- Great fun and action
- Terrific addition of a villain
- Breathes life into exhaustive franchise
- Still has incomprehensible stunts
- Too long of a runtime
A steely-eyed Vin Diesel coupled with a game, villainous Jason Momoa are perfect elements to create a fresh, action-filled entry in the Fast saga.
Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced: A terrifying threat emerging from the shadows of the past who’s fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything—and everyone—that Dom loves, forever.
How far can you push a franchise about fast cars, fast thrills and fast street racers who can pull off gravity-defying stunts? Apparently, you can push it to ten films. But before you start the believe that 10 is 9 too many, there is yet hope to breathe new life into this over-the-top, outrageously fun franchise. In “Fast X”, the past comes back to haunt Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and company when Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the son of Hernan Reyes (the villain from 2011’s Fast Five), takes vengeance on the fast crew, spreading the team apart from Los Angeles to Rome to Antarctica, all in a wild goose chase to bury the past for once and for all.
One that expects to see all the usual “Fast” stereotypes in this tenth entry may be a bit surprised. Vin Diesel doesn’t say the word “family” every 30 minutes (he still says it but not every 30 minutes), Tyrese and Chris Bridges’ lowbrow Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-like Roman and Tej aren’t as annoying this time around and we have a few new additions including Momoa’s Dante and Brie Larson’s Tess, a level-headed representative of The Agency. Vin Diesel brings the iconic steely presence as the tough, family-oriented (ok, last time I’ll write “family”) Dom Toretto. His tough-as-nails presence is matched by the surprisingly, delightfully villainous Dante. A play on “Dante’s Inferno,” with Dante repeatedly referring to himself as the “devil” in Dom’s life, Dante is a villain to be reckoned with. Yes, these are still the “Fast” films where the street racers have godlike abilities to shake the earth with a stomp and literally straddle missiles to turn them in other directions but within this over-the-top crazy universe, a psychopathic villain like Dante is right at home. And Jason Momoa’s fun, hilarious performance is a terrific addition to the Fast saga and is easily one the biggest reasons for new life being breathed into this exhausted franchise.
In addition to Dom finding a worthy foe, on the other side of the Earth we got Roman, Tej, Han (Sung Kang) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) trying to find their way back home. There’s not much new for Kang and Emmanuel to work with here except playing the straight couple to Roman and Tej’s bickering. Last time we saw Tyrese and Luda, there were sailing in space during one of the many bad subplots of “F9”. Now, their friendship has hit a fiercer roadblock than before and they are on the verge of becoming enemies rather than frenemies. Now, being that this isn’t a main concern in regards to the actual stakes at hand, this sets up for some actual funny moments between the two actors that give Roman and Tej more weight in the franchise rather than keep them as the annoying background chorus. The return of Michelle Rodriguez as Letty coupled with the return of Charlize Theron as Cipher leads to some great badass fight scenes and unlikely moments of alliance. John Cena makes a fun, welcome return as Dom’s estranged brother Jakob as he helps to keep the…ok, ill write it again, family together by protecting his nephew Brian (Leo Abelo Perry). A great addition to note is Brie Larson as Tess, bringing a sweet, relatable vibe to the otherwise macho-verse that is the Fast saga and Scott Eastwood as Little Nobody, taking the reins from Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody and being the hard-assed stickler that does not approve of Dom Toretto and his gang.
The Fast saga has had its share of talented directors behind the wheel – Rob Cohen, John Singleton, F. Gary Gray and Justin Lin. Now we can add Louis Leterrier (of “The Transporter” fame), who brings his unique panache of action to the mix. We get terrific over-the-top action sequences of Dom driving a car into a construction machine to stop a wrecking ball of a nuclear bomb, a car door being used as a bullet shield and some of the best race-to-the-death scenes we’ve seen thus far in the series. The Fast saga may not have the same emotional depth or complex plotting as a Chris Nolan film or be as jaw-dropping as the John Wick films but point blank period, this is entertainment. This is a spectacle worth spending money for and watching with the whole family. The Fast saga knows what it is and what its strengths are and when it leans into those strengths, it makes for damn good entertainment that would make Paul Walker proud.
“Fast X” comes as a pleasant, fun surprise in a series that has seen some good highs and mediocre lows. The film teeters the perfect line of being just over-the-top to not be too incomprehensible but not too safe of an action film either. Stakes are raised considerably, culminating in a well-done cliffhanger, effectively hanging audiences on the edge of their seats for more. The Fast Saga may not be totally done for after all as the team behind these hyper street racing films have proved that even the most exhaustive franchises can still have hope. And all it takes…is family (ok, last time).