Fast X

Fast X ★★★½

If the thought had previously crossed your mind that these movies are not exactly sticklers for logic and coherence, let me tell you, you are in for a wild ride with Fast X. The movie was heavily rewritten after production had already begun and it fucking shows. This thing is rough. It feels like it was edited on a chopping block, not under a microscope.

La familia is torn apart early on and the film keeps jumping back and forth between several threads. Letty is stuck with Cipher, who most likely will get the Deckard Shaw redemption treatment in the next one, mark my words. No Face/Off twist though, which I suspected after the first trailer. Tej, Roman, Ramsey and Han are together, but their segment feels half-baked. Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang in particular are severely underutilized. Dom is on his own for the most part. No constipation issues though. Brie Larson pops in for a few scenes as the daughter of Mr. Nobody, who has vanished from the face of the earth. And there's Daniela Melchior as Elena's sister. If you're getting the impression the movie is overcrowded, that's precisely the case. And I haven't even mentioned the cameos yet. They seriously need to start thinning the herd at the beginning of Fast XI.

It is Jason Momoa who is the saving grace of Fast X. There's more cocaine in his performance than in all of South America. I don't know what he was thinking, but I'm glad that he did. Imagine a manic Nic Cage playing the Joker and you get the idea.

The film opens with a partial recreation of the Rio safe heist in order to introduce us to Momoa's character, Dante, son of the late Hernan Reyes. Here we also get a few shots of Paul Walker via reused footage from F5 and possibly unused snippets from the cutting room floor. It was nice seeing him again, but it was also a reminder what the franchise has lost with his untimely demise.

The story and all the major action beats are already in the trailers, so there's no point in talking about it. Except that the action feels rather been-there-done-that. Unfortunately there are no surprises or truly ridiculous shit (and I mean that as a compliment) like the glorious submarine chase or the magnets from previous entries. It's still fun, even if the increasing reliance on CGI is fucking lazy. The contrast between scenes shot for real and the computer-generated stuff is more jarring than ever. Dom barrelling down the dam would be glorious if it wasn't so obviously faked.

Lazy is also some of the writing. The way Dante captures Little B, Dom's son, are you kidding me? Let's go back to the beginning for a sec. There's a scene where Dom is teaching his son how to drift. Yeah, you read that right. Six years ago in F8 he was a baby and now the little fucker is already old enough to drive a car? Of course, he's a Toretto. That scene is very obviously a set-up for a later sequence. Fast forward to when he's captured. When the cannon on Jakob's car (badass vehicle, btw) malfunctions, I expected Little B to take over the wheel and his uncle to climb out and fix the weapon. Set-up/pay-off, you know? But no, the little fucker does get out and is snatched by the villain. I know, I always get on my little soapbox in my FF reviews and preach about never minding the lack of logic in this franchise. But there's not giving a rat's ass about logic and there's being lazy. This is the latter.

Finally, let's talk cameos. Spoilers ahead, you've been warned. There are no less than five (!) cameos. Rita Moreno shows up as Dom's never before mentioned grandmother. Then Helen Mirren's Queenie is back for a single scene. One that is a pretty good example for how Fast X is lacking a smooth flow. Scenes just pop up. Things happens. Onto the next. I strongy suspect that the film was much, much longer, but was cut down for commercial viability. Next we have Jason Statham, who has about three minutes of screentime. His subplot remains unresolved, as it's merely setting things up for the next film. Which of course is by design, because Fast X ends on a massive cliffhanger. More about that later.

That Gal Gadot had filmed a cameo was already confirmed prior to the film's release. So Gisele is back from the dead too. At this point, I say 'Yeah, why not?'. I mean, it's not like she has any other franchises going on anymore. I guess we'll be seeing more of her in the next one, including how she actually didn't die. Maybe Han even knew and it will be revealed that they were together in hiding. Anything's possible!

And now the big one … Hobbs is back! If you think about it, it was bound to happen. It doesn't matter what The Rock has said in the past about never returning. Dude loves his paychecks and after Black Adam bombed and James Gunn apparently made it very clear that he's not planning on using the character anytime soon again, Johnson's superhero career is over before it even really began. So what's he gonna do? Rethink his career? Take some risks? Like that's gonna happen. Do I mind? As long as he's not phoning it in (I'm looking at you, Red Notice), no, I don't. After all, the four films featuring Hobbs are the highlights of the franchise. And unlike Queenie's scene, his cameo actually makes sense narratively.

Now, that cliffhanger. Mind you, we're still in spoiler territory. Fast X is only the first act of a larger story. Nothing gets resolved except for Jakob's arc. I'm mean, I'm glad that they didn't kill off Letty again, but the way he goes out should've been handled better. Since it happens during a high-speed chase, there's no time for emotional impact. Dom is literally moving on before Jakob's car even hits the ground again, while Mia wasn't even there. I don't know, his death just feels inconsequential.

Ramsey, Han, Tej and Roman go down in a plane crash, but of course there's no fucking way all four of them are actually dead. I bet one of the first scenes of the next film will show them getting out of the plane just in time. As for Dom and Little B standing in front of the dam that is about to blow, it's going to take a miracle of preposterous proportions for them to survive. And I'm sure they'll come up with a big, fat roll-my-eyes-into-the-back-of-my-head rescue. I won't accept anything less.

Enough spoiler talk. I've been rambling on for far too long. Almost a dozen paragraphs! I wanted to keep this a short one, actually. Too late now, I guess. One last thing and then I'm done, I promise. At the Fast X premiere in Rome, Vin Diesel practically confirmed that there's going to be not one, but two more movies to close out the Fast Saga. I love this franchise and I still have fun with Fast X, even though it's one of the weaker entries, but if they're going to stretch out the finale - and what else is Universal going to do, it's their only remaining live-action tentpole franchise for now - over two films instead of one, they need to step up their game.

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