Fast X (2023)
Fast X (2023)

Genre: Action Running Time: 2 hrs. 21 min.

Release Date: May 19th, 2023 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Louis Leterrier Actors: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham, Brie Larson, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren, Daniela Melchior, Rita Moreno, Alan Ritchson, Leo Abelo Perry, Scott Eastwood

 


 

A

decade ago, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) led a heist of $100 million from a powerful crime lord in Brazil. While the theft was a success, it resulted in the creation of an enemy filled with unimaginable hatred and vengeance: Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the maniacal son of the slain kingpin. With only death and suffering on his agenda, Dante first frames Toretto and his loyal gang – including Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Han (Sung Kang) – of committing a terrorist attack in Italy, then drains their life savings to fund mercenaries hired to eradicate them. Now, with numerous police forces and paid assassins hot on their tails, Dom must attempt to stop Dante’s final goal of kidnapping his son Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), while the rest of his team will be forced to turn to unlikely allies if they hope to stay alive.

As it jumps back a decade in the timeline to catch audiences up on revenge details, it simultaneously invents new coincidences and connections that didn’t previously exist. This isn’t some long game like in other franchises based on source materials, which cautiously built links needed for later revelations; shots are re-filmed in order to add items that simply weren’t there. This overly manufactured introduction does allow the picture to replay one of the better action sequences of the series, though – and it’s one of the first such moments that catapulted the unexpectedly long-running property from mere street culture to total superspy spectacle.

It isn’t quite enough, however, to recap all of the important notes, considering that there are now nine previous entries, as well as a theatrical spin-off, which generate a colossal amount of backstory. And with a cast this large (it’s one of the most impressive aspects of this tenth chapter), every other scene seems to bring back someone whose involvement ought to be familiar – if only to diehard fans. “That’s not gonna happen again.”

It’s back to the top-secret, nameless government agency missions, utilizing unrestricted resources, constant globe-trotting, and plenty of firefights. But it’s the type of action that often feels meaningless and inconsequential, particularly when the main characters remain perpetually impervious to harm. Once a role is brought back from the dead (and that has happened with far more than a single persona), it’s safe to say that everyone is relatively secure; death can’t even stop a valuable character for long. Resultantly, no real danger ever presents itself, regardless of the high-octane explosions, the machine gun shootouts, and the reckless car chases. The city of Rome is fairly well-demolished, but no doubt it will be in tip-top shape by the time the next sequel arrives.

Further contributing to that lack of adventure-based potency is the inanity of the stunt designs, which are so disappointingly unrealistic (and physically impossible) that computer animation is surely used in the majority of it. And even the sequences that employ actual, practical vehicles tend to infuse CG supplementation or backgrounds or effects. This carries over into the onscreen technology, which is perhaps even more unworthy in the context of street-racers-cum-secret-agents; every immoderately-advanced doodad always has a kill-switch that can be triggered only at the last possible second, or it can be hacked with the rapid-fire tapping of an ever-present, exceptionally handy laptop. It often feels as if “Fast X” takes place in some sci-fi-saturated, distant future.

The levels of destruction are pretty surpassing, even if cars remain operable despite absorbing major body damage. This is the kind of film that begs the question as to how any windows are able to stay intact after all the gunfire, collisions, and somersaulting across the pavement. The vehicles apparently brush off those damages like humans do with injuries; bodily wounds are never an issue beyond the first scene in which they’re incurred.

Clearly, little about this movie is meant to be taken seriously, which is why it’s refreshing that Momoa is having such a grand time, playing his character so flamboyant and over-the-top. He must realize how silly the whole thing is (the other effective bits of humor revolve around Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges bickering). Certainly, the dialogue is somewhat self-aware, too, which explains why numerous lines offer up the very criticisms that critics will certainly identify. “If it violates the laws of God and gravity … they did it twice.” “It’s like a cult with cars.” “I hate barbecues.” “I only care about protecting the people that I love.” “Nothing’s impossible. You just have to have faith.” And, of course, the word “family” is spoken so many times that it tends to lose all meaning – especially since all of these characters are genuinely family-related in some way (and not just the heroes, but also the villains and the supporting and walk-on roles).

Though the majority of the players are unmemorable, it’s admittedly amusing to see so many returning stars and cameos (each one engages in a fistfight for essentially no reason at all). With the plot’s unoriginality and constrained scope, there’s little for them to do, however, which leads to four of them spending the brunt of the bulky running time just traveling from one end of Rome to the other. The repetition is considerable, the drama and action are ludicrously exaggerated, and the cliffhanger finale reminds that this was never intended to be a complete story. Yet a portion of “Fast X” is so absurdly ridiculous that it’s mildly entertaining. And at least nobody drives a car into space. “Did you hit me with a helicopter back there?”

– The Massie Twins

  • 4/10


The Fast & Furious Franchise


The Fast and the Furious (2001)

2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Fast and Furious (2009)

Fast Five (2011)

Fast & Furious 6 (2013)

Furious 7 (2015)

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

F9 (The Fast Saga) (2021)

Fast X (2023)