Fast X

Fast X ★★

"It's like a cult with cars." Look, there's no way a major American studio could spend $340 million on an action movie without me being able to eke some level of enjoyment out of the myriad of explosions and stunts...but even for a Vin apologist like me, someone whose tolerance for the actor's gravely-voiced teddy bear shtick is remarkably high, "Fast X" makes one thing painfully clear: this series is running on fumes.

This is the "Rise of Skywalker" of the Fast franchise, as the half-baked script sees Dom and his crew scattered across the globe, the film cutting to each of them seemingly on a whim for scenes that all too frequently do little to advance the plot and fail to humor or entertain (please tell me why Pete Davidson is here). We are clearly in 'spin the wheels to put off a climax because we've got to milk this into a two-parter' territory. There's also a suspicious lack of vehicular setpieces, with much of the action given over to shootouts and fisticuffs—I always enjoyed when the other installments would sprinkle this type of action in moderation, but "Fast and the Furious" is no "John Wick," and this installment fails to play to the series' car-based strengths. The few drone shots that Leterrier includes here just reminded me that Michael Bay made a way more exciting chase movie last year for a fraction of a "Fast" budget.

I can't sugarcoat it: this feels like the most slow-paced, the most sentimental, and the most 'kids movie' of the franchise; I predict Universal will give Vin enough runway to produce one more installment, but I'll be shocked if the box office results for "Fast X" let him go any farther than that.

On the upside, Jason Mamoa definitely came to play; if his face seems a little puffier these days, it's because he just devoured the scenery. He's a (mild) highlight of the film, even if the script doesn't give him much to do except glower and trigger explosions.

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