Movie Reviews

Movie Review: FAST X Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham

Posted: May 19, 2023 at 6:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

“It’s a perfect movie!” – Quentin Tarantino

“One of my favorite pictures.” – Steven Spielberg

“One of the biggest epic films I have ever seen.” – Christopher Nolan

Hard to believe three legendary filmmakers said this about Fast X, right?

It should be; they didn’t. They’re definitely real quotes by them, but in reference to other films (for the record, they were referring to Back to the Future, The Shining, and Heat, respectively).

Fast X, on the other hand, isn’t exactly high-brow cinema. It’s not avant-garde, it’s not brilliant, and it’s about as deep as the gene pool when Adam and Eve first hooked up.

But here’s the thing. If you’re willingly wanting to see Fast X, then odds are you’ve seen the previous ten films in the franchise and already anticipated this. You’re not going into the theater for vichyssoise and lobster tail; you’re there for dessert and eye candy. And the folks churning out the films in this franchise know this. They aim to present fast cars, absurdly impossible stunts, and ridiculously good-looking people using scripts that play out like they were Mad Libbed one drunken night. And guess what? It works.

Sort of.

Justin Lin (who directed, produced, and or wrote several of the previous installments) stepped aside as director of X, but his fingerprints are all over the film – as he still produced and helped write this entry. Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk) takes over here, and the transition is seamless enough that Lin’s absence is hardly felt in regard to pace and flow.

Returning essentially the entire crew from F9 (and a few from the other films), Dominic (Vin DIesel) and la familia once again have their peaceful lives flipped upside down when it’s discovered that Hernan Reyes (the antagonist of Fast Five) had a hulking son who looks nothing like him, Dante (Jason Momoa), an uber super ultra villain who takes the crown (and everything else) from Cipher (Charlize Theron) and begins doing bad stuff that bad guys do.

I’m not going to write any more about the plot, mainly because if you love this franchise, you probably don’t care about something as trivial as that. You know what’s important: shiny things doing impossible stuff. And Fast X delivers them in abundance. Quite literally, as the first car Roman (Tyrese) drives acts as a mirror, reflecting sunlight into a driver’s eye to distract him.

And perhaps this series is set in an alternate universe with lower gravity, but the crew continues to pull off physical actions that would have left all of them dead around five movies and $15 billion ago. To the series’ credit, they have acknowledged this in the past; in F9, Rome, Tej (Ludacris), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) engage in a rather lengthy conversation about the possibility that they’re invulnerable after going through everything they have and surviving. It felt like a not-so-subtle nod that the writers are aware of how absurd the action is and they’re enjoying it as much as the audience.

There’s even been a resurrection of a beloved character whose death had to be retconned, so maybe they’re on to something. There are admittedly some incredible action scenes, but I found myself throwing my arms up in bewilderment more than I was saying “Wow” in awe of what I was seeing. Nobody goes into space this time, but they do manage to divert a neutron bomb using absurd precision driving in cars made out of adamantium. And that might be the most feasible of the action scenes.

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the acting, but I will say Momoa’s portrayal of Dante vaults him to the top of the franchise villains list in my opinion. Momoa embraces the psycho-villain personality and he handles it with such charisma, you can’t help but laugh along even at times when he’s doing something atrocious. Momoa chose to portray Dante with a certain flair that some may not care for, but I think he absolutely nailed it.

Similarly worth mentioning is John Cena, who’s also embraced silliness, perhaps in the mold of his Peacemaker character. Whereas he was brooding and menacing in F9, he takes on the role of protective uncle, trying to be best buds with his nephew (Leo Abelo Perry) while keeping him safe from harm.

Also, be sure to stick around for the mid-credits scene. There are already spoilers floating around online, but I won’t do that. I’ll just say it’s a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. There are also a couple of cameos that I’ll let you discover.

I’ve come to realize that I’ve spent way more time and space writing this review than anyone should honestly care for. If you’re an avid fan of the franchise (and based on the box office receipts, there are quite a few of you), there will be nothing I could say that would deter you from seeing this. In that case, tack on a letter grade to my review and have a blast. Ultimately, though, Fast X is a television: it shows you a lot of fun things, but there’s no depth to it.*

* – unless you have like one of those 3D TVs they stopped making a few years ago. Then maybe there’s some depth, but then this metaphor is totally useless.

Fast X gets a C+