“Fast X”

Writing a review for a sequel like “Fast X” feels pretty pointless. It’s the type of adrenaline-fueled blockbuster that rabid fans will eagerly shell out money to see and want to love, while snobby critics will begrudgingly watch with a chip on their shoulder combined with a predetermined disdain for whatever will unfold. I’m a big fan of the series, even when it veered away from fast cars and leaned into the street superhero action angle. Most moviegoers would expect “Fast X” to be a film that’s packed with big, loud, dumb fun. It’s big and loud (and certainly dumb), but there admittedly is a slight shortage of fun.

The plot is so stupid, but it builds on the best film of the franchise, “Fast Five.” If you don’t remember the movie, don’t worry: the first 15 minutes are a rehash of everything that happened. Even newbies will be up to speed quickly. The film focuses on Dante (Jason Momoa), a formidable foe who is fueled by revenge. He’s ready for blood, and Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his “family” are squarely in his sights. This installment takes the crew from Rome to Rio de Janeiro and beyond, with explosions, car chases, fist fights, and lots of faces from the past.

The story isn’t what most came for anyway, and the pacing slows under the weight of Diesel growling about “family” and “faith.” The jokes aren’t really funny either, and Louis Leterrier‘s direction is lacking. The threadbare writing is awful. The CGI looks shoddy. The situations our heroes are put in are so far-fetched and ridiculous that it makes Tej (Ludacris) and Roman’s (Tyrese Gibson) trip into space in “F9” seem like no big deal. In other words, there is a lot to dislike about this movie — but there’s also plenty to enjoy.

The stunt driving is absolutely spectacular, as are the majority of the action sequences. For every misstep, there’s an equally thrilling chase (like a bomb tearing through the streets of Rome). The cast mostly gives performances that are better than expected. The real MVP here is Momoa, who creates a truly terrifying character in Dante, a big screen villain for the ages. Obviously having fun with the role, Momoa completely steals and runs away with the movie. He is absolutely terrific.

The film is packed with all the fan favorite characters and a few new added for good measure (although Brie Larson as a CIA agent and Leo Abelo Perry as Dom’s son don’t bring that much to the table). Diehards will be pleased to see Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Jakob (John Cena), Han (Sung Kang), Queenie (Helen Mirren), and baddies Shaw (Jason Statham) and Cipher (Charlize Theron).

Although I’m a fan of all things “Fast and Furious,” it’s becoming increasingly difficult to overlook the fact that each film seems to become even more dependent on over-the-top silliness. “Fast X” feels like it’s headed toward the end of the road, a dead end from which the series will never return. But if you’re searching for a bit of mindless entertainment, it’s also a great way to kick off the start of the summer movie season.

By: Louisa Moore

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