So here’s a milestone: the tenth movie in The Fast and the Furious franchise. Nobody would’ve guessed we would still be getting these movies more then 20 years after the original movie. A movie that was about a group of street racers stealing DVD players in customized cars. It doesn’t get more early 2000s than that. But now we have arrived at Fast X and the series doesn’t seem to be slowing down as this was part of a duology, but already has been announced to be the first part of a trilogy. I guess they don’t just want to call them Fast XI and Fast XII.
In this way too convoluted movie the premise is fairly simple. Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. A name you might remember from Fast Five, the movie that introduced The Rock as Agent Hobbs. The Rock is missing from this movie, aside from a post credit scene, due to his very public feud with Vin Diesel. Also missing is Paul Walker as Brian, but that makes since he’s passed away several years ago. The only reason I’m pointing it out is because there are already rumors going around that they’re going to bring him back digitally in the next movie. I sure hope they don’t, but doing so will help the marketing and provide Walker’s relatives with a fat cheque.
Dom’s family is now so big, the franchise is starting to collapse in on its foundation. What started out as a movie about four main characters has become a series in which at least eight main characters have to be given a decent amount of screen time. The result is a simple tale of revenge that takes up 2,5 hours before ending on a cliffhanger.
One rule in movie making is that every scene needs to push the story forward. If a scene doesn’t do that it only functions as excess fat. Fast X is a good movie when it focuses on Dom and his nemesis Dante (Jason Momoa), but it lumbers when the focus shifts to any of the other storylines.
John Cena, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham’s parts only seem to be included so that they can be used in the marketing materials. Statham only has one scene which contributes nothing to the story. The same goes for a Pete Davison cameo. If these scenes would have ended up on the cutting room floor, nobody would miss them.
There’s also something strange going on with Dom’s son Brian. It’s not hart to miss the fact that he’s African-American, or has at least one African-American parent. But both Vin Diesel and his wife are Caucasian as are both of Dom’s parents as well as his brother Jacob. If I was Dominic Toretto I would do a paternity test, just to be sure.
Fast X is less self-aware than the previous movie. The one in which they went to space in a Pontiac Fiero. But the characters are as bulletproof as ever with and their cars still ignore the laws of physics.
Much like in the Marvel Universe, death has become a joke in this franchise. Letty and Han’s deaths were driving factors in previous movies, only for them to turn up alive in later movies. At the end of Fast X another tragic death from an earlier movie is overturned. So seeing a main character die in this movie, is only greeted with an indifferent shrug by me. See you in a movie or two!
Fast X does have one major redeeming factor: Jason Momoa. It seems he has been let off a leash and been given the instruction do his best Joker performance. The machinations of his plot are as extraneous as that of Heath ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight and he chews every scene in a similar fashion. It’s a fun and wild performance and simply the highlight of Fast X. He’s the total opposite of Vin Diesel who once again growls his way through this movie, thinking he’s in a serious drama.
I’m curious how Momoa’s Dante will do in the upcoming movies. Much like Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, there is a large chance the novelty of this character will fade away quickly in sequels. But since he’s surrounded by a large group of characters which have had little to no growth over the course of these movies, it shouldn’t be hard from him to steal the show in the next movie as well.