Fast-ten your seatbelts as I make that bad joke one last time. The tenth film in the Fast and Furious franchise, Fast X, is finally here.
Fast X ushers in the beginning of the end of the road for the F&F films. 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 emerges from the shadows of the past, fueled by blood revenge, and determined to shatter this family and destroy everything—and everyone—that Dom loves, forever.
Jason Momoa is the perfect villain for Fast X
You may have seen all the buzz and praise for Jason Momoa in Fast X recently. And that hype is 100% warranted. Momoa’s Dante is excellent, and exactly the kind of villain the franchise needed.
Fast and Furious antagonists are too often just beefy dudes who want to hit/shoot whatever they can (see: Hobbs, Shaw) or cops/drug lords with a bunch of guys at their disposal. But Dante feels like someone who can actually challenge the impressive crew in Fast X. (Remember, the Fast Family now includes people outrageously skilled in driving, surveillance, hand-to-hand combat, programming and hacking… You get the picture.) He seems relentless and ruthless enough to try anything, and smart enough to actually think a few steps ahead of everyone else.
On top of that, Momoa is just a delight to watch. He brings incredible energy and comedic timing to every line delivery and gesture. He makes Dante feel campy enough to belong in a Fast and Furious movie, but threatening enough to actually keep you interested in his evil plan. His effusive, chaotic personality also contrasts nicely against the very stoic Dom. Dante is a villain worth keeping around for multiple films, and no one could play him like Momoa.
A family divided (for plot reasons)
Look, I love the Fast and Furious franchise, but even I have to admit there’s just too many damn characters in these movies now. They may be able to keep breaking out more chairs to add people to the cookout, but there’s no denying it’s a lot harder to break out reasons for everyone to contribute to this plot.
Fast X tries to split the crew up into different little groups across different locations. (All while adding a new crop of characters to its already massive cast.) It’s better than every scene having 20 people in it. But it also goes about how you probably expect: a lot of people wind up not doing very much at all.
Roman, Tej, Ramsey, and Han spend the majority of Fast X teamed together… but their actual actions rarely required more than one or two of them in any given scene. Mia disappears completely pretty early on. Letty and Cipher both wind up on ice (IYKYK). The new characters – Brie Larson’s Tess, Alan Ritchson’s Aimes, Daniela Melchior’s Isabela – got more screen time than I expected. Not a bad thing on its own, but again – there’s already quite an expansive regular cast, plus cameos and callback appearances. If we’re going to keep involving all of these people, I’d like to see the characters contribute more in the next movie.
Action callbacks mostly sidestep instead of escalate
Fast & Furious is a franchise famous (or infamous) for its escalations. Generally, each new flick in the franchise attempts to make the action bigger than in the last. That’s how we ended up with super magnets, Spider-Man swingin’ cars, and going to space in F9.
Fast X doesn’t try to fly higher than space, which is probably for the best. There’s plenty of exciting action sequences, though I would describe most of them as a bit toned down from F9. Fast X very much leans into the fact that the franchise will soon come to an end. So, a lot of the action sequences actually serve as callbacks to other Fast Saga films. This means they don’t always feel as shocking or inventive as the previous installment. However, longtime franchise fans will have fun getting to notice the nods to prior films.
Overall though, Fast X delivers plenty of high-speed chases, explosions, and daring (and impossible) acts, especially when Dom gets behind the wheel of his signature Charger. There’s also some good hand-to-hand combat moments, as well as a brief return to classic street racing. I don’t think Fast X has the best action of the franchise, but it also doesn’t have the worst, either.
Are you not entertained?
People who ask “Is the new Fast and Furious movie good?” have simply missed the point somewhere along the way. These movies are not made to take home Oscars. They’re made to entertain, with loose plots and family melodrama and blockbuster action sequences that make you cheer and/or roll your eyes.
Is Fast X good? Is it not enough to see Dominic Toretto flip a car with one hand? To see Jordana Brewster and John Cena tag-team to throw a man out a window, see Brie Larson start a bar fight while wearing a “Good Vibes Only” jacket, see Charlize Theron and Michelle Rodriguez try their best to beat the shit out of each other, see Sung Kang hit a guy with a crowbar? Is it not enough to rejoice in dialogue so cheesy you and the stranger next to you in the theater predict the line out loud in unison before the character even says it? To root for a campy, over-the-top villain to blow up the Vatican and then paint his nails?
If none of that appeals to you, Fast X probably isn’t your movie, and Fast and Furious isn’t your franchise. But I’m watching, and I’m undeniably entertained.