Part-Time Review: Fast X (2023)

*For an overview of all the Fast & Furious Action Scenes Click HERE

Part one of an ambitious but unsuccessful attempt at wrapping up a decades-spanning blockbuster franchise with a kind of greatest hits compilation template. You know how when you go to the concert of a musical icon and they have so many hits that instead of playing them all they create unique little mashup versions of songs, or remix them, or bring out some other celebrity to collaborate on them? That’s what Fast X felt like to me. Just like those concerts, it was pretty disappointing as well. It's just so hard to re-create the magic of the originals without feeling derivative and desperate.

By this eleventh entry (counting the Hobbes and Shaw spinoff), the franchise has crafted a predictable pattern for each new entry. Create a McGuffin plot that tries to build on convoluted cartoony universe populated by a large ensemble of heroes (all one-dimensional) challenged by a new villain trying to get that McGuffin. The plots and motivations of previous films continue to be arbitrarily retconned (everyone has a previously unknown brother, sister, daughter, you get the idea) while the rules of physics are shamelessly ignored. Like I said, it’s a cartoon. The first act of Fast X re-establishes that the good-hearted Dom, greatest car driver of all-time, really loves his family. The “family” stuff is just as flat and poorly written as anything you’d find a cheesy low budget faith film. Some scenes are so literal and on the nose audiences should throw food at the screen in protest if the series hadn’t trained us to enjoy its campy, simplistic, and lazy writing. Dante, the son of the villain from the fifth film, emerges to make Dom’s family suffer and the first act ends after a formulaic “team heist chase” scene in Rome splitting the entire ensemble cast into different storylines. 

Jason Momoa plays Dante extremely campy and with a lot of energy. Momoa is very memorable as a villain, but he feels so derivative of all the previous franchise villains with a large dose of Heath Ledger’s Joker thrown in the mix for fun. Unfortunately, an interminable second act follows multiple different storylines as team members all get their own little obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately, this entire act (the majority of the film) feels exactly like what it is – ad hoc filler meant to try and pack as many people from the franchise in as possible and give them something to do with obligatory mini- callback action sequences to justify their presence and the “compilation” concept. It also feels like this was written out in order to turn this “finale” film into a money-making two parter. It ends up turning it into the most tedious and unnecessary entry into the franchise. The third act is fine (even if Momoa’s plans and machinations make zero logical sense), and no worse than any of the finales from the sixth film onwards.

Personally, I can find things to enjoy about cheesy action films with this kind scale and budget, but Fast X’s second act is so repetitive, shallow, and transparently filler that it becomes exhausting. Thank goodness this franchise is wrapping up because even though it’s “family” to us, it’s become one of those family members we hope has other plans during the holidays.

*For an overview of all the Fast & Furious Action Scenes Click HERE