Fast X is easily one of the best saga for being so absurd and knowing it.
Published on May 24, 2023
Rating 4.5 /5
After two sequels that felt par for the course, Fast X is a nitro boost for the Fast & Furious saga. Rather than keep the tongue firmly in cheek, this film realizes what type of beast this franchise has become. It’s no longer the gritty street racing action picture it started as 23 years ago. It’s now an over-the-top bonanza of cars doing ridiculous stuff amid typical terrorist plots. That’s the fun nature that Fast X leans into the complex.
The story remains the same but with more enormous stakes this time. Dom (Vin Diesel) has to protect his ever-expanding family when another terrorist targets the world, and his group of racers turns good-natured thieves. This time, although both appear in this film, he’s not dealing with the sneering Shaw (Jason Statham) or the cold-as-ice Cipher (Charlize Theron). The real threat this time is Dante, played up with great exuberance by Jason Momoa. Dante is the son of the crime boss from Fast Five and has his reasons for revenge. He wants Dom to suffer as he did and burn the world. And he’ll do a little dance while he delights in the chaos.
This is the longest Fast & Furious film, but it also uses its time well enough by giving the characters plenty of time to shine. The globetrotting task finds Dom’s racing family split up across the planet as they try to avoid being brought in by the mysterious Agency or killed by Dante’s goons. Michelle Rodriguez, as Dom’s girl Letty, owns her scenes of intense fist fights with Charlize Theron. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris continue to shine with their chemistry as the mismatched comedic forces of Roman and Tej. Nathalie Emmanuel, as Ramsey, acts as the perfect mediator for the two of them, and Han (Sung Kang) tags along for some much-needed jabs amid snacking. As Dom’s reunited brother Jakob, John Cena gets in some quality time with Dom’s son, which is pretty adorable.
Of course, the biggest draw of these films is the ridiculously absurd action scenes, and Fast X doesn’t disappoint in this regard. The first big set piece in Rom features Dom and company trying to stop a giant bomb from rolling into the Vatican, looking like a cross between a pinball game with shades of 1960s Batman silliness. The sequence features Dom pulling off impossible stunts, such as knocking the bomb around traffic and making a mid-air swipe of a crane to save most of the city. Dante’s plan is packed with remote-controlled cars, exploding trucks, perfectly placed bombs, and helicopters that shoot harpoons. All the while, Momoa cackles with overpowering energy that most actors save for comic book villains.
What’s most fascinating about this entry is how it uses so many characters well and adds more to the mix. Alan Ritchson makes for a tremendous straight-faced rival of Dom as Aimes, the leader of the secretly sinister Agency. Also working at the agency is the turncoat agent Tess, played slyly by Brie Larson, who becomes notable for her shoes that are perfect for scratching up cars and faces. There are also a few surprise cameos in this entry more than others, though that might not be much of a surprise considering how many characters have come back out of the shadows of death in previous films.
Fast X is easily one of the best saga for being so absurd and knowing it. While it does lean in heavier to its ridiculousness, the film also maintains its higher stakes and great thrills of chases that defy all laws of physics. It also ends on the best cliffhanger that ensures audiences will return for the next installment. While most movies that try this approach are usually annoying for being so sure of a return, there’s so much fun in Fast X that it ends the picture on a high note for the characters being at their lowest, sure to draw comparissons to Infinity War or The Empire Strikes Back.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.