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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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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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