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Fast X
The increased stakes of Part One of the Fast Saga finale doesn’t make up for the annoying villain and cringe-worthy soap opera elements.

Fast X

Release Date: May 19, 2023
Runtime: 02:21
Synopsis:
Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.

It is the beginning of the end of The Fast Saga with Fast X. While enjoying family life with Letty Ortiz () and his son Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), Dominic Toretto () is visited by a bloody Cipher (). The Cipher's criminal organization was hostility taken over by Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the vengeful son of nefarious Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes (). Dante wants Dominic to suffer, and he begins by sabotaging a job in Rome being performed by Roman (), Tej (Chris' ' Bridges), Ramsey (), and Han (). Dante frames Dominic and the team for an explosion in the city, and they are now targeted by The Agency, now run by Aimes (Alan Ritchson). However, rogue agency representative Tess (), the daughter of former head Mr. Nobody, goes against the orders of her superiors and assists Dominic in protecting his family from Dante.

Synopsis

Fast X is the first part of the finale for The Fast Saga, initially announced as a two-parter but now reportedly a trilogy. Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans) takes over the director's chair from longtime franchise filmmaker Justin Lin, who remains on board as co-writer and producer. Reconning the events of 2011's Fast Five, it is revealed that the film's villain, Hernan Reyes, had a son named Dante, who has spent the last 12 years planning revenge for his father's death. Dominic Torreto and his team are split into multiple threads through the plot of Fast X. This includes Dominic travelling to Rio De Janeiro to confront Dante, Letty being captured and sent to a black site prison, Dominic's brother Jakob (John Cena) arriving to help Dom's son Little Brian get to safety, while the rest of the team finds themselves in London and reluctantly seek the help of Deckard Shaw (). However, it soon turns out that Dante is one step ahead of the team and that he won't be an easy foe to defeat.

My Thoughts on Fast X

Where do I start on Fast X? This is the tenth film of a franchise that has been running for over two decades. While it is one of the few franchises that ended up experiencing a resurgence in popularity after the series rebranded itself from being primarily about street racing to being over-the-top heist action films, in my opinion, the franchise has long since jumped the shark. I would argue that the beginning of the downturn came from the decision to continue the franchise after 2015's Furious 7, which had a perfect conclusion honouring Paul Walker, who tragically died amid the film's production.

The films, as well as the semi-unrelated spinoff Hobbs and Shaw, have been slowly inching their way towards science fiction in their recent entries, right down to the previous film F9: The Fast Saga, featuring a “rockets the car” scene of driving a car into space. Fast X continues in that direction by having “The Agency” go from simply the film's version of the CIA to a full-on shadowy organization, where the hulking Aimes, played by Reacher's Alan Ritchson, recaps the entire franchise on floating touch screens.

As the new antagonist Dante Reyes, the Khan to Dominic Toretto's Jason Mamoa plays the character in a way I can only describe as a metrosexual frat boy. In some ways, this makes the character way more annoying than truly a threat, even though there are plenty of shots of him standing with his shirt unbuttoned and hair flowing in the wind. Speaking of antagonists, the previous film's villain Jakob, who has found the error in his ways, returns to essentially be the cool uncle to Dominic's son Little Brian, with them going on their side adventure to a safe house. In contrast, Dominic's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) goes into hiding with Brian, who is still very much alive in the universe of The Fast Saga, making me fear we will see a CGI Paul Walker before everything is said and done.

Now I want to talk about Vin Diesel, whose recent comments about making what was supposed to be a two-part finale into a trilogy suggest that he does not wish the franchise that has essentially defined his entire career to come to an end. As the action of these films gets more ridiculous, including in this film, driving a car out of a flying cargo plane, Vin Diesel plays the more soap opera-like moments entirely straight, despite how groan-inducing they end up being. This includes the introduction of Brazillian street racer Isabel, played by The Suicide Squad‘s Daniela Melchior, who turns out to have a solid tie to Dom's past.

It is apparent during this finale that an attempt will be made to reunite every character that appeared in the previous films, including a few surprising ones we did not expect (that's a hint to wait through the credits). This includes single-scene appearances by Helen Miran and Jason Statham as Queenie and Deckard Shaw, who will presumably have a more significant role in the subsequent parts. The same goes for Brie Larson and “Little Miss Nobody” Tess, who only ends up being present in this film for a few scenes, including helping to kickstart an escape for Letty, which sees her fighting, then reluctantly teaming with, Cipher. The most random cameo in Fast X comes from an opening barbecue appearance by Oscar-winning actress Rito Moreno (West Side Story) as Dom and Mia's Abuelita Toretto.

As Fast X ends with multiple cliffhangers, I will probably stick around and see this franchise to the end. However, that will not stop me from criticizing how over-the-top and ridiculous the films of The Fast Saga have become. While some people dig the soap opera elements of this franchise, it just leaves me shaking my head in shame.

Trailer for Fast X

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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