Fast X Movie Review

Fast X

Whether the Fast & Furious franchise has earned a triumphant culmination takes center stage in evaluating “Fast X.” The film overtly assumes the demeanor of a Greatest Hits anthology by a renowned artist. It not only forges a direct narrative link with the transformative “Fast Five,” which altered the franchise’s course significantly, but also orchestrates a symphony of allusions to preceding films within the series. Through deliberate references and meticulously crafted action sequences reminiscent of iconic moments from “Fast & Furious 6,” “Furious 7,” and “The Fate of the Furious,” the film’s resonance with its lineage is unmistakable.

Penned by Dan Mazeau in collaboration with “Fast Five” director Justin Lin—whose absence is discernible, particularly in action choreography—the script assumes a paradoxical quality, akin to a serpent consuming its tail. At times, it assumes the semblance of a satirical tribute to the franchise, rather than a novel installment capable of charting an autonomous trajectory. Amidst its whirlwind of delightfully absurd action sequences, buoyed significantly by Jason Momoa’s charismatic performance, an ardent familiarity still renders “Fast X” akin to microwaved leftovers, perhaps more so than its predecessors.

With purported plans to inaugurate a trilogy that will culminate the series, the film serves as an opening salvo. One can only hope that within the forthcoming two installments, a solitary stroke of innovation emerges, infusing a breath of fresh air into a franchise that has, until now, thrived on the resonance of its existing motifs.

Renowned director Louis Leterrier’s treatment of the beloved characters in “Fast X” appears to carry a certain weight that dampens the initial impact. Unfortunately, the film’s opening sequences rank among the least compelling across the ten-installment series. They constitute a procession of dialogues revolving around themes of family, legacy, and other familiar Fast & Furious motifs. While it’s within the character of Dom Toretto (portrayed by Vin Diesel) to emphasize the paramount significance of family ties, the execution takes a rather dramatic turn, especially when juxtaposed with the strains of Charlie Puth’s music accompanying sentimental visuals of Dom perusing stills featuring the late Paul Walker.

The potential to present an evolved version of Dom, whom we might aptly refer to as “Old Man Dom” considering his age of 56, seems to have eluded Diesel and his creative team. Rather than providing a nuanced depiction, the film only lightly grazes the surface of this concept, rendering Dom’s demeanor slightly pensive but failing to capture the essence of true transformation.

What becomes evident is the somewhat peculiar construction of these initial scenes. These scenes, which frequently employ the oft-mocked motif of Dom’s repeated utterance of “family,” come across as an overused trope rather than a well-considered narrative device. This treatment ends up diminishing the qualities that elevated the series to its zenith, as witnessed in the outstanding fifth through seventh installments. The reduction of Toretto and his cohorts to their most overt characteristics feels regrettably formulaic, devoid of the multifaceted personas that were showcased in their prime.

While deep character development isn’t necessarily an expectation at this stage of the franchise, the excessive repetition of Dom’s reverberating “family” mantra and his apprehensive expressions upon encountering his son, endearingly referred to as ‘Little B’ (portrayed by Leo Abelo Perry), appears to be an indulgence in redundancy. The film benefited from a more measured approach that respects the audience’s familiarity with these characters while offering a renewed perspective on their dynamics.

“Fast X” undergoes a compelling transformation as Dante Reyes, portrayed by Jason Momoa, initiates his strategic endeavor to exact vengeance upon Dom and his resolute cohort. Within this dynamic narrative, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) embark on a mission to Rome, unknowingly stepping into a carefully devised trap orchestrated by Reyes. This enigmatic antagonist, the progeny of Hernan Reyes, whose demise transpired during the audacious safe heist in “Fast Five,” manifests a singular intent – to subject Dom to a protracted ordeal of torment. A meticulously orchestrated sequence ensues, encompassing a convoluted stratagem designed to cast the group as purveyors of terror following an explosion in the heart of the Italian capital.

Evolving in tandem with the continuum of these cinematic installments, a trajectory that commenced with the estrangement of Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson’s characters, this narrative gambit serves as a narrative tool to fissure the unity of the close-knit crew. Against a backdrop of heightened tension, Roman, Tej, Ramsey, and the resurfaced Han (Sung Kang) traverse the landscapes of London, wherein a fateful encounter with Shaw (Jason Statham) is inevitable – an occurrence that ties back to previous chapters.

