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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Fast Five

By
Kurt Jensen
Source: Catholic News Service


Paul Walker and Vin Diesel star in a scene from the movie "Fast Five."
No one watches the "The Fast and the Furious" franchise for plot nuances and sparkling dialogue, and on that score, "Fast Five" (Universal) is true to form.

Speeding cars, crashes galore, soaring leaps, heavily muscled monosyllabic actors, gunplay, explosions. You know the drill.

So what's new this time? There's an all-star cast, combining actors from the previous four films; it's set in Rio de Janeiro; and the villains are a corrupt Brazilian police chief (Joaquim de Almeida) and his henchmen, who together operate a multimillion-dollar drug ring.

Other than that, director Justin Lin and screenwriter Chris Morgan keep the pace pleasantly and predictably speedy, with occasional comedic dialogue to indicate that no one is taking the proceedings all that seriously. It's a theme-park ride of a movie, with muscle cars.

As the engines rev up, Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker), a former police officer, "rescues" convicted thief Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) from the bus taking him to a state prison. From there, the duo winds up south of the border—way south—in the self-proclaimed "Marvelous City."

But where the furious go, legal complications follow. Falsely accused in the death of three U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency operatives, the merry band assembled by Brian and Dom—which includes Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Han (Sung Kang)—plan another mission they hope will achieve their freedom—financially, at least.

Their goal: Steal millions in ill-gotten gains from the police boss, utilizing skills that range from high-tech skullduggery to amazing driving techniques.

Hot on their trail, however, is federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who has considerable street-fighting abilities of his own.

Dom, by the way, is shown to be Catholic; he wears a cross and on one occasion blesses himself. Needless to say, he's hardly a poster child for the faith, but he does express a firm set of family values, and is quite well-grounded, considering his chosen profession.

The film contains much gun and physical violence, a premarital pregnancy, a few instances of profanity, frequent crude and crass language, and fleeting sexual banter. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Kurt Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Conversion of St. Paul: Paul’s entire life can be explained in terms of one experience—his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus. In an instant, he saw that all the zeal of his dynamic personality was being wasted, like the strength of a boxer swinging wildly. Perhaps he had never seen Jesus, who was only a few years older. But he had acquired a zealot’s hatred of all Jesus stood for, as he began to harass the Church: “...entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment” (Acts 8:3b). Now he himself was “entered,” possessed, all his energy harnessed to one goal—being a slave of Christ in the ministry of reconciliation, an instrument to help others experience the one Savior. 
<p>One sentence determined his theology: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5b). Jesus was mysteriously identified with people—the loving group of people Saul had been running down like criminals. Jesus, he saw, was the mysterious fulfillment of all he had been blindly pursuing. </p><p>From then on, his only work was to “present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me” (Colossians 1:28b-29). “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and [with] much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a). </p><p>Paul’s life became a tireless proclaiming and living out of the message of the cross: Christians die baptismally to sin and are buried with Christ; they are dead to all that is sinful and unredeemed in the world. They are made into a new creation, already sharing Christ’s victory and someday to rise from the dead like him. Through this risen Christ the Father pours out the Spirit on them, making them completely new. </p><p>So Paul’s great message to the world was: You are saved entirely by God, not by anything you can do. Saving faith is the gift of total, free, personal and loving commitment to Christ, a commitment that then bears fruit in more “works” than the Law could ever contemplate.</p> American Catholic Blog If you’re confused as to why God would die for you, you either need to rethink your vision of His mercy or of your own worth.

 
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