Fast X review (2023)

Fast X is yet another example of how utterly ridiculous this franchise has gotten. This latest installment continues to abandon any sense of realism. Sure, it could be entertaining at times and be some sort of a mental escape from reality, but it’s hard to take any of it seriously with the outlandish effects and action sequences, childlike and corny dialogue/writing, and the lack of stakes.

I’ve been critical of the Fast and Furious franchise for years now. I don’t want to sound hypocritical because I’m a part of the problem. I still go and see these movies knowing full well how ridiculous each new entry is going to be. But, I’ve seen all of them at this point and with only one (or two) more left in this entire series, at least that’s what Vin Diesel says, I might as well see the whole thing through and see where it all ends up. Don’t get me wrong, it still has plenty of entertainment value to offer in terms of it being an overwhelming spectacle of absolute madness, and if you can accept it for what it is and realize this series doesn’t really offer anything meaningful or thought-provoking, then I’m sure these films, especially this new one, are right up your alley. As for me, I’m starting to get a bit tired of it all. I’ve seen plenty of action movies where they offer fantastic action sequences, but there are also characters you care about, the stakes matter, and the story feels pivotal to the entire film, not just an afterthought. Unfortunately, at least the last few films, this series isn’t checking any of those boxes.

If I’m being honest, Fast X‘s only redeemable quality is Jason Momoa’s bonkers and over-the-top performance as Dante Reyes. I’m not saying I’m a huge fan of it, but I can’t deny the amount of layers and craziness he brings to this role. He’s ruthless, reckless, flamboyant, and comical all at once and I can’t deny it was fun to watch him do his thing since, as a viewer, you weren’t entirely sure what he was going to do next. I can say that I did enjoy John Cena as Jakob as well, even though it seemed like a complete 180 compared to his previous portrayal of the character. This aspect didn’t make much sense to me, but nothing in this franchise really does, so it is what it is, I suppose. Lastly, there’s Pete Davidson’s role, which I believe was the best part of the movie since the scene with him made me laugh quite a bit. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the rest of the characters. Everyone else is their typical one-note selves who never really have anything interesting to say or any new elements to further flesh out their respective characters. Diesel’s Dominic Toretto is the brute who has seemingly converted into a superhero as this series has progressed. The things this man is able to do is mind-boggling and absolutely ridiculous. From the very beginning, he’s performing certain car stunts that are, literally, unbelievable. I wish I can point out a specific one, but all of them are bafflingly insane. There’s one scene in particular where he deadlifts a car with one arm and completely turns it in a different direction because all of a sudden, he’s Ben Grimm.

Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty is the same character, as expected. Tyrese Gibson’s Roman and Ludacris’ Tej are still roasting each other, which is nothing new, Nathalie Emmanuel’s Ramsey is doing her tech thing, Jordana Brewster’s Mia is a martial arts fighter now, I guess, and Sung Kang’s Han isn’t given enough to do, so there’s that. Everyone else is either a newcomer who was shoehorned into an already existing story from previous films, because of course, or returning characters whose roles don’t feel necessary to the overall plot. Don’t even get me started on those supposed characters who are dead, but not really.

I think this is another massive flaw with this series. There seems to be no stakes involved in any of the creative elements and the character deaths. Unless I’m missing something, almost every character who has died isn’t really dead after all, and I say “almost” just to keep you on your toes and avoid spoilers. But on a serious note, nothing is ever set in stone in the Fast and Furious series. Whenever a new and relatively important character does end being killed off, as a viewer, you’re sort of conditioned to believe they’ll eventually come back. As of right now, I’m convinced everyone who died in this movie isn’t really dead, and I’ll continue to believe that until I’m proven otherwise by yet another revelation (surprise, they ain’t dead) in the next film. I get it’s cool to see some of these characters make a comeback, but at the same time, it feels a bit cheap and forced. In some ways, they’re all disposable, but at the same time, disposable characters don’t necessarily matter if they can all be resurrected anyway.

Speaking more on the insanity, the action-packed sequences are getting overwhelming at this point. Fast Five had the highway vault scene, but other than that craziness, all the other scenes seemed a bit believable and possible. Plus, Fast Five is simply awesome, and I will die on the hill that it’s the best entry the franchise has produced. Since then though, it has gotten increasingly more unrealistic and borderline supernatural. Dom flying from one high way to the other and landing on another car with a scratch or collapsing garages with a foot stomp, The Rock’s Hobbs shooting a grenade out of the sky from such a far distance with a magnum, and all the other vehicular mayhem, you would think it can’t get any crazier, but Fast X goes ahead and proves you wrong. From beginning to end, I was almost in disbelief with everything going on. I was literally shaking my head at certain points. Sure, you’re on the edge of your seat, and I can’t deny I laughed at certain things happening because it was enjoyable, but the ridiculousness of it all takes a toll on you towards the end. I mean, what happened to the foundation this series was established on, which is racing cars? I’m not sure how it reached this point, but here we are, and there’s no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. I, for one, wouldn’t mind a return to some of the simplicity of the first movie which made fans love it in the first place. There needs to be a balance, and I don’t think this series has been able to find it.

Most viewers will have a good time with Fast X as long as they can accept it for what it is. It’s a bonkers experience from beginning to end, and if you shut your mind off and bask in the madness, I’m sure it’ll be an entertaining ride. However, if you’re looking for something profoundly inspirational and grounded, this definitely isn’t the film for you. Of course, this isn’t what this series is trying to be, but as mentioned, action films can be exhilarating while also delivering memorable character moments and coherent stories. With two films left, I don’t think this series will ever do that again, though.

Score: 6.8/10


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