FAST X | Universal Pictures Canada | May 19, 2023
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Jason Momoa, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, John Cena, Jason Statham, Sung Kang, Alan Ritchson, Daniela Melchior, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, Rita Moreno, Cardi B
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
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.
REVIEW BY: Darren Zakus
Fast X injects the fan favourite franchise with a necessary shot of NOS, delivering the spectacle action sequences that fans expect eleven films in, but with an exciting turn by Jason Momoa as the film’s villain and the building blocks being set up for the epic finale of the series, the result is pure summer blockbuster fun.
The Fast and Furious franchise has seen its ups and downs over its twenty-two year history. What started off as Point Break of the street racing world morphed into a globe-trotting action thriller featuring the most outlandish action sequences involving cars that your brain could conjure up. While the franchise has failed to find the heights it reached with 2011’s Fast Five, the latest entry is easily the most entertaining film in the series since the emotional Furious 7, not counting the fun spy thriller spinoff Hobbs and Shaw featuring Dwyane Johnson and Jason Statham. Following what was easily one of the most lackluster entries in the series with F9, director Louis Leterrier takes the franchise back to its fundamentals as he begins setting up the series’s grand finale with a focus on family, practical effects, and crowd pleasing entertainment from start to finish.
After a mission gone wrong in Rome, Dominic Toretto and his team become the most wanted criminals in the world. Now on the run from the government agency they used to work for, Dom must fight to protect his family from their newest foe: the son of drug kingpin Herman Reyes they took down in Rio year’s earlier, Dante, who is hellbent on destroying everything that Dom loves.
If there is one way to describe Fast X, it is to call it the Avengers: Infinity War of the series. It’s a film that sees our heroes in different locations, trying to reunite to stop Jason Momoa’s Dante from tearing their family apart. It’s the first entry in a two part story (or three part story based on Vin Diesel’s comments on the red carpet at the film’s world premiere) which sets the stage for the series’s big finale. To its advantage, the film ties heavily back to Fast Five, which is regarded as one of the series’s best entries, largely ignoring the more recent films which have failed to be as exciting as the series' high point. With the connections to Fast Five, the screenplay digs deep into the mythos of the franchise to create a story with real stakes for the characters, that truly pays off for long time fans of the franchise. Yes, there is a lot of story going on in this film with multiple plot threads occurring at once to set the stage for the inevitable final showdown team up in the final film to close out the series in vehicular mayhem. At times it feels like there is too much going on, but the screenplay compensates by ensuring that the audience is having fun throughout. There are lots of laughs, a drag race, countless action sequences, and cameos galore from all corners of the Fast universe that are sure to delight fun. Yes, it is over the top and outrageous for the majority of the film, and while it will not win those who have not cared for the franchise from the start, it is everything that the fans will want. And by the time the film ends, fans will be left eagerly awaiting the next entry coming in 2025 after those multiple cliffhangers and the mid credit scene. Compared to F9, which was a chore to sit through, this film is a welcome return to form for the long running series.
Fans come out for Fast and Furious for the cars and action sequences, and the film delivers sequences that are exciting, letting the action explode across the big screen. Under the direction of Leterrier, the sequences are grounded in practical effects for the most part, letting the stunt drivers execute exciting and breathtaking maneuvers which is much appreciated after the CGI heavy sequences in The Fate of the Furious and F9. There is an urgency to each scene with the stakes of the story and the scale of each set piece that Leterrier stages, and while there are some moments of them that are over the top such as a bomb on fire rolling through the streets of Rome, they are less far-fetched than the series' previous two entries and something that fans of the series have come to expect eleven films in. Leterrier takes it back to cars racing through the streets, precision driving and some excellent hand to hand combat scenes, most notably the brawl between Charlize Theron and Michelle Rodriguez. The end result is a thrilling action film that demands to be seen on the big screen.
The main cast is back, and seeing Vin Diesel, Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Nathalie Emmanuel once again in their roles is great fun. But it is the newcomers and more recent additions to the Fast family that make the film. Without a doubt, the performance that everyone will be talking about is Jason Momoa’s portrayal of Dante. Not only is Dante the best villain of the entire franchise, he is one of the most exciting villains we have seen in recent blockbuster history. Flamboyant, oozing with swagger, absolutely deranged and unhinged in the darkest way imaginable, Momoa steals the film whenever he is on screen. His performance is reminiscent of Mark Hamill’s Joker, over the top in all the best ways imaginable, matching the overall tone of the film with ease. Needless to say, I cannot wait for the conclusion of his big showdown with Dom in the final entries in the series.
Charlize Theron is one of the best female action stars in the business today, and unlike her previous two films in the series where she was stuck behind a computer scene, she gets to join the action this time round. There is a wickedness to her portrayal of Cipher that is perfect for this series, finding the balance between sinister and playful, while exceeding in her hand to hand combat sequences. Returning for his second film, John Cena benefits from playing a hero this time, delivering some truly hilarious moments as Uncle Jakob by tapping into his natural happy go lucky personality and comedic abilities. Newcomer Alan Ritchson is a great antagonist, menacing in stature that makes him a worthy opponent for Diesel’s Dom, while playing the perfect straight government agent hellbent on capturing his target without hesitation. It’s his first big role after Reacher, and I cannot wait to see what he does with the role in the next film. Rita Moreno is absolutely splendid as Abuela Toretto and I hope we see her again in the series, while Brie Larson is a fun addition as Mr. Nobody’s daughter Tess, both extending the never ending family tree in the series with A list Hollywood talent.
It has always been about family in the Fast and Furious franchise, and never more so than with the latest installment. The stakes have never been higher for Dom and his crew, but Louis Leterrier creates truly blockbuster spectacle with Fast X. Action packed, exciting, thrilling and taking the series to new heights, with an unforgettable performance from Jason Momoa as the film’s villain Dante, Fast X is a refreshing entry in the series that captures the magic that made the series a fan favourite and revs up its engines to energize the summer movie season.