The frequently used reasoning for why the re-entry should always be performed at neck-breaking speeds is that it would take almost as much fuel to slow the craft down as it takes to launch it into orbit, and that's a whole lot of extra weight to carry.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but the Apollo crafts were, in fact, extremely fast; they reached the Moon and inserted themselves into orbit in mere days; after which the lunar module would detach itself from the mothership and begin a hovering descent to the surface (in the final stage, the descent was vertical). They slowed down sufficiently to make their landings smooth (i.e. from orbital speed to near-zero) and had enough fuel left to get back into orbit afterwards. And this was nearly half-a-century ago.
And yet each time someone returns from orbit these days, they run the risk of getting bounced back into space and getting lost there forever, or burning up before they reach the surface, due to their great speed. And then they use parachutes to perform an uncontrolled splashdown or touchdown wherever, and have to be "rescued" every time. Why?