At this point, just hook me up to an IV and let the Fast & Furious franchise fuel my life because it’s capable of delivering a hit of adrenaline like no other. Fast X is no exception – it’s a wildly outrageous globetrotting adventure filled with impossible stunts, crazy action and pure entertainment.
The story follows Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his “family” as they’re targeted by a new enemy – the son of a man they were responsible for killing during the events of Fast Five. It’s a simple and straightforward revenge story, but that doesn’t mean it’ doesn’t have any’s got no surprises along the way. Being ‘part one’ of a two (or three) part finale, it kicks off a little slow – there’s a lot of talk about family, love, the past and the future, really setting the stage for what’s to come and establishing the fact that not everything will go smoothly for the crew this time around. This opening ‘family’ scene can feel a little too overdone, but it’s successful in letting us know that the danger is quite real this time around. Despite the feeling that there’s slightly higher stakes, there’s absolutely no shortage of fun to be had with Fast X.
This movie sits at 2 hours and 20 minutes long, and honestly it didn’t feel a second longer than 90 minutes. Once it really gets moving, it never takes the foot off the gas – constantly jumping from one set of characters to the next, across multiple cities and countries around the world. Can certain story beats be predictable? Yeah, but that’s largely been the identity of the franchise for the last six entries. The overarching plot can be straightforward, but there’s little moments along the way that are fresh, new and act as genuine surprises. Regardless of whether you think it’s predictable or fresh, the priority of this film is in the entertainment value, and this film is just as entertaining as the rest of them. It’s full of loud, entirely unrealistic nonsense, but it’s fun, exciting and gets the adrenaline pumping.
Now, one thing this film handles quite well is also the most delicate thing that could send it all crashing down; the massive lineup of characters that are all split on different adventures. Each Fast film has introduced new characters, while rarely killing off existing ones. That’s great and all, but it results in this film having to follow and develop all of these returning characters on top of the newbies. For the most part, director Louis Leterrier and the trio of writers do really well to keep everyone’s narrative moving and ensure (almost) every character has a relevant place in the story. There are some outliers though – John Cena’s Jakob returns, although he doesn’t really have much to do besides offering his taxi driving services to another character. Likewise, Brie Larson’s Tess makes recurring appearances, but usually at moments where it doesn’t feel like she’s needed. Aside from those two exceptions, every other narrative felt well covered and developed throughout.
Aside from the story, the action is as exceptional as it always is. It embraces the ridiculousness of its scenarios and throws the laws of physics out the window, all to enhance the entertainment factor. There’s one sequence with a spherical bomb that rolls endlessly through the streets, somehow never losing momentum. It’s entirely unrealistic, but that’s why it’s as fun as it is. This is the first Fast film to not really have a single “enormous” stunt to remember it by, but they make up for that by having every race and stunt sequence be insane in its own way.
The driving force behind the majority of the action is Jason Momoa’s villain, Dante. This is by far the most extravagant and animated villain in the franchise to date. His overly flamboyant personality is one of this entry’s biggest highlights. Is he completely comical and insane? Yeah. But it fits with the ridiculous approach the franchise has taken, bringing something completely new that we’ve not seen before. After all the serious, all-business tough guy villains we’ve gotten in the past, this is a breath of fresh air that provides plenty of crazily funny moments. Aside from Momoa, there isn’t really another individual performance that I’d say stands out amongst the crowd. Rather it’s the group dynamic of our core characters that works the best, like Tyrese Gibson’s (Roman) banter with Ludacris (Tej) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsay).
It should also be taken in to consideration that this film, being a ‘part one’, doesn’t have the same conclusive ending as the others. This is one story split over however many films Vin Diesel decides is appropriate, so don’t go in expecting a traditional conclusion akin to other franchise entries.
In the end, Fast X is yet another example of why I love this franchise so damn much. It’s high-octane entertainment in its purest form. The action is crazy, the narrative goes to some wild places and most importantly, it understands and embraces its ridiculousness. Jason Momoa’s villain is a standout, guiding the story from one conflict to the next and helping to pave the way for the story’s surprises. If you’re not already a fan of the franchise, Fast X isn’t about to make a fan out of you, but if you are a fan, then this is the rush of adrenaline you’ve been waiting for.