Fast Five made me grow a penis; also made $83.6 million this weekend
By Alex Cranz
I don’t have a penis. I’ve never had a penis. I don’t ever plan to get a penis. The only thought I’ve ever given to penises is that if I did have one I would totally walk around nude shaking my hips back and forth and listening to it slap against my thighs. Also it would be a big ol’ hunk of man meat because I expect no less from my genitalia but perfection.
Hollywood has spent the last few years trying to tell me the other great things about penises. They’ve tried to get me on board their man meat train with films full of big, muscular, oily guys having big, manly bouts of camaraderie. They’ve thrown huge swords and massive guns at my face. They’ve PUMPED that THX infused sound up to make the whole place vibrate with every explosion and guttural thrum of an engine.
Hollywood has desperately wanted me to understand the mind of men and to understand the appendage that swings between their legs. And through it all I’ve failed to get it. I’ve felt no manlier. I’ve wondered where all the interesting ladies were. I’ve wondered why the man nipples didn’t pucker in the water or the snow. I’ve longed for something more than the short hand that manly action films operate in.
But last night I was sitting in the theater, and Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) and some other dudes (TYRESE and Sung Kang) were gunning their engines and grinning at each other and preparing to race a million dollar quarter-mile and I swear to you: I understood, on a visceral level, what it was to have a giant engorged boner. For thirty seconds? I was a MAN.
That’s all that Fast Five was about. Men being men. And not some super old fashion idea of men. Where they’re noble and honorable and treat women right and only eat steak and only drink hardy ale. No. Fast Five was about the modern man. It was about the lovers, fathers, brothers, soldiers and the very, very, very closeted gay men and Tyrese.
The movie is about how men interact with each other and how women, as much as we want to be apart of it, as capable as we may be, are never more than the eye candy–or in Jordana Brewester case, Trixie from Speed Racer. You know what kind of movie you’re in for when Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs chooses a translator for his team. “Why do you want her?” the Brazilian cop asks, looking all bewildered-like at a photo of the gorgeous Elsa Pataky.
“She has a nice smile,” Hobbs spits out.
But the film never talks down to women. It keeps them out of all the key action sequences, perhaps fearful that the three beauties populating the film will break if given a real action sequence, but it makes an effort. Jordana Brewster can drive. Elsa Pataky is smart. Gal Gadot can get her ass slapped like nobody’s business… also she has a motorcycle and guns. See? These women are capable.
Now, back to Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson dripping sweat and standing so close that you’re kind of surprised when they don’t make out.
Fast Five is so unabashedly honest with its love of men that you can’t get mad at its exclusion of women. The movie doesn’t hate women. It’s just got a lot on its plate. There are car chases and foot chases and gun fights and fist fights and men shooting the shit. That’s what the film is concerned with and I’m okay with that. Because holy hell does it do it all right.
Movies like The Expendables were trying so hard to catch the magic of an 80s/early 90s action film and director Justin Lin came in and found that magic with Fast Five. This is how a hyper-masculine action film should look. There are action sequences in this movie that had my audience audibly gasping because they were that awesome.
And my audience wasn’t the only one. Fast Five pulled in 83.6 million dollars this weekend. That makes it the biggest opening of the year thus far, and the biggest April opening ever. And Fast Five totally deserves those numbers. This film makes grown women sprout penises. It makes Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel fight each other. This movie beats up cars with vaults and makes it look like Tyrese and Ludacris can act. Guys. This movie is masculine perfection.