Fast X

Dominic Toretto and his loved ones are targeted by Dante Reyes, a man seeking revenge for his father’s death looking to torture Toretto, while the fate of the world and Dom’s family lie in the balance.

What happens when a franchise that requires the lowest common denominator of intellect to work can’t find ways to excite? Science, physics, and logic have become myths the Fast Saga, but even the eighth and ninth installments were fun action comedies with ridiculously exciting scale. Fast X unfortunately feels like almost the same movie as F9 with a lot of the same beats, but the progression of the story threads and the globe-trotting action are no longer fun or feel like they’re actually aiming somewhere. There is an action scene in Rome that cleverly indulges in the silliness and scale that these movies are known for, but its all downhill from there. With the consequences of Dom’s past catching up to him, it felt like a great opportunity to really deconstruct Toretto as a character and focus on the recklessness of his younger self and have him reckon with and grow. As a character, the movie is still only concerned with having him protect his family and worship shiny cars, though, and Vin Diesel’s lacking of charisma or range bring him deeper into caricature as he heroically overcomes certain death by the minute. A lot of the other leads such as Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris, fall flat as well as the latter two’s humorous banter no longer feels self-aware in a funny way, while the far more talented Nathalie Emmanuel is mostly there as the “straight woman” to their goofy antics. John Cena delivers a far more charismatic and fitting performance to his talents, and is actually the standout in this film despite being overly serious and wooden in the last film, while Jason Momoa tries to defy that same “muscular man” stereotype by delivering a psychotic, Joker-like unhinged character, but his dialogue often annoys and brings the film down. The film also suffers from an overabundance of characters and storylines that simply aren’t inviting, including several characters like Sung Kang, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster and Helen Mirren who do nothing for the story or the film’s personality and are simply there for fan service — not even Charlize Theron, a favorite of mine, feels like the writers understand where to take her character. Daniela Melchior is a great addition to the cast, and while Brie Larson and Alan Ritchson are both talented, their roles feel out of place in the movie, though that may speak to how much worse the rest of the material is compared to their acting abilities.

Though the last few films made up for formulaic storylines with a comedy and style that the audience could connect to, the editing here is irritatingly flashy and overblown, and any feeling of personality they try to give to the adventure feels artificial. Its greatest sin, though, isn’t just that it’s repeating itself yet again and losing its steam, but that it’s stuck in the past. For this saga, building new characters instead of re-emphasizing stale decades-old ones seems to not be an option unless they have connections to past movies. The movie is trying to constantly remind you that events from the last films have happened, as a way to indicate this is (allegedly) the first of a two-film finale, and instead of rewarding to fans, it’s the most headache-inducing and condescending trick the film could think of. Even when it’s still tonally goofy and claims to be aware of its ridiculousness, that warmth this time around really only shines when John Cena is present because the plot itself is so poor and doesn’t feel to be moving forward or taking any slick directions. It’s hard to imagine who these movies are still for, because while it’s still humorously using the tired formula it’s now worn out, it’s so seriously bent on having those same tropes from the saga’s past and making everything about family and nothing more. By the end, it feels like a dull caricature of what’s come before, trying to set up more dramatic stakes and dangers for its team of heroes as well as for the sequel, in a franchise where that can’t work for the audience after nothing really changes for good for several movies straight. This one simply fails at its most important job to feel bigger and most importantly, cool.


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