Fast X movie review: the franchise may be running on fumes but it still gets the pulse racing
Define “fast”. Turns out the movie that was billed as “the end of the road” for this car-crazy franchise, may be the start of a trilogy (with the twelfth instalment to be released in 2025). How much slower could an exit be?
Still, it’s hard to stay mad at an ensemble that now includes Jason Momoa, Rita Moreno and cute 10 year-old, Leo Abelo Perry. Against all the odds, the ridiculously expensive Fast X (reportedly $340m) is both a bloated swizz and a cheeky triumph.
Plot-wise, logic has always been a missing ingredient in the Fast franchise. And it’s true Vin Diesel’s hoodlum-turned-hero, Dom Toretto, looks the same whether seething or sad. That’s right: Dom’s as expressive as a bucket of drying cement. But no biggie. Where this series is concerned, it was ever thus.
Back in 2011’s Fast Five, Dom and his crew stole from and killed a Brazilian drug-lord, Hernan Reyes. All these years later, Hernan’s miffed son, Dante (Momoa), has finally got his act together and revenge is on his mind.
With friends in high places, Dante is the antithesis of the loyal, family-obsessed, still-lives-in-the-old-neighbourhood Dom. When not bantering with corpses (a truly macabre sequence), Dante is purring that Dom is “so predictable... thinking everyone will end up on your side”. It’s a meta-moment: Dom’s foes really do have a habit of turning into allies; Dante is all but winking at the camera. Throw in the fact that Momoa is as larky as Harry Styles (it feels quite often like he’s ad-libbing) and the result is blockbuster bliss.
The action is fine. In Rome, a big, flaming bomb rolls hither and thither. In Portugal, Dom drives down a dam. In F9, though, Dom’s bickering buddies took a Pontiac Fiero into outer space. Nothing here can compete with that set-piece.
Ultimately, these films about the atmosphere created by producer/star Diesel. The 55-year-old’s loyalty to original cast members, particularly Michelle Rodriguez and Sung Kang, and his willingness to let newbies do their own thing (Moreno and Perry are delightful as Dom’s granny and son), ensure the tribulations of Dom and his extended family really matter.
Bar the odd bit of body-shaming, Fast X continues to be inclusive in a way that no Hollywood algorithm could have predicted.
The franchise may be running on fumes. I confess, though, I don’t want it to stop. If Brie Larson has more to do in XI, I’ll probably give it 10 out of 10.
141mins, cert 12A