Time: 141 Minutes
Age Rating: M – Violence
Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Ludacris as Tej Parker
John Cena as Jakob Toretto
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Sung Kang as Han Lue
Scott Eastwood as Little Nobody
Daniela Melchior as Isabel Neves
Alan Ritchson as Aimes
Helen Mirren as Magdalene “Queenie” Ellmanson-Shaw
Brie Larson as Tess
Rita Moreno as Abuelita Toretto
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Jason Momoa as Dante Reyes
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: Louis Leterrier
Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto and his family have outsmarted and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they must confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced. Fueled by revenge, a terrifying threat emerges from the shadows of the past to shatter Dom’s world and destroy everything — and everyone — he loves.
I am a fan of the Fast and Furious movies, even with their obvious absurdity and issues, I have fun with them. So I was interested in the upcoming movie, but I was particularly interested in the fact that it the series is apparently coming to its close, with Fast X essentially being a 3 film (previously 2 film) story. I had a lot of fun with this one.
Plotwise, it is certainly in line with the past movies, so if you’re familiar enough with them, you can figure out quickly whether you’ll be into Fast X or not. The last movie F9 got a little too convoluted, but Fast X is refreshingly straightforward. While it is apparently building up some vague ‘war’, at its core, it’s about the main villain going after Dominic Toretto and his family for revenge. Like F9, Fast X has the Fast family splitting off into separate groups with their own subplots, and once again it did feel a little awkward and overstuffed at times. Thankfully, it retains the tone and approach that makes these movies so endearing. I maintain that the sincerity is the key ingredient that makes these movies uniquely entertaining, and at least different to any other modern blockbuster involving cars. The Fast and Furious franchise is basically a big soap opera, whether it be characters dying then later revealed to be alive, or villains becoming friends (or at allies). This adds a unique flavour to these movies which make theme particularly enjoyable, although they can get a little too carried away with this sometimes. Fast & Furious (2009) got a little too self serious with its revenge plot, and the flashbacks of F9 fell into that too. Fast X is more balanced however, it is willing to defy the laws of physics for entertainment, but isn’t snarky or self conscious about it, and is genuine with its story and characters.
It is a fairly long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes in length, but is well paced enough that I was generally entertained throughout. The exceptions are a couple of scenes which halt the plot purely with comedy, the standout being a scene involving a celebrity cameo which I really could’ve done without. As I said earlier, Fast X is really part 1 of a 3 part story, and its worth knowing that before going into it. It’s actually surprising that it wasn’t added in the film’s title or addressed as such in the opening or closing credits. That’s really the only explanation I have for why much of the story feels incomplete, with plenty of unanswered questions, and characters which didn’t receive as much attention as others. So I can imagine some unaware viewers will be frustrated by its cliffhanger ending. I am willing to wait and see how the next two movies continue this story, but much of Fast X’s quality will depend on whether they can deliver. For what it is worth, if you have some investment in the franchise, you should probably stick around for the mid credits scene.
Much of the main Fast and Furious cast return, with Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang and more reprising their roles. They do well enough in their screentime, though some get to do more than others. For example, Jason Statham but doesn’t have much to do here, no doubt because his scenes are just setting up things for the next films. On the other hand, John Cena was one of the highlights in a far less villainous role compared to his last appearance. Charlize Theron also returns in a different sort of role here, and while she isn’t the driving force of the movie or anything, this is probably her best appearance in the franchise yet, even getting to do some action. There are also some newer actors to the series, including Daniela Melchior, Alan Ritchson, and Brie Larson, and they’re good in their screentime. However, the standout of the whole movie is Jason Momoa, who is by far the best villain of the franchise, but also the most fun I’ve seen an actor have in these movies. It helps that the movie does well at framing his character Dante as this unstoppable force, but Momoa also delivers a highly campy and charismatic performance (which at times feels like he’s riffing on the Joker). The movie lights up whenever he comes on screen; he knows what kind of movie he’s in, and Fast X would’ve been a much worse movie without him.
Justin Lin was originally directing the movie, but left part way during filming due to ‘creative differences’. He was replaced by Louis Leterrier, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be since his filmography is a bit of a mixed bag. That said, Fast X is one of his stronger movies. The action is entertaining, over the top and contains some absurd stunts. I even like the creativity in the way things are filmed, especially with the use of drones. Otherwise, the direction is on a level that you’d expect from a movie of this franchise. As far as technical issues go, the opening scene started things on an awkward note. It calls back to Fast Five and places Jason Momoa’s character in the climax of that movie, and the messy editing did make it a bit weird. I also noticed some other weirdly edited moments in the first third, but I think it improves as it goes along.
As expected, Fast X is another absurd, wonderfully melodramatic and entertaining entry in the Fast and Furious franchise with over the top action, and is boosted by a delightfully villainous Jason Momoa. It’s better than the last few movies but doesn’t quite reach the heights of 5-7. Needless to say, if you’ve never enjoyed any of these movies, this won’t change your mind. If you get any kind of enjoyment from them however, I think you’ll have some fun with this one.