‘Fast X’ Drives The Ridiculous … and The Fun

by KB Burke on May 19, 2023

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rating: Swiss Fist]

In theaters now.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has too much “family.” Since his cinematic saga began 22 years ago, he has expanded his crew, adopting everyone from the ex-LAPD police officer, Brian O’Connor (the late Paul Walker) all the way up to his formerly estranged brother, Jakob (John Cena). Almost everyone he encounters in the movies ends up on Dom’s team. The state of that family is threatened by a new villain (Jason Momoa) in the new movie, Fast X, when revenge is the motive and suffering is the game.

This franchise has definitely grown extremely long in the tooth with its high action but silly stunts and situations several movies ago. The unfortunate death of Paul Walker and the touching goodbye in Furious 7 gave a window of opportunity for moviegoers to see those chrome wheels spin into the sunset for the last time. But there’s money to be made, so the movies continued. In this tenth installment, the sins of the past try to catch up with Dom and the family, as the son (Momoa) of Hernán Reyes (see Fast Five for reference) seeks revenge not only for the death of his father but also for the vault of money the Toretto gang stole. This leads to a multi-location stitching of action sequences in between scenes with subpar dialogue.

There was laughter in my audience for moments that were meant to be taken seriously. But what do you come to a Fast and Furious movie for anyway? You come for the exotic locations, the unbelievable action scenes, and the cars. And they’re all here in this installment. There’s even a street-racing scene to try and recapture the essence of the first films, deluxe with NOS car boost and all. These attempts at bringing it back to the initial vibe of the original film are noteworthy and best of all, no cars in space, F9

After nine installments, the cast for this one is stacked with faces you’ve seen previously: Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Sung Kang all return. You also have new “family” members with the inclusion of Brie Larson and Rita Moreno. And this is hardly half the cast of star power. Unfortunately, none of them give a performance that’s memorable. That’s reserved for bad guy, Jason Momoa. He is downright fun in this one. It can be credited to the writing of his character as an eccentric psychopath with a bloodlust for suffering and revenge. But I think it’s what Momoa brings to the character. Sometimes you can tell when an actor is having a blast in a role and it’s apparent here. He takes total pride in all the evil things he does. And he does it with a Joker-like flair. If anything saves this movie from being another forgetful sequel, it’s him. 

Co-writer Justin Lin and director Louis Leterrier (the Transporter films) set this movie up to be the beginning of the end, all the way down to the mid-credits scene. By this point, you know what ridiculousness to expect from these movies. And if you’re in for the ride, and Momoa’s character sticks around, this franchise might end on a surprising upswing from where it’s been for the last decade. 

KB is a native New Yorker/Midwest transplant who’s into tech, sports, and the arts, especially film and music. He still aspires to be a DJ in his other life. You can frequently catch him watching Hitchcock classics, film noir, and anything Star Wars.


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