While the tenth installment in the blockbuster action franchise capitalizes on being over-the-top in terms of action and Jason Momoa's superb performance, there's little to no energy found here.
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There's no telling where the “Fast and the Furious franchise, aka “The Fast Saga,” will go from here two years after the last chapter, “F9.” Watching this long-running action series hit a milestone in which the latest installment, “Fast X,” is the tenth film (11th overall if you consider the spin-off “Hobbs & Shaw”) is incredible. Given that it began as a goofy story about street racers before shifting to the characters becoming secret agents and overcoming the most dangerous challenges, it's no surprise that it's garnered a cult following among diehard fans and has become a global sensation for Universal. And most importantly, it’s all about family.
In what’s known as the beginning of the end of this series, the results are nothing more than a letdown that probably won’t satisfy most to save this franchise.
In this, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is living the quiet life in Los Angeles with his wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and raising their son Brian “Little B” (Leo Abelo Perry), along with being with his makeshift family he’d been caring for after their various adventures. His days of embarking on these missions appear to end, until they discover they are being pursued by a mystery man named Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the son of Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. Dom and his crew pulled off a successful heist in Rio de Janeiro in 2011, taking a bank vault containing $100 million.
Then one night, Cyberterroist Cipher (Charlize Theron with a better hairstyle) arrives at Dom’s house beaten up to warn him they’re in danger. He took his family, and now Dante is on his way to take revenge against Dom by destroying everything he cherishes, which includes the people he loves.
Not everyone goes into one of these films expecting high-brow masterpieces. This franchise is frequently mocked for how insane it can grow with every new installment and is not to be taken seriously. After watching the surprisingly great Fast Five, I began to appreciate them. However, after the seventh, it began losing steam for the next six years. “F9” was one of the more disappointing efforts I hoped had been better. Is it fair to say it’s better than the last? For all purposes? Sure, but it doesn’t make “Fast X” one of the better films in the franchise.
After director Justin Lin left the series due to creative differences (but still credited as a screenwriter with Dan Mazeau) and was replaced by director Louis Leterrier of “The Incredible Hulk” and “Now You See Me” fame to help get this back on track, the anticipation for one of this summer's biggest sequels was lacking. If you’ve been ride or die with the past sequels, this will please you No matter how stupid it has become. This provides the fast cars, chases, and constant mention of “family” to please them in what I can only describe as a soapy superhero series on steroids.
In that case, the absurdity wasn't enough to keep the feeling of thriving from the past alive. This is one of the few "Fast" films that are a little tedious to watch for 140 minutes because everything mixes into a sequel that isn't only noisy and dumb but isn't anything too unique.
What piqued my interest the most was how this would relate to the events of "Fast Five" and connect them here, pitting Dom against a challenge he's not sure he can defeat this lunatic on his own. Without being as dramatic as the previous two, this tries for a very tangled plot with twists and turns that no longer hold back the surprises.
Subplots that should be more vital than they are begin to weigh the film down. The crew is so dispersed and hopping worldwide that keeping up with them is pointless. We see Dom trying to stop Dante while Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han (Sung Kang), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) go on their own or little Brian going on a road trip under the protection of Dom’s brother Jakob (John Cena). Why not have them together? And because of that, you don’t feel like anybody stands out.
The regulars' performances remained consistent without any changes to the personality of the roles, as they continued to have more and more characters. Seeing Vin Diesel as Dom again made me forget how charming he was in the original. Now, when all he does is his dramatic eyes and gets through his lines, this sequel wasn't one of his best. There's ample time to dedicate to that tedious Roman and Tej bickering that comes with being the series' comedic duo. And John Cena was better in this one than in the last, even though he's a character who's gone from villain to cool uncle overnight.
The one and only reason why people will want to see“Fast X”: Jason Momoa. From what I saw in the trailer, he appeared to be the best villain we'd seen so far, and I can confirm that this is correct. Momoa was fantastic! Seeing him portray this campy, flamboyant, and menacing dude on the path of vengeance against Dom was a lot of joy. He believes he is the only person who is fully aware of what he is a part of in every scene he is in and welcomes it, especially when he makes the lousy writing quite funny at times. I was eagerly anticipating the return of the Joker-style villain on-screen. I'm curious why it took him over a decade to take down Dom eventually. This role won't work for everyone who believes he's from a different movie, but kudos to Momoa for providing the excitement that no one else did.
Everyone else had nothing to do. This goes out of its way to waste returning characters, such as Jordana Brewster's Mia and, in particular, Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. Brie Larson's Tess, Alan Ritchson's Aimes, and Daniela Melchior's Isabel were good series newbies. Still, I wish this had given better material to work with rather than possibly being related to someone we know because of family (of course). Also, isn’t it weird this sequel contains not one but four Oscar-winning actresses (Larson, Theron, Helen Mirren, and Rita Moreno)?
At the very least, Leterrier was wise enough to keep everything on Earth grounded. Nothing was more of a jumping-the-shark moment than they really launched an automobile into space. Still, the set pieces in “Fast X” look cool enough, but Leterrier's direction didn't bring much excitement to them because it's the same old vehicles crashing into each other and exploding while knowing how stupid they are when defying logic. The earliest sequence goes all out in Rome, where Dante releases this massive bomb and heads on a collision course to strike the Vatican. Not the craziest thing to happen in this movie, but we’re at a point where I don’t believe there are any stakes and emotions found since there’s a high chance anybody will survive in this universe, even a child.
I don't blame anyone who has a good time while watching this. After all, this is a blockbuster intended to gratify fans rather than critics. “Fast X,” on the other hand, I expected to be in the same vein as “Fast Five” through “Furious 7.” Even though I know these aren't the sharpest movies out there, the connection is starting to lose me.
The decision to make this a two-part finale makes sense because it will offer fans what they want, with the next installment set to be released in 2025. Or is it the start of a new trilogy? If accurate, there could be a three-part finale that no one was asking for. But if you enjoy “Fast & Furious,” you'll probably have a fantastic time. This did not have me on the edge of my seat as much as I had planned. And you can guarantee this ends on a cliffhanger, leaving me unsure about where this will go in part two. There's also a mid-credit scene that would have been a great surprise if news outlets hadn't spoiled it.
Overall, “Fast X” knows what it is and runs with it. But it leads to another underwhelming sequel, demonstrating that the high-octane franchise needs more steam. This goes all out on its ridiculous action set pieces and Momoa’s having a ball playing a great villain. But the energy has vanished at this point.