Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Premise: The tenth film in the Fast & Furious series. The son of the drug lord from Fast Five (Jason Momoa) seeks revenge on Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family.
What Works: Fast X is a bit of a course correction for this series. The tenth Fast & Furious film walks back the excesses of the two previous movies, one of which included a scene of Dwayne Johnson’s character kicking a torpedo off course and another that launched the characters into outer space. Fast X is a compromise between the super heroics of the recent movies and the more grounded heists and street races of the earlier films. This approach puts the new film in touch with the qualities that made the Fast & Furious series appealing in the first place. Fast X also does a better job of giving everyone something to do. Because each film carries forward the characters introduced in the previous installment, the cast has swelled and the recent films struggled to give everyone meaningful participation in the action. Fast X balances the characters and their stories pretty well. The new villain of Fast X is played by Jason Momoa and he is the highlight of this movie. Most of the characters of the Fast & Furious series are stoic and self-serious. Momoa is high energy and goofy with a macabre touch, and he punches up the movie and gives this installment something new. Fast X concludes on a cliffhanger and it’s a bold ending that heightens the stakes. However, it’s hard to take the climax seriously given the series’ penchant for undoing character deaths.
What Doesn’t: Aside from Momoa’s performance, Fast X is dogged by the impression that we’ve seen all this before. It’s more car chases and vengeful villains interspersed with lectures about the importance of family and loyalty. But Fast X plays as a movie on cruise control. It gives viewers everything we’ve come to expect from this series, doing most of it competently, but there’s little that’s exciting about it. Fast X also lacks the camaraderie of the earlier installments. The team is split into groups and each set has their own side mission. One of the qualities that distinguished the Fast & Furious series was the family banter between Toretto’s crew. That’s not found here. The film is also obviously padded. Like the last few films, Fast X runs over two hours and it’s too long. In an effort to give everyone something to do, the film includes a number of fights and chases that are overdone or don’t have any payoff, especially the fist fight between Letty and Cipher (Michelle Rodriguez and Charlize Theron). Some of the fights and set pieces are shot and edited so frantically that it’s hard to follow the action.
Bottom Line: Fast X sets up the beginning of what is presumably the end of the Fast & Furious series. The return to some of the franchise basics and the performance by Jason Momoa make this one of the better installments but the series is starting to feel stale.
Episode: #950 (May 28, 2023)