Star Rating:

Fast X

Director: Louis Leterrier

Actors: Vin Diesel, Jordana Brewster, Jason Momoa, Tyrese Gibson, John Cena, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez

Release Date: Friday 19th May 2023

Genre(s): Action, Adventure

Running time: 141 minutes

Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) has come out of hiding in the wake of his father's death several years ago in Rio de Janeiro. His plan is to wipe out Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), his brother Jakob (John Cena) and his team (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang) by utilising the God's Eye tracking software stolen from the Agency, now led by Ames (Alan Ritchson)...

Ten movies in, it's not hard to see use car-related puns to talk about how the 'Fast and Furious' franchise is running out of fuel or that the wheels are starting to come off, or that the brakes need to be pumped, or that it will probably fail an NCT test (if it could get one with these waiting times). There's very little left for 'Fast X' to do when each movie has outdone the last one. For example, 'Fast 8' had the Rock punch a submarine torpedo. The same movie had a supercar drive from one skyscraper in mid-air to another. For a movie that began as a 'Point Break' rip-off and has expanded with the cast of characters it has now, it's impressive how far it's gone, how silly it's gotten, and how many seemingly respectable actors have gotten caught up in the silliness.

This movie boasts no less than four Oscar winners in fairly substantial roles, including screen legends Rita Moreno as Vin Diesel's granny, and Helen Mirren as Jason Statham's mother. There are cameos aplenty, including some familiar faces from previous movies back to wave at the camera before heading off. Yet, it rattles through them all like it's the last of a soap opera because that's essentially what the 'Fast & Furious' franchise has become - a soap opera with expensive stunts. There's even been a main character that had amnesia and turned evil for a period of time.

The plot for 'Fast X' is no less of a soap opera. Jason Momoa plays the son of Joaquim de Almeida, the big bad from 'Fast Five' who was pancaked by a flying car in the physics-defying chase through Rio de Janeiro with a giant vault attached to two Dodge Chargers. Momoa plays Dante Reyes with about as much restraint and subtlety as you'd expect from a character that sounds like he's walked off the set of 'Falcon Crest' circa 1987. Far and away, Momoa is the best thing about this movie and it reminds us that he's probably better playing a villain, or at least an anti-hero, than he is anything else.

Where 'Fast X' should excel is in its stunts. Hiring Louis Letterier, he of 'The Transporter' fame, should have brought a kind of kinetic energy that's slowly ebbed away from the franchise. Instead, Letterier seems content to keep the action as before - lots of CGI cars, lots of fancy locales being trashed by CGI cars, and those ridiculous camera moves across speeding cars that just completely take out of it. 'Fast X' doesn't shy away from defying the laws of gravity, human physiology (somebody gets shot in this and walks it off, pretty much) and physics. Still, if audiences wanted to see actors doing all this, they could watch a comic-book movie. When you look at 'John Wick: Chapter 4' or the upcoming 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning', you see that action cinema can be done better - thoughtfully, artistically, and convincingly.

Instead, 'Fast X' just drives at full revs, burning out the engine entirely and leaving audiences trying to catch a glimpse of it all as it whizzes past us. It's not without some fun moments, and when the action switches to one-on-one without a car, there are some well-choreographed punch-ups - one of them including a house effectively being destroyed from the inside out. Instead, this and a couple of other standout moments are squeezed into a movie that's already rammed with two hours and twenty minutes of constant and, ultimately, exhausting car-crash action that rings hollow.