Despite Diesel and an Impressive Cast “Fast X” Is Running Out of Gas
Synopsis: Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jason Mamoa
Back in 2001, The Fast and the Furious appeared on the scene, and we were introduced to the world of street racing and a cast of friends, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (the late Paul Walker), who took pleasure in driving fast cars.
Dom and his crew pulled off heists, and O’Conner, a police officer, went undercover to take them down. One thing led to another, and the two became good friends.
The film was successful, so we know what that means — sequel, or shall we say sequels. Over twenty years later, the tenth installment has been released. Fast X shows the growth of the franchise. Over these last nine films, we have seen this group stop the end of the world, partner with the CIA, and be the heroes we need, all while driving cars really, really fast.
At this point, you might be hard-pressed to tell one installment from another, but as the franchise's success grows, so do the stunts or, more specifically, the CGI.
Fast X starts by bringing us back to a previous installment where Dom was involved in the death of a baddie. The baddie’s son, Dante (Jason Mamoa), survives.
Jump to the present day, where life seems good for Dom. He has the most important thing, his friends or, as he refers to them, his family, by his side. Rita Moreno, the first of many Academy Award winners, pops up as his grandmother. Everyone is enjoying a barbecue, and smiles and laughter fill the canvass.
The peaceful tranquility of the cookout he is hosting is about to end as he is warned that a new threat is coming. This takes us to Rome where, wouldn’t you know it, Dom must save the Vatican. Oh boy.
Of course, this new threat is implemented by Dante, who wants Dom to ‘suffer’ and will use every tool in his possession to hurt Dom and his family. After all, he’s waited ten years for revenge.
On paper, the cast of the film is very impressive: John Cena, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and then we have the murderer’s row of Academy Award winners, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson, Helen Mirren and then there are the cameos.
The cast is somewhat wasted, as many aren’t given enough screen time to shine. None of them can outperform the film's real star, which seems to be Vin Diesel’s ego.
There are some interesting characters in the film, but none of them ever shines, as that would take away from the mystique of Dom. At this point, the series is somewhat nonsensical.
On the one hand, the CGI stunts aren’t terrible and are entertaining at times, but the writing often falls short. For instance, in one scene, two characters break out of a maximum-security prison, but instead of focusing on the small amount of time they have to escape, there is a big fight scene. Um, ok?
In another, Dom is on the most wanted list, and his picture is plastered everywhere, but he still shows up for a street race with hundreds of onlookers. Um, ok?
I guess it’s a Fast movie, so it’s obligatory to have Vin Diesel in front of a crowd, stretching his arms out to show who the big man is.
The characters of Tyrese and Ludacris are mainly there to bring a comedic element, but the point of a comedic element is . . . you have to be funny, and they aren’t. Cringy? Sure. Funny? Not so much.
Recently I reviewed a film about a talking raccoon and a talking tree, and that was much more compelling than this.
A series that has been around this long should pull in an emotional investment from its audience, but that isn’t the case here. The movies are interchangeable.
Jason Mamoa was wasted in this film. Instead of being a menacing villain, it’s as if he was attempting to channel the Joker as played by Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix. Those actors combined menacing and fun and went on to win Academy Awards. Mamoa may very well win an Oscar in his career, but it won’t be for this performance. The movie can’t decide if he’s menacing or not, and as a result, we have a watered-down villain.
Some character appearances are done well, and there are some bright moments, but this series is running out of gas.
The sad news is that this is part one of a three-part finale . . . give me a moment while I rest my face in my palm!
The cast Diesel has surrounded himself with has many strong actors, several of whom have won Academy Awards. That being said, I could hang out with Boyz II Men for a weekend, but that doesn’t make me a great singer.
There is a significant difference between a movie that does well at the box office and a good movie. This film will most likely excel in the former but fails at the latter.
Watch the movie trailer: