I actually haven’t seen any of the films in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise since the first movie, and the second half of the second movie when it was playing on the tv of a meeting room I was in that I was waiting to start. I know nothing outside of the franchise’s origins other than who was starring in it when the trailers would play in the cinemas or on YouTube. So coming into ‘Fast X’ was a little intimidating, knowing that it is the finale of the franchise, the tenth overall (eleventh if you count the spinoff ‘Fast and Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw’) and that there might be things that I was going to miss out in the experience.
But I had nothing to fear. With only having seen the first movie, half of the second movie, and seeing the trailers of the various other installments, I was quickly able to catch up as the story unfolds: Dominic Torreto (Vin Diesel) appears to be settling down with his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), with his crew taking on a mission without him but someone from his past (namely a retelling of events from ‘Fast Five’ with new material shot and mixed with archived footage that includes the late Paul Walker to include him into the finale) has come back to threaten Dominic and the things he most cares about, his family.
As a finale, ‘Fast X’ goes personal as Jason Momoa’s Dante Reyes is out for revenge against Dominic and his team. He lost everything to Dominic and he’s out for payback, and in the grandest way possible. The agency gets mixed up, the team is split apart, and everyone is scrambling to gather together as “lines are drawn” and people are “forced to choose a side” as it is stated and everyone and anyone who played a major part in the franchise is either mentioned or referred to or makes an appearance.
As someone who was very dismissive of the ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise, I actually had a lot of fun in ‘Fast X.’ So much fun that I’m willing to go and search out ‘The Fate of the Furious’ and ‘F9’ just to see Charlize Theron’s earlier installments. ‘Fast X’ is the kind of campy big budget action film that doesn’t sweat the details. During all the complicated car chases around various cities in the film, there’s a whole lot of property damage but somehow all the pedestrians manage to get out unscathed from the explosions and the stuff. The bad guys and maybe some policemen, on the other hand, never make it. The good guys, though, always do. It’s the kind of film where the laws of physics don’t really work out realistically and the good guys can manage to swing large, heavy building parts that are strapped to speeding cars by doing drifts and hitting their target as if they’ve been practicing this all their lives.
There is a brainlessness that’s fun in ‘Fast X.’ I’m never actually worried about any of them because the film talks a lot about the risks and the dangers but everything moves in clockwork and even the dialogue tells us what’s happening and reminds us that Vin Diesel’s Dominic Torreto is so cool. In fact, Jason Momoa’s Dante Reyes, who hates Dominic so much, is throwing compliments at him left and right. It almost feels like it was placed on the script to help Vin Diesel look cool.
Because, unfortunately, the most bland thing about the movie is Vin Diesel. In an effort to look cool at all times, his character ends up becoming uninteresting. Instead, I’m enjoying watching everybody else when they get a turn – every time Michelle Rodriguez and Charlize Theron are in a scene, it ends up becoming explosive; Ludacris and Nathalie Emmanuel are charming (not so much Tyrese Gibson, who oversells what feels like the typical ‘dumb but arrogant character’ that Roman is written as); even Brie Larson and Alan Ritchson, who both make their debut in the franchise, gets the whole tone of the film and has fun with it – and trust me, they all get a turn to do something cool or crazy.
But the one who is eating up the scenery is Jason Momoa, who is approaching his Dante Reyes with so much gusto that it goes overboard. I honestly don’t know if I like the performance or not. It feels so cartoon-y and way over the top, even for this movie, that he feels like he doesn’t belong in this film. And for some reason, as much as I can stand it, I think it works. It goes against everything that the ‘Fast and the Furious’ is all about. Momoa was allowed to play against type, balancing masculine and feminine gestures, and treating this like the campy 60s ‘Batman’ tv show with Adam West. It’s definitely a choice it allows him to not get swallowed up by everything else the movie throws at us.
Because with its reported huge budget, you are sure that ‘Fast X’ offers tons of action, tons of crazy car chases and car stunts, and a whole lot of explosions. The cast alone is explosive enough with a whole bunch of Oscar winners that was actually quite surprising like Larson, Theron, and even Helen Mirren (reprising her role as Queenie).
Strange to be coming back into the franchise at its finale. But the way these movies are made and how they were meant to be enjoyed means that I didn’t miss much to still be able to enjoy what I got. I’m sure I’m missing a lot of details and inside jokes I’m missing but I still managed to enjoy myself. From what I’ve read, this finale is going to be in three parts, with ‘Fast X’ being the first of a trilogy that signals the end of the franchise. The film ends with a cliffhanger and some end credit surprises that I’m sure will get cheers and maybe even raised eyebrows from fans of the series. But as someone who is very late to the party, I don’t mind jumping in for the last two if it’s as fun and as light and easy as ‘Fast X.’
FAST X is now showing in cinemas nationwide. Buy your tickets here