Means You're Rude: The most exciting car stunts take place in the opening minutes as a runaway, no-breaks-having 18 wheeler gets hijacked by Diesel and Rodriguez. It's part Death Proof and part The Wages of Fear and it's not only the coolest part of the movie, it's also pretty much all you get of Michelle Rodriguez. Not to worry though, she's all over the internet this week hilariously putting the beatdown on paparazzi.
Even More Disappointing: The cars don't get much attention at all. In earlier installments they were treated as almost overtly sexual fetish objects. Here, when they're not being zipped past your eyes faster than you can visually comprehend them or destroyed in fireballs, they get less camera attention than the incidental moments when hot chicks at parties are seen making out for the amusement of the guys. How are semiotics majors supposed to dismantle a movie's other texts when the movie won't do its job?