Fast X (2023) Movie Review: When The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001, it quickly became a cult classic because it was ahead of its time. It was an action film about a niche culture that hadn’t previously got much attention from the mainstream, but all of a sudden, we all knew about tuner culture, drifting, and underground racing because of it.

As time has gone on, the franchise has gradually become more and more removed from its original premise in favor of more generic action plot drivers, usual heists with a vague idea that Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is some kind of hero. The problem with Fast X is that we’re at a point in this universe when it’s so difficult to know what’s impressive and what isn’t that we have to be told over and over again.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pushing the boundaries of reality for the sake of an action cinema experience, but we’re at a point where we’ve seen these characters drive – yes, drive – to space. When that’s possible, it naturally lessens the impact of a scene where Dom has to show his ingenuity by pushing the limits of what his car is capable of because, as far as we’re aware, it’s capable of anything.

The way that Fast X gets around that problem is by creating another. Multiple characters reference how great he is with astonishing regularity. His son, Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), is the first off the mark with a line about how his dad is never scared, something that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) appears contractually obliged to repeat not long after.

There can be no doubt of what we’re supposed to think of Dom by the time we meet his brother Jakob – played by John Cena playing John Cena. He even executes an Attitude Adjustment within a couple of minutes of showing up. But still, without keeping an exact record, an estimated 50% (at least) of Jakob’s dialogue is geared towards explaining how big a shadow his brother has cast and how impossible it is to live up to him.

What it all amounts to is the feeling of a party political broadcast that outstays its welcome rather than what’s supposed to be the big crescendo at the end of the most successful original franchise of this century so far. There are plenty of ways to make a character come across as a great guy without having to be explicitly told, but Fast X repeatedly chooses the easy option.

It makes it difficult to follow on an emotional level because there are so many tonal whiplash moments – without a second of transition, we go from melodramatic hallmark moments asserting who the good guy is, and then suddenly big action set-pieces that struggle because a standard that physics doesn’t matter very much has already been set.

Fast X (2023) Movie Review
Jason Momoa as Villain in Fast X (2023)

Fans of the 1960s Batman TV show will raise a smile at a part that calls back to the famous “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” sequence; it’s just unclear whether Fast X means to or not. There’s clearly a weight of pressure associated with this being the big tenth film that’s meant to set in action the events that will ultimately end it all, and in this case, it works to its detriment.

A convoluted set of circumstances sees them end up in Rome, where the villain, played by Jason Momoa, seems to be driven only by bloodlust and sociopathic tendencies. In what can only be described as a few minutes of accidental funniness, the crew finds themselves in possession of a globular 10 ft tall remote-control bomb that he’s directing toward the Vatican.

Their plan to disarm it involves crashing into it and then pursuing it (in a car) down a set of historical landmark stairs while it rages through the city on fire. It causes a lot of damage, obviously, the townsfolk are all very scared, and then it eventually blows up within spitting distance of its intended target. This is probably the worst possible outcome, or at least it would be if the bomb actually did much damage. Compared to how much havoc the plan to disarm it caused, the eventual explosion would have come as a sweet relief.

What follows, again, is a series of events carried by dialogue and not much else. We’re told that Dom is now number one on the world’s most wanted list because his actions have been interpreted as those of a terrorist, with authorities understandably believing that he was the one behind the bomb all along.

Except he just carries on leading a free life without ever seeming to pay attention to the idea that the whole world now thinks he’s just leveled a city and then triggered a modest explosion outside the Vatican on purpose. He even manages to travel to Brazil stress-free to have a street race with the person who actually did do all of that on purpose, as if that’s a perfectly reasonable way to settle a problem of that magnitude.

Among all of the nonsense, there’s a feeling that fans of the franchise who have been able to suspend their disbelief for the sake of entertainment in the past may be able to again. There are flashes of self-awareness that garner a slither of goodwill, it’s just that the Fast & Furious series may have already gone on a bit too long.

Related to Fast X (2023): All Fast And Furious Movies Ranked, According To Family Values

Fast X (2023) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
Fast X (2023) Cast: Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Jason Statham, Helen Mirren, Brie Larson, and Charlize Theron
Where to watch Fast X

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