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Fast Five
  • Composed by Brian Tyler
  • Varèse Sarabande / 2011 / 77:54

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back in the latest film in The Fast and the Furious series – the fifth!  Few could have predicted that it would have such life in it, but it’s made a load of money and is a real fan favourite, so I’m guessing number six will be along at some point.  As with the previous two films in the series, it’s directed by Justin Lin and scored by Brian Tyler, one of the most prolific action movie composers today.  The first of his three scores was largely non-orchestral, dominated instead by rock music.  That has been completely reversed here – Tyler uses a large orchestra and fuses rock elements into it.  It’s an effective blend – one he’s used before (and there is little here which will come as a surprise to those who collect his albums) but it has to be said, he’s pretty much as good as anyone in film music at doing it.

Indeed, you listen to some of this and it really is so thrilling – the nine-minute “Train Heist” provides a breathless workout for both the orchestra playing it and the person listening to it.  Then there’s something like “Surveillance Montage”, with a much slower pace but a lot of style.  The keyboards, guitars and drum kit aren’t used all the time, but add a really nice edge to it when they are.  OK, so it is true that there is nothing new here from Tyler – and that it does begin to run out of steam long before it has reached its 78th minute – but this is a very easy album to listen to and a very easy one to enjoy.  *** 1/2

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  1. Daniel Azevedo (Reply) on Thursday 12 May, 2011 at 01:10

    Now, James, I feel I must post a comment under your review. I saw the movie yesterday and it is a sorry mess. I can’t for the life of me understand why some critics decided to praise this stinking pile of turd. It’s got all the possible cliches, from the slow motion falls from high altitudes to “meaningful” exchange of looks and the inevitable alliances between cops and robbers. The action sequences are confusing and don’t get me started on the so-called acting of Diesel, Walker and The Rock. It is all so boring and predictable that it doesn’t even work as involuntary comedy, Zucker style. It is sad that it risks becoming the standard of today’s action movies, for it is just plain mediocre. Plus, some of it was filmed in Rio de Janeiro (where I live), but the climax, which is supposed to be happening in downtown Rio and the Rio-Niteroi bridge, was actually shot somewhere else (Puerto Rico, I was told) which doesn’t look remotely like Rio. Try to picture a Bond movie set in London with a car chase where the cars speed by a bank that reads “Banco Nacional de Credito y Divisas” or something like that — they didn’t even bother to disguise the fact that it was written in Spanish. Yeah, right.

    As for Tyler’s score, I understand that you are reviewing the album, but within the movie it is just generic and relentless, the worst kind of sonic wallpaper. I have heard the same music from this composer several times already and it is now older than my grandfather. It doesn’t do the trick anymore. It is so badly spotted that it NEVER shuts up and it almost made me scream “enough with the music already”. This score is noisy and unenvolving. It adds ZERO tension and actually detracts from the movie experience. The pits.