Trying to review Fast X is like copying the reviews of past Fast & Furious films. They have found a format that audiences enjoy and so why change things? The only real difference is that this is the start of what was supposed to be a two-part story that would end the series (although that has changed and is now a three-part story. Don’t hold your breath when it comes to really being over). With that in mind, we have a film that ends with four or five cliffhangers that will obviously be picked up in the next film, but until then, it’s business as usual, with outrageous set pieces, explosions, screeching cars and noise levels that will leave your ears ringing. They have become films that are almost impossible to criticise as they will still attract millions, so the best way to enjoy these films is to set your brain in neutral and go along for the ride.
Dominic Toretto and his “family” find themselves under a new threat in the form of Dante, the son of a man he thinks Dom has killed and so wants revenge. Instead of killing Dom, he wants him to suffer and be willing to destroy his group one piece at a time to get at the tough guy.
Plot has never been a strong point for these films. Just as long as it’s loud, with big explosions, speeding vehicles and enough carnage and chaos to still question how any bystander could escape without a scratch! It seems that everyone and their mother wants a piece of Dom, this time in the form of Dante, a psychopath enjoying every inch of inflicting misery into Dom’s life, pushing his heroic nature to the limits.
The set pieces are just as bizarre and as outlandish as previous films. We’ve had runways that last forever, submarines coming out of the Antarctic and cars being sent into space! This time we get a giant fireball bomb rolling down the streets of Rome, heading for the Vatican, and a car being dropped from a plane onto two other cars and still managing to drive away fine. Most cars struggle with the millions of potholes without getting a puncture, but not in the Fast & Furious films! It still tries to convince us that the movies are about family, and if you were taking shots every time they mention the word, you’d be drunk within the first 20 minutes. This is not about family; it’s about blowing things up!
Previous characters from past movies appear for this outing, including those who died in other films but meticulously survived (although no one seems to accept that the one person who has actually passed, Paul Walker, will not return unless in CGI form). We have a couple of new faces, including Brie Larson as Mr Nobody’s daughter, a tough agency officer who comes to help Dom when the agency has turned its back. Helen Mirren, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron and John Cena are also back (this is a film with so many “ands” and “withs” in the credits, as well as Vin Diesel and the rest of the regulars. This also happens with countries they have visited and almost destroyed, from London to Rio to the Antarctic!
The ace up the sleeve this time is Jason Mamoa as Dante. Having watched the other films, Mamoa has decided to go full over-the-top as the villain and scores highly on the entertainment factor. There have been screams of the performance being homophobic with a John Inman -style campness, but we don’t fully know the details of his characters, except he’s getting pure glee from messing with Dom’s world and “family”. There is nothing subtle or understated here, and it perfectly fits the film’s tone.
Fast X is not the best entry of the series, and, to be fair, it’s not the worst. The effects are a little laboured this time, and it’s far too long, but what it lacks in plot, character development or emotional attachment, it makes up for lunatic set pieces and energy. It’s not the best in the series, but it could be saving the best till last.
2 out of 5
Director: Louis Letterier
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Sung Kang, John Cena
Written by: (also story) Dan Mazeau, Justin Lin and (based on the characters created) Gary Scott Thompson
Running Time: 141 mins
Release date: 19th May 2023