Fast X is the beginning of the end and aims to be the long-running series’ equivalent to Avengers: Infinity War. But with numerous production issues during filming and the risk of franchise fatigue, does this new entry deliver?
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Well, here we are again with a new entry of the Fast & Furious franchise speeding its way into theaters. After a couple of recent duds, Fast X had the promise to deliver for this global franchise, especially with the high stakes that the film was setting up. And while it does have the non-stop action and fun moments fitting for the franchise, it gets bogged down by a story that was made solely to set up a grand finale.
DANTE THE SCENE STEALER
Fast X centers on new villain, Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa). He has arrived to wreak havoc on Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) family. The son of the villain from Fast Five (2011), he aims to take down our heroes, one member at a time.
In previous entries, it seemed that Dom and his team were too invincible, with the villains feeling like fodder. Thankfully, Fast X allows Momoa to be a true menace who manages to beat our heroes with every encounter. The character is always one step ahead of Dom, and by doing so, the film succeeds in giving us an intimidating presence. One of the main themes of Fast X is Dom’s fear of losing his family, and Dante’s ruthless yet carefree attitude brings that point home. Momoa blends his physicality with flamboyant outfits and a sense of fun that fits the series.
Momoa’s strong turn as the villain also aids the film in its sense of danger. One improvement Fast X has from F9: The Fast Saga (2021) is tone. The film is less silly compared to the last few entries, with a genuine threat and some character deaths. And though the set pieces remain ridiculous as ever, the movie never has true “jump the shark” moments like going to space or going up against super soldiers that plagued the more recent films.
A HALF-BAKED STORY
Sadly, the positives end here as, despite some improvements, Fast X is still not the return to form that fans have been waiting for. The script is a mess, even by Fast & Furious standards, as despite the 2-hour and 20-minute runtime, characters go to side missions that seem like diversions that don’t push the main plot forward. A big example here is Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) and company who head to London for a huge chunk of their screentime only to barely accomplish anything.
The film also is stuffed with too many characters for its own good. Aside from the returning cast and Dante, there are newcomers such as Tess (Brie Larson), Aimes (Alan Ritchson), and Isabel (Daniela Melchior) who, despite their best efforts, contribute little to the story. While Dom and Dante get most of the action, the rest of the cast barely make a dent in the story as they set themselves up for the inevitable sequel/s. For the penultimate entry in the series, the movie feels busy setting up new players when they’re better off devoting their time to setting the stage for the grand finale.
Finally, the movie never truly sets itself apart from the previous Fast movies. Despite their silly nature, the franchise always felt like a big event every time a new film came out. Fast X is the first entry in the series that feels like padding that has plagued numerous two-parter finales like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Story was never the franchise’s strong suit, but even this film fumbles the bag.
CALL THE TOW SERVICE
(from left) Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry, back to camera) and Jakob (John Cena) in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier
Fast X, then, is further proof that the franchise should have ended with Furious 7 (2015). Despite having a great villain, and some fun callbacks for series fans, the movie suffers from a paper-thin script, and contrived plotlines, and never truly distinguishes itself from its predecessors. If you’re looking for two hours of non-stop action, Fast X is not a bad choice. Just make sure to center the cinema with lowered expectations.
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