Movie Review: ‘Fast X’

Director: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Brie Larson, Alan Ritchson, Daniela Melchior, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Leo Abelo Perry

Plot: Dom Toretto is being hunted by Dante Reyes, seeking revenge for the death of his father and the theft of his fortune in Rio de Janeiro. Dante stays ahead of Dom every step of the way, turning the Agency and an army of mercenaries against him and his family.

Review: Remember that amazing sequence where Dom (Diesel) and Bryan (Paul) stole a safe and dragged it through a city causing carnage and mayhem. Jason Momoa was there. Yeah, he was just slightly off-screen of obscured behind a car or something, but he was there. That was his father who they killed whilst he was flung off the bridge. And now he’s back.

We’re back into the heightened and completely bananas world of Fast and Furious, where everyone is a master of martial arts, stunt driving, hacking and marksmanship, where street racer and super spy are one and the same, and where there’s room for everyone in the family. Our champion, Dom Toretto, is back with his magical car that grants him mastery over physics (that’s what I’m going with, because some of these stunts feel more and more like the Domino scene in Deadpool 2) to battle against the odds to protect his family. The family has certainly expanded in this adventure, now featuring an Abuelita Toretto because Vin liked Encanto and ‘Little B’, Dom’s son who even manages to get involved in the action. More importantly, we have returning family members Letty (Rodriguez), Deckard (Statham), Roman (Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Mia (Brewster), Ramsey (Emmanuel), Han (Kang) with brother Jakob (Cena) doing the inevitable turn to the good team that every villain does .

The action kicks off with the arrival of a badly wounded Cipher (Theron) at Dom and Letty’s doorstop with a dire warning: the absolutely fabulous Dante (Momoa) is coming for him. Dante is, like all the characters in this franchise, an expert driver, fighter and computer hacker and he puts these skills to use tearing Dom’s live apart. Unlike the standard villain, which is a heavily muscled guy to flex and snarl at Dom, Momoa plays Dante as gender-queer. He’s actually an original looking character in a series where it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell everyone apart from each other, and this sashaying, raspberry-blowing sadist got the strongest, most positive response from the audience. And really…what is more threatening to the Fast and Furious target audience than someone challenging their concept of masculinity? Who is this maniac who paints his nail AND can drive a fast car?! Madness!

Jason Momoa is Dante in FAST X, directed by Louis Leterrier

While Letty and Dom deal with Cipher, the rest of the gang are doing a job in Rome. Coordinated attacks split everyone up, leaving Dom alone. A new Agency boss named Aimes (Ritcher) wants the family arrested, blaming them for the chaos of Dante’s attacks, whilst Agency boss Mr. Nobody’s newly introduced daughter Tess (Larson) goes rogue agent to help them. All this lead to Jakob turning up to take Little B under his wing and get used well as an actor instead of having him mope about like in the last one. There’s a lot of moving parts and people and it got to the point where another new street racer character played by Daniella Melchior turned up and I asked the person next to me if we were supposed to know her. They didn’t know, but he recognised the other street racer character in the scene from a previous film,

It’s a very busy movie, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The 2.5 hour run time feels pretty breezing as we’re bouncing from location to location, character to character and action set piece to action set piece. These movies have identified their strengths and are trimming away everything else. What doesn’t work is the perpetual issue of all the heroes coming out unscathed. Death has little meaning in this universe with two confirmed dead characters turning up again down the line, and they could have shaken things up by killing off some major players. It’s an easy way to up the stakes with no long term impact as this franchise is ending anyway. Instead the only characters who get directly threatened are new to this film. It’s a really odd choice to introduce new faces and expect an emotional response when you’ve got a dozen established figures.

This is a pretty satisfying experience if you’ve enjoyed the recent couple of entries of the series. Big action, sassy one-liners, cameos and surprise appearances. On occasion the true purpose of these movies – massaging Vin Diesels ego – threatens to overwhelm the story while various characters wax lyrical about how great Dom is. John Cena gets two almost identical speeches about how impressive Dom is before we get to Dom lifting a car with one hand. If you’re expecting anything else from the 11th entry into this series then that’s your own problem. It’s fun, just don’t think about it to much.

Rating: SEVEN out of TEN