Since Marey’s motion studies at the end of the nineteenth century, film has been a tool for providing visible evidence, a record of things seen. The development of digital imaging technology over the past twenty years has transformed that original empirical function.
Early in Fast Five, charismatic Han (Sung Kang) arrives in Rio de Janeiro, recruited Ocean’s Eleven-style to play a role in an elaborate heist. Though fans of the series will no doubt be delighted to see him, they may be perplexed when they recall that he met an unambiguous death in previous installment The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. His persistence is a mystery, like that of the generally heavy-handed and lead-footed franchise itself.
“You know how I got the money, when I was starting out? Here. Not here, but a place like it, in the Sprawl. Joke, to start with, ‘cause once they plant the cut-out chip, it seems like free money. Wake up sore, sometimes, but that’s it. Renting the goods, is all. You aren’t in, when it’s all happening. House has software for whatever a customer wants to pay for …”
The two parts of Che are doomed to be shown separately after the initial “Special Roadshow” opening, but they rightly comprise one movie. This is not to suggest that Soderbergh is experimenting with temporal aesthetics; he lives on Hollywood time, and at four hours plus, Che isn’t visionary, it’s long.