As the intricate plot unfolds, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) becomes ensnared, the key to her liberation becoming a symbiotic dance between the enigmatic Tess (Brie Larson), the progeny of the enigmatic Mr. Nobody, and the enigmatic yet formidable Cipher (Charlize Theron). The tapestry woven is enriched by the inclusion of an array of formidable talents: John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Daniela Melchior, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, and Alan Ritchson.

In the aggregate, “Fast X” emerges as a high-octane blockbuster, steering its way through a labyrinth of alliances, betrayals, and adrenaline-fueled street races while orchestrating an ensemble of characters that enrich and enliven the cinematic panorama.

However, their roles seem significantly constrained despite the array of renowned personalities. The banter between Roman and Tej exhibits a palpable sense of weariness. Though possessing remarkable talent, both Moreno and Mirren are limited to a solitary scene each, functioning merely as supportive elements to Dom’s character. Even Cena’s involvement is trapped in an inelegantly conceived and executed road trip scenario alongside Perry. Notably, Theron and Rodriguez inject vitality into the narrative through their subplot, culminating in a captivating combat sequence that stands as one of the film’s highlights.

Primarily, “Fast X” orbits around the dynamic between Dom and Dante, resulting in a cinematic venture that thrives when juxtaposing Diesel’s unwavering stoicism with Momoa’s exuberant flamboyance. Momoa, in particular, embodies a larger-than-life aura, infusing each scene with a gleeful and almost childlike enthusiasm as he fearlessly embraces chaos with his signature proclamation, “Here we go!” This juxtaposition of personas between Diesel and Momoa emerges as a captivating focal point, magnifying the film’s most impactful moments.

“Fast X” heralds its opening with a clever reimagining of an iconic sequence from the revered franchise’s past, specifically drawing from the memorable scene in “Fast Five.” This time, the narrative ingeniously integrates a digitally rejuvenated Jason Momoa into the familiar action, evoking a sense of nostalgia while propelling the story forward. Indeed, this initial spark ignited the film’s entire creative journey. The process involved compiling a selection of the franchise’s finest action sequences, which then served as a canvas for the transformational presence of Momoa’s character, Dante.

The film adeptly melds this new energy with existing action set pieces, yielding mixed yet occasionally satisfying results. Notably, a drag race sequence set in Rio masterfully captures the essence of the franchise’s earlier, more grounded focus on high-speed driving prowess, before the series ventured into gravity-defying feats. The orchestration of a car being released from an aircraft and the utilization of harpoons with intricate wire mechanics also find their place within the cinematic tapestry.

However, amidst these successes, a persistent undertone lingers—a sensation of déjà vu that occasionally pales in comparison to past achievements, especially under the direction of a moderately competent filmmaker like Leterrier. Furthermore, the film occasionally stumbles in its visual presentation, revealing a noticeable disparity between actors and their computer-generated surroundings, thereby diminishing the stakes as CGI occasionally supersedes the authenticity of stunt craftsmanship.

“Fast X” ultimately evokes a paradoxical sentiment—it thrives on its ability to rekindle echoes of the past yet grapples with the challenge of eclipsing the excellence previously achieved by directors more adept at choreographing action and maintaining spatial coherence. This juxtaposition of creative ambition and technical finesse creates a cinematic experience that, while occasionally dazzling, leaves room for a more cohesive and visually immersive execution.

The approach of enhancing rock band performances with new and elaborate pyrotechnics is further compounded by the context in which “Fast X” unfolds, or rather, the absence thereof. Devoid of divulging specific plot details, Vin Diesel has unveiled that this installment marks the inception of a culminating trilogy for the franchise. This revelation, likely disseminated before the premiere, aimed to mitigate the impact of a blockbuster lacking a conclusive resolution.

Drawing a parallel to the magnitude of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the film reaches a crescendo of monumental proportions. Protagonists are left in an assumed state of demise, perilously positioned, and ideologically fragmented. While the narrative embarks on a nostalgic journey, its trajectory remains inconclusive, necessitating aficionados patiently awaiting a gratifying outcome.

“Fast X” transcends being merely a celebratory lap, assuming the character of a high-octane spectacle where engines roar extravagantly, yet the race’s actual commencement remains pending. This underlines the notion that the essence driving this saga extends beyond familial bonds and amusement, ultimately converging with financial considerations.