‘Fast X” is the tenth film in the Fast and Furious franchise directed by Louis Leterrier (director of “Now You See Me” and “The Incredible Hulk”) and written by Justin Lin (director of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th entries of this franchise) and Dan Mazeau (writer of “Wrath of the Titans”). Vin Diesel returns as Dom Toretto along with the rest of his fast-racing family as a terrifying threat emerges from the shadows of the past who’s fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything – and everyone – that Dom loves, forever.
The Fast and the Furious franchise is a rollercoaster to say the least. This action series has had some very low lows in the past, but also have had a lot of genuine gems along the journey. “Fast Five” and “Furious 7” are my two favorites and are generally considered the two best in the franchise by most fans. This is a good thing for this tenth film (not including spinoffs) since it piggybacks a lot off of the former fifth installment.
“Fast X” opens with the famous bank vault chase through the streets of Rio with Jason Momoa’s Dante Reyes, the son of the main villain in the fifth film and the villain for this film, digitally inserted into certain moments throughout the iconic scene to give him his villain origin story. This is a great opening that perfectly sets the audience in the mood for what is a messy, but fun next two hours. It’s also a very well put together recap to remind audiences that might’ve forgotten where this film’s roots lie as the editors seamlessly weave Mamoa throughout the scene.
Like I said, this is a messy installment for the Fast & Furious franchise, but where it does succeed is in how fun it is. If you’re wanting to a mindless action film full of high speed car races, explosions and stunts that completely defy the law of logic and physics, then this is exactly what you’re going to get. I wouldn’t say any single scene is exactly top-tier Fast & Furious action set pieces (although a chase involving a bomb through the streets of Rome is by far the best of this film), but all of them are fun and exciting which is all you really have to ask for from a film like this.
What is by far and easily the best part of this tenth film and the entire series as a whole is Jason Mamoa’s Dante. This is Mamoa’s single best performance to date and one of if not the best performances in the entire franchise, especially for a villain. Mamoa is so much fun as a psychotic, flamboyant villain who is genuinely evil and threatening. He become basically the Joker to Dom’s Batman and steals every single scene he’s in. He’s so much fun, funny and makes you wonder why the Aquaman actor hasn’t played a villain before in the past because he’s so perfect at it. I could watch him play this character all day.
The film also introduces a few more fresh additions to the ever increasing ensemble with Academy Award winners Brie Larson (“Captain Marvel”) and Rita Moreno (“West Side Story”). Moreno plays Dom’s grandmother and is really only in one scene or two, but she brings such a warmth to the opening of the film that sets up the emotional stakes that the rest of the film needs to make it work. Larson plays a new character and bring a new type of energy to the franchise that feels very refreshing. You can tell that she is having a lot of fun here even if her performance doesn’t work in every scene. There’s also Leo A. Perry as Dom’s son Brian, or “Little B”, who is very good in the role for a child actor and adds a lot of emotional stakes to the film as he gets a lot more to do.
For a franchise that has built its entire brand around family, our favorite family is barely together the entire movie except for in the beginning, instead we have four different subplots going on all at once. One group includes Dominic, another is Letty, a duo with Jakob and Little B and then there’s a group of Han, Roman, Tej and Ramsey. This franchise is at its best when the family is together so it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to why they would keep them separate the whole film especially when the plot involves a lot of emotional stakes.
“Fast X” is the first of what is reportedly three final parts to the franchise and because of this, the film tries to set up a lot of different cliffhangers in order to bring audiences back for part 2, currently expected to come out in the summer of 2025. This need for a cliffhanger creates an extremely messy last ten or so minutes for the film that really brings my feelings on the entire thing lower. Without spoiling specifics, there’s a reveal that feels very rushed through and another thing that happens that feels very soap opera-like and once again sets a precedent that could potentially remove any type of stakes or emotional impact from thing that could happen to characters in the future. It’s very disappointing how sloppily a lot of stuff in the final act is handled.
Overall, “Fast X” ends up as a pretty middle-of-the-road, slightly disappointing and messy, but fun installment to the iconic action franchise. It’s a kind of blockbuster that is worth seeing even if it’s not going to be the best one of the year. “Fast X” (part one) is currently in theaters.
Jordan Wooodson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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