‘Fast X’ is utterly ridiculous and preposterous – Review

Fast X, also known as Fast 10, is the 11th movie in the Fast & Furious franchise. It stars all the usual members of the Dom Toretto extended familia, including Vin Diesel as Mr. Toretto himself and newcomer Jason Momoa as the bold and brash villain Dante, who is undoubtedly the high point of this movie. This movie is the epitome of smooth brain cinema.

Now, I think that a lot of people out there will knock on these movies for a myriad of reasons, including the abandonment of physics-based reality and general storytelling and filmmaking convention. But I think they’re missing the point. Yeah, this movie is bad and a preposterous mess. But these movies transcend any type of real criticism. You have to accept them on their own terms. And despite the absolutely absurd flaws, “Fast X” is one of the most entertaining movie-watching experiences I’ve had all year.

(clockwise, from left) Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Han (Sung Kang), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Dom (Vin Diesel), Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), Abuelita (Rita Moreno), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, back to camera) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson, back to camera) in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

I can’t write a review about how and why I think that this movie is “good,” but I can tell you that I had a smile on my face the entire time. So, good or bad, something in between—I’m not sure exactly what this is. All I know is I saw a giant bomb roll through the streets of Rome, and I cackled in delight as our heroes raced to prevent destruction as Dom ramps onto a crane to hit the bomb out of the way of the Vatican.

This movie is completely ridiculous and nonsensical, but what more can you ask for? Sure, you can struggle to remember specific details or how certain characters relate to each other, or how certain conflicts intertwine. At the end of the day, you’re not expected to do anything more than that. There are way too many characters and subplots, but as soon as you start to question what is even happening, you’re hit with another insane action sequence.

Fast X is certainly a movie, presumably shot and filmed with actors. We bounce from LA, Rome, and Rio de Janeiro, to London, Portugal, and Antarctica. Despite a myriad of production delays and behind-the-scenes drama, it is finally out in theaters. It’s a fun movie, a good time. But is it a good movie? No, absolutely not. And that’s okay. Do I know that Taco Bell is bad for me? Sure. Will I still eat it? Yeah!

(from left) Dom (Vin Diesel) and Isabel (Daniela Melchior) in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

These movies have ditched all sense of reality and any ties to the real world and the physical laws of nature. We abandoned that a long time ago. Now, this one is a little bit different because we’re starting to feel like it’s the end of the story in some way, but we’re at a point where the snake is starting to eat its own tail.

The movie references past entries in the series, and I think that there was a time when the charm of the Fast & Furious franchise was that it was not in on the joke and so sure of its own mythology. It wasn’t trying to wink at the audience. But here, there’s a bit too much winking at the camera and calling out all the in-jokes that everyone will recognize from previous movies. It’s fun, but I’m not sure that quite works.

When you sit in the theater and watch it, knowing it’s a big stupid dumb bad movie, you’re going to have a good time. You’ll enjoy the car chases and the absolutely ridiculous things that happen, from a giant flaming spherical bomb rolling through the streets of Rome to Don Toretto driving down the side of the Hoover Dam to escape an explosion, nitrous flowing through his veins.

If you’re in for the ride, you’re in for the ride, and you’re going to have a good time. The high point of this movie is Jason Momoa as Dante, who is pretty unhinged, having a great time chewing up the scenery and being super crazy and unpredictable, like a version of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight.

In many ways, this movie pulls from other better movies. It wants to be Infinity War so badly to the point where it just ends abruptly in the middle of its action climax.

Vin Diesel as Dom in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

One thing that I find fascinating about this movie aside from how crazy its action sequences are is the increasing spiritual motifs. It seems like they’re bringing the pseudo-Christian undertones to the forefront. Dom Toretto wears a cross necklace, one of his signature cartoon man items, and it was a bigger part of the plot than usual.

This is starting to resemble something like Thanos’ Infinity Stones, building artifacts into its mythology. I’m not sure where it’s going, but it’s impossible to ignore the numerous instances of dialogue phrases that include words such as faith, martyr, saint, and other religious terminology. It makes me curious and slightly worried about the direction it’s taking. Is Dom really going to race against Death itself? It also makes me think about Paul Walker, the previous co-star of this franchise who has passed away, and how the franchise keeps bringing everyone back from the dead except for him (even though his character, Brian, is still alive, which makes total sense).

Time and time again, we see characters that were thought to be dead inexplicably come back. So, when characters die in this film, we know they’ll miraculously return in the next one. And so the cycle continues.

Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.

As I write this review, I’m struggling to remember much about what happens in this movie beyond the key action sequences. However, I do remember enjoying it in the theater. Maybe it knocked off a couple IQ points. These movies are not incredibly memorable overall, but there are moments like the one with the magnets (F9), the submarine (Fate of the Furious), and the really long airplane runway (Fast and Furious 6) that stick with you. There’s not much here that really sticks in the brain aside from Momoa’s wacko performance and Vin Diesel pursing his lips really tight together.

You can tell a lot about this movie from how it starts, essentially replaying Fast Five, the best Fast & Furious movie. It’s a cheap shot, but it works to evoke the highest highs of the entire saga. However, I don’t think this movie is on the same level, and I don’t think the franchise exists in the same reality anymore. We’ve long left that stratosphere behind. But if they’re going to keep making these movies and people are going to keep watching them, it’s okay to embrace the stupidity. Just sit back with an ice-cold Corona in hand and enjoy the show.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

3 flying kayaks out 5

Fast X is now playing theaters.

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