'Fast X' Is a Revved Up and Ridiculous Joyride

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Photo: Peter Mountain / Universal Pictures

BY Rachel HoPublished May 30, 2023

In anticipation of Fast X, I decided to revisit The Fast and the Furious — the first film in this franchise and a movie I was particularly enamoured with when it premiered in 2001. It's incredible, and almost impressive, how nine films have been milked out of Point Break-with-cars, even more so when considering the franchise went from lifting DVD players to launching a car into space. Nearly 20 years later, and with the end (theoretically) in sight, Fast X is the first chapter of the end — and it's a completely ridiculous, self-aware, bloated act of fan service that's pretty damn entertaining. 

I point to Fast Five as the turning point for the franchise when the family's reality officially unglued itself from ours. Seeing two muscle cars attached to a bank vault being flung around the streets of Rio de Janeiro was enough to realize that this franchise was a far cry from its street racing roots. Perhaps then, it's only fitting that Fast X returns to one of the franchise's best instalments — albeit with some retconning involved.

Quite literally, Fast X begins with scenes from Fast Five showing la familia taking out Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. Unbeknownst to Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker) at the time, Reyes's son Dante (Jason Momoa) was on the bridge that fateful day and has been plotting his revenge for the past 12 years. The main target of Dante's ire? Dom's family, of course.
As Dante sets his inferno in motion, the family is scattered around the world by his design. Han (Sung Kang), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) are sent on a mission to Rome; Mia (Jordana Brewster) and Jakob (John Cena) are tasked with protecting Dom's son; Dom himself is in Brazil; and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Cipher (Charlize Theron) find themselves imprisoned by "The Agency." Somewhere along the way, Deckard (Jason Statham) and Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren), Tess (Brie Larson), Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) and newcomer Aimes (Alan Ritchson) find a way into the film as well.

Safe to say, it's a lot. There are about four movies happening at once and none of them are particularly interesting. Add in some truly atrocious dialogue and awkward performances, and Fast X becomes a movie that chips away at the brain cells. But the thing is, no one is buying a ticket to a Fast and Furious movie to find enlightenment. For two hours, Dom and family ask audiences to turn off their brains and enjoy the spectacle and nonsense before them — and in that sense, Fast X succeeds as mindless entertainment, and a big part of that is Momoa's doing. 

Just as Cena did in F9, Momoa absolutely understands what kind of movie he's in and relishes every minute of it. Dante is written as an unhinged and chaotic Joker-type character, but with a familial motivation for vengeance. Momoa's natural charisma and comedic timing lend a playfulness to Dante that, juxtaposed to the bedlam he causes, creates a thoroughly enjoyable baddie to witness. 

Fast X takes us to the ends of the Earth (with some fittingly obnoxious title cards to assist as the film's compass), turning everything up to 11. The stunts are over the top and defy any sort of logic, but thanks to the franchise's refusal to solely rest on CGI, the set pieces don't look like the shoddy work of an overworked, underpaid VFX designer. 

Undoubtedly, Fast X will elicit some groans at the movie's obvious desire to shoehorn in references from the past 20 years. It'll also be the source of much unintended laughter when Justin Lin and Dan Mazeau's script becomes sentient, evoking family every chance it gets. But in the end, Fast X is exactly what fans ordered: a revved up send-off to one of modern cinema's most enduring franchises.
(Universal Pictures)

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