Here We Go Again, Again
This is happening, again. If you are a fan of the Fast franchise, fast-ten your seatbelts! See what I did there? They had a perfectly good, built-in tagline and didn’t even capitalize on it. Listen y’all, Fast X is back like it never left, because it never left. Hasn’t left for twenty-two years. Honestly? It’s been as good as it’ll ever be. As the spectacle gets larger and more spectacular, it begs the question: will it ever be ‘too much’?
How Much is Too Much?
The answer is no. There is no ‘too much’. Dom Toretto and the family are back again like the Hess truck at Christmas. Come to think of it, that would be a hell of a cross-promotion! As per usual, the stakes are higher than ever. Well, the stakes are where they always are, but they feel more stake-y. There’s no real way to critique a Fast movie, it exists in a pocket dimension outside of the rules of cinema. This franchise literally breaks all of the parameters of “good” filmmaking and is a leap of predictable cash grabs. Despite all of that, this is the most entertaining movie on Bast’s green Earth, and we have to live with that fact. I laughed every single time the camera slowly crawled toward Dom’s tortured, angry face. Let’s get into it.
Fast X does nothing new. But it does everything it does do, well. I know how that sounds, but it’s all true.
If you can name a plot mechanism that semi-threw you for a loop in the first nine movies, they all happen here in the span of just one flick. The Family trots the globe and engages in heists, answering to everyone and no one at the same time. Slick visuals, gratuitous shots of women dancing in exotic locales, dozens of modified cars, and product placement on par with the first Sonic movie, all of the pieces that make it visually scintillating remain. Cinematography and stuntwork are of the highest caliber since John Wick 4 (not that long ago). The fight choreo was very uninspired, but it’s filmed well – although it hasn’t really gotten better in a few movies. Cameos were top-notch. The franchise must really be in its final phase, because they are calling in every favor they ever had in Hollywood. Folks came out of the woodwork to get this check.
Two things do stand out in this movie. First, Fast has always held diversity in high regard. Not the vague, please the PoCs while not making the white folk uncomfortable type diversity, nah. I’m talking about the ‘put Tego Calderon, Don Omar, and Black Latinx folks up front in the Puerto Rico scenes’ diversity. Women in strong roles, men engaging in vulnerability with one another, and folks from all walks of pop culture adding their flavor to the Fast cameos. Fast X continues in that tradition of unwavering representation. Internationally known on the microphone with a cast hailing from every damn where.
A Very Expensive Joker Audition Tape
Secondly, what catches you by surprise is Jason Momoa’s heel turn as the bold antagonist Dante Reyes. The word that best describes Momoa’s performance is ‘unhinged:’ Flamboyantly dressed, methodical yet maniacal, and delivering the best lines in the entire film. This man is competing with Academy Award winner Charlize Theron (albeit it’s Fast X) and coming out on top. Honestly, his performance is the entire reason to see this movie. To be clear, Jason Momoa channeled the eccentric and creepy charisma of every iteration of The Joker, and it worked. It was different to see Momoa play the villain, especially one bucking gender expression norms when he’s usually cast as the hypermasculine lead.
This is a Live-Action Cartoon
Ever since that fate-ful entry into the franchise (See? Did it again.) Fate of the Furious, when these racers turned robbers turned rogue state vigilantes took down a drug kingpin; the whole series slipped into some alternate universe. A universe where two overclocked Dodge Charger SRT8s can pull a bank vault out of a wall located in a police station, and have it be manipulated as a weapon. In midday, rush hour traffic – which is beside the point. This moment in the fifth movie is a key point in the timeline that shifted things toward unbelievably unbelievable levels of madness. There’s a clear ‘point A’ to ‘point B’ connection from the safe heist in F5 to Dom doing parkour on London rooftops – in Timbs!?! Loosely laced?!
Things in Fast X proceed to move into the superhuman. We watched Dom take his muscle car off a gigantic municipal landmark while dodging liquid fire and defying gravity as we know it, only to emerge unscathed. Like, fam, not a glass scratch? Not a bruise from bouncing around inside a steel frame? No rug burn from the leather upholstery on them bucket seats? If that’s the case, this ain’t even a live-action movie. This is now a cartoon. Fast X has so much CGI stuntwork that it’s damn near a cartoon. If this came on FOX Kids when I was a teen, would’ve been neck and neck with X-Men ‘92. What’s wild is that they brought attention to this fact in Fast 9 introducing the most important moment in Roman’s (played by Tyrese Gibson) two-decade existence. But, I digress.
So much of the fight choreography, chase scenes, and even the dialogue is so totally unmoored from reality that this could easily be a B-grade MCU entry. That said, it’s amazing. It does everything it says it will do and there are no upper (or lower) limits to what this franchise will do to center family over everything. To be honest, they’re really losing out. At the present rate of spectacle, the last movie in this ending trilogy (yes, Fast X will arrive in three parts) should basically be a crossover with the Transformers and Jurassic franchises. Hell, throw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in there for giggles. It would still be believable.
This is Only the Beginning of the End
In typical Fast fashion (see, another one) this is the first of an ending trilogy and Fast X sends us off on two separate cliffhangers, because why not? Fast X goes for broke, swings for the fences, puts the pedal to the metal, and never stops never stopping. If you’re looking for non-stop action, badly placed humor, wacky pacing, and a relentless narrative, look no further. The Fast franchise has captured the minds and hearts of the world and has no limit in sight. The only thing they haven’t done is time travel. Although, Cipher did roll up in a DeLorean…Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
You can find Fast X in every movie theatre, everywhere. Check that out for a good time.
Watching Fast and the Furious? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.
Cover image via Universal Pictures