review by: Al Moore
The principals put in good efforts given the script they have to work with, which consists almost exclusively of horrid one-liners. More on this, later. Johnson manages to make Vin Diesel look tiny, and his thighceps basically fill up the frame. Even of the aforementioned establishment shots. The human anti-T-Rex exudes the charisma that made him a WWE superstar and bankable Disney asset, even though his characterization is weirdly Orwellian. For all he talks about “hating criminals”, he pretty much gets through the movie with a series of ever-escalating extrajudicial torture and surveillance fetishism. Diesel holds his own, but his age is beginning to show; his closeups reveal a distracting amount of makeup, and some of his lines are unintelligible slow grumbles, like the quiet ravings of a punch-drunk Rocky. Michelle Rodriguez returns in her sixth “Saucy Latina with Dogtags” reprise, and only the third of the Fast and Furious series. Paul Walker holds the fort as the Guy a Little Out of his Depth, and the remainder of the cast ably fulfill their quotas of race-baiting and plot advancement.
Occasionally a born storyteller like a Joss Whedon or a Ken Levine slips through the cracks, but by and large it’s very explanatory. All this is to say, if you let a functional thirteen year old drive your script, you’ll end up with a movie that’s only palatable to functional thirteen year olds. Like the makeup, why spend nine figures on a movie, without hiring something resembling an adult to at least supervise the plot and dialog? Here’s just one example that drove me crazy: one of the characters is playing around with a tool that shoots a harpoon (I forget what it was called, Chekov’s Gun or something) and another character says “what’s that”. Bear in mind, these are people that modify and stunt-drive high-performance automobiles for a criminal living. “High tension titanium cable” says one. He is then implored — and I quote — “Say that in English!” [Laughter from the theater]
- The entirety of The Wire
- Twelve Years
- Breaking Bad
- The Bush Presidency
- Battlestar Galactica
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- September 11, 2001
Regardless, I can’t help feeling that this movie doesn’t know what kind of pornography it’s supposed to be. It’s not car porn. It’s not action porn. It’s not heist caper porn. It’s not exotic-location porn, and it’s certainly not porn porn. My best guess? It’s yacht-money porn for the principals.