“If it violates the laws of God and gravity, they did it twice.”–Aimes
The time has finally arrived, folks–the tenth film in the Fast & Furious franchise is upon us (insert Paul Rudd, ‘Who would have thought? Not me.’ GIF here). With 10 films spanning two decades that include many cars, racing, explosions, absurdity, and of course, family, Fast X aims to be one of the fan-favourites in the franchise.
Much like its predecessors, Fast X begins with a flashback in Rio de Janeiro, followed by some stunt driving as Dom (Vin Diesel) teaches his son, Brian, a.k.a. Little B (Leo Abelo Perry), how to drive in an empty lot. After a heartfelt father-son moment, the pair had back home, where they are greeted by Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Han (Sung Kang), Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) for a family barbecue. Here, audiences are introduced to Dom and Mia’s abuela (Rita Moreno), who gives an impassioned speech about–you guessed it–family.
Of course, as most of the films in this franchise go, the bliss is short-lived as a highly unexpected guest shows up at Dom’s doorstep in the middle of the night. Cipher (Charlize Theron) is the last person Dom and Letty are prepared to see, but broken and battered, she comes with a warning. A new heavy hitter, Dante (Jason Momoa), is coming for Dom and his family. Dom and Letty must work with Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) to stop Dante’s dastardly plans. As usual, mayhem ensues, leading Dom and the team to trek across the globe to Rome, London, Portugal, and the familiar stomping grounds of Rio de Janeiro to stop Dante – whatever it takes.
Directed by Louis Leterrier, Fast X is a step up from Fast 9. However, that’s not saying much. By no means is Leterrier a stranger to action-heavy flicks, his past directorial credits including films such as Transporter 2, The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans. Admittedly, these films are not “great,” but the expectations for what is to be expected from a Fast movie are clear. Leterrier fails to deliver. While there is plenty of action in Fast X, most are repetitive because we’ve seen similar sequences in past films. Of course, it’s one thing to pay homage to past scenes; it’s another to recycle them entirely or not bring anything new to the table. Sure, the last movie had that outlandish space moment, but at least it was an attempt at something new for the franchise. Ultimately, Leterrier’s efforts do not compare to those of Justin Lin and James Wan, who we can largely credit for the series’ considerably more creative, memorable, and absurd action.
At times, Fast X lacks the pizzazz of the previous movies, and I cannot say that solely rests on Leterrier’s shoulders. Some of it stems from a listless script that leans too much into nostalgia and callbacks from the past rather than giving characters better arcs and development or more things to do. The one-liners were corny and unmemorable, causing laughs to erupt during the screening at times when the moment wasn’t meant to be funny. Besides, what’s the point of a quippy one-liner if you can’t even recall it to use in casual conversation? There is also a lot of jumping around from place to place without much structure, attempting to fit in the differing tasks and locales of all the characters in the film.
That said, 10 movies in, and you should know what to expect from the mildly entertaining but sometimes lazy script and cast of characters. As per usual, the banter between Bridges and Gibson as Tej and Roman, respectively, gave viewers some of the film’s best comedic performances and moments. The more of these films we get, the less invested I am in Diesel’s Dom and his story. It is always the same performance, with Dom’s character dealing with similar inconveniences and danger. Nothing has changed, and the lack of variety in the script is something that often took me out of the film.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I’ve been waiting for that passing of the torch moment, and it still has yet to happen. It’s more disappointing when newer characters like Emmanuel’s Ramsey have been some of the more intriguing characters in the series as of late. However, Ramsey is only marginally given more to do in Fast X than in her previous appearances. In addition, Brie Larson as Tess and Alan Ritchson as Aimes are a fun pair who often bicker, with Larson’s Tess typically having a sassy comeback and the last laugh. They worked well together, and I look forward to (hopefully) seeing more of them in the following films.
The film’s saving grace comes in the form of its villains. Theron’s Cipher has been a thorn in the Fast family’s side for the past few movies, and it’s no different in Fast X. While she doesn’t play as big a part this time, any scene she’s in is elevated exponentially. Cipher isn’t in the film as much for an excellent reason: to make way for a new villain in Momoa’s Dante. Dante is reckless, bold, and endlessly hilarious. He’s one of those villains you love to hate, and Momoa gives an excellent performance in Fast X. Despite being the villain, you find yourself quietly rooting for Dante as Momoa’s charisma and the fact that he seems to be having the most fun out of anyone on-screen makes the character all the more engaging. Momoa is the MVP of Fast X.
All-in-all, Fast X is a fun enough romp if you look past the continuously clunky script and the cringe-worthy dialogue that has become a trademark for Diesel’s Dom. The fight scenes are great (look out for the one with Jason Statham’s Shaw), while the action sequences are repetitive but cool. The icing on this messy cake is the villains. If you’re a genuine fan of the franchise, you’ll be more than happy with this film; if you’re not, it’s still a fun and mindless time to enjoy watching something new in theatres.