The Fast & Furious family reached the final frontier when it sent Tej and Roman to literal space in F9. So where does the franchise go from there when it’s been all over the world and beyond? The answer is not very far. With Fast X, the franchise is reaching the end of the road with it acting as the starting flag for a now trilogy of films to close out the main storyline. As Dom’s ever growing family continues to get bigger and bigger, their adventures have also grown to exponentially ridiculous proportions. That all reaches a tipping point in Fast X. The film is a buffet of action set pieces dense in adrenaline but lacking in any real substance. Sure, you’ll get a quick sugar rush from it all, but the crash that comes afterwards comes equally fast and furious and will leave you exhausted.
Dom is pushed to the limit when Dante Reyes, the son of drug lord Hernan Reyes who had his vault ripped straight from the building in Fast Five by Dom and his crew, emerges from the shadows and enacts revenge against his family. Dante blames Dom for the death of his father, and plans to make him suffer as he takes everything and everyone from him.
10 films deep and the Fast & Furious franchise continues to get more and more complex as it rewrites old stories to fit in new characters and motivations. This time it focuses on Fast Five to introduce Dante Reyes, played brilliantly by Jason Momoa. Fast X opens with a replay of scenes from the film’s vault heist with new footage featuring Dante spliced in. It’s interesting to see because Dom and Brian tethering a massive bank vault to their cars and speeding through the street of Rio de Janeiro is arguably when the franchise went off the rails and the street racer thieves first became superheroes. From there, the film pretty much follows the same action format as the previous entries in the franchise; new villain, same story.
I’ll start with the good; Jason Momoa. Dante Reyes is one of the most exciting characters to be added to the Fast & Furious franchise. He is outrageously over-the-top, even by Fast standards, and Momoa plays him with a devilish charm and excitement that feels lacking elsewhere in the film. He’s constantly taunting Dom with one-liners while taking out his crew one by one or causing destruction all over Rome. He’s the kind of guy who will casually paint a guy’s toenails after brutally murdering someone sitting right next to him. There’s a sadistic glee to Dante, and no one does it better than Momoa. He’s smart, successful at getting to Dom, and flashy on every level. Jason Momoa is having fun with the role, unlike everyone else who looks like they’re exhausted and out of gas as they’re trying to reach the finish line.
Fast X struggles because the franchise has reached its breaking point. The family has gotten too big for its own good. A lot of that has to do with the fact that Vin Diesel refuses to let any moment leave a lasting impression. These characters are now superheroes who are practically invulnerable to anything and everything. It was entertaining for a while, but now it has lost all meaning. What’s the point of someone’s death when they’re likely to return alive in a film or two down the road? Dom and his family are flying through the streets, blowing up cities, and doing all of these outrageous stunts, but there is no tension at all because everyone is invincible.
While cool to watch, the moment you start to think about anything the walls start crumbling. It’s especially awkward when they keep mentioning Brian O’Conner, who is alive in the franchise but “retired” due to Paul Walker’s tragic death. It’s strange to have all these big scenes without his character and they’re trying to explain where he is. And because none of the decisions are finite and everyone comes back for “one more ride” Fast X is overburdened with trying to fit too much stuff into too little story. Everyone is spread too thin in the end.
There is a lot going on in Fast X. For the majority of the film, Dom and his crew are all off doing their own thing trying to get to Dante. Dom sets out to Rio in order to learn more about his new adversary. Tej, Roman, Ramsey, and Han lay low and hack their way back after being set up by Dante. Dom’s brother Jakob returns to protect his nephew Brian. Meanwhile everyone is on the run from the Agency, now led by Aimes after Mr. Nobody’s disappearance. There are so many storylines going on all at once, and Fast X does a poor job at making you care about any of them. Yes, it’s cool to see characters like Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw return but there’s no substance to it when they have little to do. There are only so many balls you can juggle before gravity makes them all come crashing down. The Fast franchise continues to keep adding more and more balls to the franchise, and it’s becoming overwhelming.
Sometimes it is necessary to cut family out of your life. It’s time for the Fast & Furious franchise to do so. The family has become too big for its own good. While the action has never big bigger, the stakes have never felt lower. Jason Momoa is the best thing about Fast X and quite possibly the entire franchise. He is that entertaining. It’s a shame that can’t be said about the rest of the film. Fast X struggles to keep control as it races towards the finish line. All good things must come to an end, and it’s time for the Fast & Furious franchise to hit the garage before it ends up in the scrap yard.
The film is a buffet of action set pieces dense in adrenaline but lacking in any real substance. Sure, you’ll get a quick sugar rush from it all, but the crash that comes afterwards comes equally fast and furious and will leave you exhausted.