It’s 2023, and look at where we are now. We’re coming up on the 10th movie in the Fast and Furious franchise, and the well-beloved series is barely slowing down. So long gone are the days when boosting TV/DVD combos was a plot point of The Fast and the Furious (2001). Now, we are getting stories featuring cars underwater, in space, defining the laws of physics, and when none of the heroes stay dead. Fast X is here, and that trend is still as good as ever.
Fast X sees the return of many of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family with the addition of Abuela Toretto (Rita Moreno). Joining the team this time around are Tess (Brie Larson), Aimes (Alan Ritchson), and new antagonist Dante (Jason Momoa). Dante is hard at being this series’ version of the Joker, hoping to destroy Dom’s life and those around him.
I’m not going to bulls**t you that the movie is a character-based drama this time with many Oscar-winning performances – even though the film features four winners. The franchise has been built on the idea that gravity rarely does what it’s supposed to, and even logic takes a backseat. So instead, we get high-octane, insanity-fueled action set pieces from Fast X that work parallel with that well-known Fast and Furious notion, family.
The first ten to fifteen minutes pass before the first car-chasing action scene sets in motion. It has been reported that previous director Justin Lin had left the project due to creative differences with Diesel. Louis Leterrier took the role behind the camera, but Fast X doesn’t suffer from it. Leterrier has had a long career making action films and is suited for the role. His talent for setting up engaging action set pieces is sprinkled around the movie in Fast and Furious fashion but pumped to an eleven.
Plenty of action movies come off as dull over time – I’m looking at you, Michael Bay – but each action scene gets better and better. The camera movement is effortlessly fluid at times during the movie, and the CGI works for the most part. There are several scenes where the action went a little too crazy, and the art direction had me feeling dizzy at certain moments. It primarily happens at the first 2-3 action set pieces but doesn’t make the movie quality suffer too greatly.
The first wild scene happens before the first act end; that would’ve been an excellent 3rd Act closer, but Leterrier takes the opportunity to tell the audience to buckle up and hold on for dear life.
The cast is filled to the brim with well-traversed actors, but the one that stands above the rest is Momoa. I know it’s something hard to believe but hear me out. Out of everyone in the movie, Momoa is having the most fun. Dom and his family have encountered many villains in this franchise, yet Momoa plays the character as a real threat.
The actor usually approaches his roles in a brodog-ish way, but Momoa pulls back on that. Sometimes his character is silly or outlandish; however, it’s never annoying and fun to watch. Instead, the guy chews up every scene he’s in, making Fast X more entertaining. But, conversely, Momoa knows when to become the big baddie this trilogy is setting up.
The previous Fast and Furious movies always gave Dom the upper hand and the idea that the man and his family could never lose. Fortunately, the script shows that Dom might not come out on top and leaves the movie on a fantastic cliffhanger that had me begging for the next part. Additionally, undertones in the film finally explore the belief that Dom’s actions have actual consequences.
There are moments in the Fast X where the script work comes into play and does a comparable job. It’s weird to say that the movie has some profound moments, but it does. For example, the film touches on being a hero and saving the day, but what happens when the collateral damage comes back with a vengeance? Dom and Dante battle with one another and subtly asks those questions during their interactions.
Fast X is part one of the ending (?) trilogy of the Fast and Furious franchise, and the movie is off to an explosive start. Some might see this movie as trash cinema, but that’s what Fast X calls for. The formula of family, cars, and every other scene featuring action has worked for over a decade. There are moments of humor in between, intentionally or not, throughout the movie, and the two hours and twenty-one minutes runtime is a breeze.
It’s either the best movie of the franchise or the worst, but that depends on you. In my opinion, it’s the best.