Home Reviews 2/5 Review Fast X – Film Review

Fast X – Film Review

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fast x film review
fast x film review

We’ve come a long way from street races and stealing DVD players. Fast X is the tenth mainline entry in the Fast & Furious series, something that nobody could have predicted way back in 2009 – not even the very self-assured Vin Diesel. Forget the heists in the movies: the biggest bank has been made by the people behind the scenes. 

For a little bit of context, I’m a fairweather fan of the Fast & Furious series. I didn’t really ‘get it’ until Fast Five, when the series jettisoned the street-races and instead became a superhero movie where the superheroes are the cars. From then on, I’ve loved them half-ironically. The more bald men punching each other, the better. But that love has started to wear and chip. For the past couple of movies, it feels like the handbrake has been off and they’ve been slipping into self-parody. The cast just seems to be getting ridiculously big, and the constant mentions of ‘family’ is getting on our tits. 

We came into Fast X expecting a return to form. The series has never gone more than two movies without a decent entry (Tokyo Drift is a fine movie – fight us), and the recruitment of Jason Momoa as the bad guy felt like something of a coup. He’s at his best when he’s unbridled, giving him room to swagger, and it was clear from the trailer that Fast X had done exactly that. The news that Vin Diesel hated how OTT Momoa’s performance was, only fuelled our expectations.

As huge fans of Fast Five, the opening was made for us. It revisits that movie, showing the physics-defying safe heist sequence from another perspective. Dante (Jason Momoa) is in the chasing pack as his father’s safe is used like a giant conker. We know that there’s no chance he will chase Dominic Toretto down, and Dante’s car duly gets tossed off a bridge. Cue a time-jump and festering feelings of revenge.

Fast X then begins in earnest, and quickly starts filling out the Fast & Furious Bingo Card. We are introduced to pretty much every member of the Toretto extended family, as they reminisce about old times, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) makes some outrageous rewrites to that history, and the crew all slap their knees and roll their eyes. Everyone says ‘family’ as much as they possibly can, and we desperately hoped that someone would crash the party, preferably in a muscle car.

That person duly turns up, as Cipher (Charlize Theron) arrives, bloodied, looking for Dominic’s help. Check off another box on the Fast & Furious Bingo, as yet another enemy changes sides. The team, as usual, seem perfectly capable of hand-waiving the heinous things she has done in the past. She has news: Dante has a personal vendetta against the Torettos, and he’s going to come for them all, one by one. 

We know this because we’ve seen a couple of flashbacks. In them, Jason Momoa is a strutting dandy: a threatening peacock who freely admits he’s going to kill them all and drink their blood. He has been teleported in from a completely different movie, but it’s a movie we would have loved to see. Without him, the movie would be dead-on-arrival, but we half see Vin Diesel’s point: Dante just doesn’t seem to come from the same universe as everyone else. 

Making Toretto’s family the target, and putting them on the defensive, might seem like a great move. It rustles the nest, and suddenly all of the Torettos are in play. Jakob (John Cena), Dominic’s brother, is enlisted to protect Dominic’s son. Queenie (Helen Mirren), Shaw (Jason Statham), Han (Sung Kang) and more are all dusted off from the series’ past, and the numbers are bolstered with Tess (Brie Larson, looking happier than she’s ever been in a role) and Aimes (Alan Ritchson, fresh off of Reacher). The cast starts to look like a Sgt Pepper’s album cover.

But boy oh boy does it make for a turgid, aimless movie. Fast X collects sub-plots like Dominic collects cars. It has to, as there are dozens of characters in play. But while some of them work and spark interest (Brie Larson and Alan Ritchson are commanding whenever they’re on screen), others just feel like comedy skits that bear no relevance to the plot. We couldn’t tell you what the hell Han, Roman, Tej and Ramsey’s plotline is doing, other than enrolling Pete Davidson and landing precisely zero of its jokes. Han looks thoroughly embarrassed to be there. The Jakob stuff isn’t much better.

Our theory is that what turns Fast X into a write-off is the defensive nature of the plot. The Torettos are at their best when they are on the offensive. The enemy might have all the cards, but that pushes the Family to think resourcefully and stage a heist for the ages. Here, the Torettos are never on the offensive. They are constantly reactive, being undermined by an enemy who anticipates everything they do. They stop feeling like superheroes when they fail so constantly.

There’s a gap here, too. Dante may be threatening, but there’s no sense of how he can be quite as omniscient and omnipotent as the plot wants him to be. He swings wildly from incompetent to competent, mostly because the plot wants him to be both at different times. He never feels believable as a result: he’s a hairy, fabulous plot device, which isn’t as exciting as it sounds. 

As the plot slowly meanders to an ending – two football team’s worth of protagonists will do that to a film – we realised that two things were going to happen. First, Fast X wasn’t going to tie up in a bow. Clearly, it was being built up to be a multi-parter, so we weren’t even going to get the satisfaction of a resolution. Someone clearly looked at all the characters and threads that needed tying up and went ‘sod it’, before kicking the can down the road. 

Second, Fast X was going to become overburdened with the most ridiculous, illogical fan service. We thought Rise of Skywalker was bad: Fast X is determined to wink and nudge as it wheels someone else in from the franchise’s past. It doesn’t matter if that person couldn’t physically be there. Fast X wants you to enjoy the cameo anyway. 

Fast X represents the moment I realised I wasn’t enjoying the movies anymore. The action bluster from Fast Five had gone, to be replaced by desperately unfunny skits and so much flab that it’s a wonder the plot can move at any kind of speed. Jason Momoa is a spark plug, a single redeeming element that is trying to zap it into life, but Fast X has all of the speed and energy of a school bus. 

Lest we forget, there’s the promise of one or two more of them. Momoa save us.

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fast-x-film-review<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Jason Momoa is a blast</li> <li>Some of the action sequences show where the budget went</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Way too many characters</li> <li>Way too many plot strands</li> <li>Stumbles into self-parody</li> <li>Makes the Torettos look oddly incompetent</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Purchased by TXH</li> <li>Running time and release date - 2hr 21mins | 2023 <li>To rent/buy - £15.99/£19.99 SD,HD</li> </ul>
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