"Fast X has an overdose of characters and sequel set up plotting showing that this series probably should have stopped at Furious 7."
BY JACK RANSOM MAY 17, 2023
The 10th *sigh* instalment in the genuinely never-ending Fast & Furious saga. Fast X sees Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family become the targets of the vengeful son (Jason Momoa) of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. He has one mission: to tear Dom’s family apart.
As much I have enjoyed the utter ridiculousness of The Fate of the Furious and F9, I personally think the series peaked with Furious 7 and truly found its perfect ending with Paul Walker’s farewell. However, $1.5 billion is a big chunk of change and with Vin Diesel being at the forefront of pretty much every single creative decision behind the wheel, sequels were inevitable. Honestly, when it comes to Fast X, I significantly felt a profound sense of indifference towards the majority of it.
Make no mistake, Vin wants this to be the Infinity War of the franchise, except from the fact that; the overly convoluted character threads (to tie them into “family”), mixture of both new and old characters that we don’t care about, as well as a ‘seen it all before’ villain revenge storyline, simply don’t resonate anywhere near as effectively and frequently makes this entry’s existence nearly solely set-up based. Which is a shame because the first act is genuinely solid and delivers a belter of a set piece, before falling into a meandering extended middle act, which ends on a cliff-hanger.
The structure and pacing is all over the place. The team quickly is disbanded and scattered across the globe. Dom flies solo. Letty is locked up with Cypher, whilst Han, Tej, Roman and Ramsey country hop, despite being the Earth’s most wanted. The side threads distract and range from uninteresting (Jakob and Dom’s son), pointless and purely there for the sequels (Shaw) and the introduction of Mr. Nobody’s daughter (Brie Larson) and another sibling to a character I won’t spoil (Daniela Melchior) add even more elements for the film to try and balance and focus upon.
I will say there a smattering of great ‘so bad/ridiculous its good’ moments that got plenty a chuckle from me. The production scale is obviously huge and as previously mentioned the first action set piece (a wild, chaotic and fast paced bomb chase through Rome) is a brilliant way to kick the flick into gear. The finale showcase brings the explosive spectacle (though a lot of it you will have seen in the trailers) and the mid-section is populated with the usual decent fisticuffs, with zero tension because every character happens to be a God-tier martial artist. There is frequent video game level CGI on display here, leading to many a weightless action scene and with Louis Leterrier behind the camera there is a noticeable quick cut emphasis, though I did approve of the implementation of drone shots ricocheting across the screen.
This family really has grown to parody levels here and honestly the lengths they go to link plot threads are more unbelievable than some of the spectacle itself. Vin and Rodriguez are as committed as ever, Tyrese and Ludacris’ bickering borders on forced and pretty insufferable this time around. John Cena has charisma for days but is relegated to an uninteresting escort road trip, Charlize Theron is clearly enjoying herself still as cheesy tech villainess Cypher. Jason Momoa is a lot of fun at times and he is clearly having the time of his life hamming it up to 100, blowing raspberries and sassing the Toretto’s, but the schtick does wear a little thin after a while. Newcomers Brie Larson and Daniela Melchior are enthusiastic, but clearly are just introductory roles.
Despite some bombastic set pieces and a charismatic new villain, Fast X has an overdose of characters and sequel set up plotting showing that and this series probably should have stopped at Furious 7. I really don’t know how they can stretch this out even further for two(!) more features.