‘Fast X’ is obnoxiously dumb “fun”

by Tim English on May 19, 2023

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Swiss Fist]

Only in theaters.

I love the Fast and Furious movies. Total guilty pleasures. They are ridiculous. They are dumb. They are mindless. But they are fun, which makes them great. Well, not this new one. But as a franchise, I love the way this series just woke up one day and said, “I’m going to be ridiculous and crazy and I don’t care what anyone thinks”. That being said, “great” is a pretty strong and probably misleading word to use to describe Fast X, the astonishing tenth movie in the franchise that has spanned 20-plus years, all starting back in 2001 with the premise of, “what if we made Point Break except with street racers instead of surfers”?

Fast X goes back to the events of Fast Five (2011), which have finally caught up to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his furious family. Jason Momoa (Aquaman from the DC movie universe) plays Dante, the son of Reyes, the villain of Fast Five. He’s out for revenge because Dom’s crew killed his daddy — remember when they were dragging that safe around? That was awesome — So Dante is mad about that and he plans on taking it out on the family by blowing a bunch of stuff up and blaming it on Dom’s crew. The rest of the movie is cat and mouse, everyone is split up, on the run, being chased. In addition to Dante, they’re being hunted by this dude Aimes (Alan Ritchson, Aquaman from the WB Smallville TV universe). He’s in charge of whatever secret government organization Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) worked for. So they are once again “criminals on the run” but they’re also still heroes and superheroes and invincible, flying daredevils. There’s a lot going on. Also Brie Larson is just kinda thrown in there somewhere as Mr. Nobody’s daughter.

It’s kinda like Avengers: Infinity War in that it’s only the beginning (again) of the end. I’m not sure how many times these movies have been called “the first of a trilogy to end the franchise” by Vin — I feel like the first time was around the time of Furious 7, but I digress — but here we are in 2023 and Fast X is allegedly the first in a “studio requested” trilogy to end the franchise.

Everyone is back. Seriously. Almost everyone who has ever graced the screen is back for the tenth installment. Nobody dies, even the macguffins are surviving from movie to movie now. Of course, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is back. She gets some action stuff but little else to do. So then we got Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) back for comic relief. Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) is back because her character hasn’t died yet. Han (Sung Kang) is also back despite the fact he did die (in the third movie, FF: Tokyo Drift), which actually took place chronologically after the sixth movie, Fast and Furious 6, only to return unharmed in the last movie, F9: the Fast Saga. Oh, and Helen Mirren is back as Shaw’s mom because even the bad guy’s parents are in these movies. Then there is Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), who was Mr. Nobody’s sidekick in…one of them. (Note: Yes, these are actual character names.) Last but not least is the return slash debut of Dom’s kid, Little Brian — remember he had a kid with that Elena a couple of movies ago? — he’s played by Leo Abelo Perry. He’s 8 now and old enough to drive a car and kill bad guys apparently.

Returning villains who have since joined the crew include Shaw (Jason Statham, Furious 7) and Jakob Toretto (John Cena, F9). Also Cypher (Charlize Theron, Fate of the Furious, F9) comes back because she got away at the end of the last one. Even Mia (Jordana Brewster) is dragged back into the action and given literally nothing to do except be present and accounted for. The problem with her character continually returning is every time they bring her back it seems dumb that Brian (Paul Walker, RiP) isn’t with her.

Momoa shows up here and let me tell you, he is steals every scene he’s in. The dude came to play and he’s having fun being a bad guy. It’s clear he Googled over-the-top villains, did his research, and just threw a little bit of all of it into his performance. There’s a lot of Heath Ledger’s Joker, a bit of Gary Oldman’s Stansfield from Leon the Professional. He’s going to go into Fast X part 2 as the top ranked FF villain in the latest polls.

The action is once again…just crazy. Something is always going fast or blowing up or jumping off something to land on something. It’s madness and chaos and it hardly ever makes sense. Unfortunately a lot of it is CGI but it’s also fun to watch. It would be nice if this franchise made a point of using more practical effects because it’s always noticeable and it makes a difference. Besides, I’d love to see Vin actually drive a Charger down the slope of a dam and jump it. I bet Tom Cruise would do it.

Directed by Louis Leterrier (Transporter, Now You See Me) after Justin Lin bounced out over creative differences with Vin or the studio, this flick hits the gas and never taps the brakes. That being said, Fast X has it’s share of glaring problem. First off, at 2 hours and 20 minutes give or take, it’s about 30 minutes too long. Second, the cast is huge. Too huge. We all love the cast. They’re all great. — I forgot to mention Rita Moreno is in this too — But they don’t kill anyone off ever, right? So, there are never any real stakes. But at this point there are just too many characters and not enough for any of them to do. The second act gets pretty clunky trying to juggle all of these characters. And really, there isn’t enough plot to support any of them really. And then it all, just kinda ends, like in the middle of a scene, it just….is over. What is it called when a movie ends on a cliffhanger without actually bringing any of the storylines to a close? Unfinished? That might be the right word. So all this crazy shit happens and then it just ends like, “there’s gonna be another one, but we’re done here”. Um. Okay?

Fast X is one of the most ridiculous movies ever made. It’s packed with unbelievable plots, action and characters saying dialogue no one would ever say. But it’s fast, fun, and holy hell is it ridiculous. Do we need another serving? No. Will we take some? Sure, but let’s make sure we’re wrapping this up. Oh, and stick around for the mid-credits scene to see who is going to come in to save the day.

I went with the “Swiss Fist” on this one because while this is a terrible movie, it’s also the sum of everything that has led up to it and also I thought just having a fist up there by the poster made the most sense.


Lover of movies and tacos. Ad man. Author. Member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Founder of the Terror on the Plains Horror Festival. Creator and voice of the Reel Hooligans podcast.

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