It’s time for family, it’s time for revenge, and it’s time to drive fast. The world’s most extreme DVD player thieves are back for another round in Fast X. The tenth mainline (11th overall) instalment in The Fast and Furious franchise.
It’s been a quiet few years and life is good for Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). He has a wife in Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), a healthy son, Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) and a large ‘family’ including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Han (Sung Kang) to name a few. But it’s during these quiet moments that things tend to pop off for Dom’s crew.
10 years ago, Dom led a charge against a corrupt politician and drug lord in Rio de Janeiro named Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). In the end Reyes was dead, his empire in ruins, and Dom’s family were $100,000,000 richer. It’s been a long decade but his son Dante (Jason Momoa), himself maimed in Dom’s attack, has been biding his time. The chips are now set and it is time for Dante to take his revenge on EVERYONE that Dom holds dear. Just like his daddy taught him, the best vengeance isn’t over quickly, it’s slow and painful.
I with no hint of shame whatsoever that absolutely love the Fast & Furious series. Few film franchises can keep me entertained after 2 instalments, let alone after 10. As the ensemble cast has grown larger, the storylines have grown less believable. But it is the various filmmakers’ ability to consistently surprise me with their creative action set pieces which suck me in.
Fast X is no different with amazing stunts and crazy scenarios from start to finish. This film’s predecessor flew a little bit too close to the sun, literally so with 2 characters going into space! So, lessons have been learned and things are much more grounded this time.
The action is still impossibly over the top but director Louis Leterrier having cut his teeth on the first two Transporter films knows how to keep us engaged with a mix of practical effects and CGI that had me on the edge of my seat where other CGI heavy films had me just plain bored.
The Fast & Furious films have always had great cheesy villains, many of whom being so beloved by fans, that they return in later films as Dom’s allies. Momoa is sure to rank among the favourites with his kooky portrayal of Dante Reyes. An absolutely unhinged and unbridled mad man who has as much fun being a baddie as we have watching him.
Momoa is so stunning in the film, in fact it works as a detriment to some of the franchise’s new cast additions. Brie Larson’s somewhat redundant government agent character ‘Little Miss Nobody’ almost disappears in his shadow, although this may be more to do with the script than the Oscar winner’s lack of screen presence.
Unfortunately, the writing here often runs somewhere between lukewarm and terrible with larger-than-life characters having conversations which sound almost like a parody of action movie dialogue. Scenes later in the film get better in this regard but until then, some actors like Gibson and Ludacris are able to carry scenes through more capably than others.
It is a pity that the dialogue is so weak at times when the storyline itself is fairly solid. Fast X works largely as a direct follow up to Fast Five and its revenge plot works much better with its call-backs than other prior instalments have. Impressive also is the utilisation of all its key players, so nobody feels left out or pushed aside.
Since Fast X is confirmed to be a 3-part finale, there’s still a long road ahead. But with this stellar first part, I’m happy to remain a defender of this ‘turn your brain off’ franchise. With the shortcomings people have come to expect, Fast X won’t likely convince any newcomers to jump aboard. However, long-time fans can feel relieved there’s still plenty of fuel left in the tank.