May 19th, 2023
MOVIE: FAST X
STARRING: VIN DIESEL, JASON MAMOA, MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, TYRESE GIBSON, CHARLIZE THERON, LUDACRIS, JOHN CENA, BRIE LARSON
DIRECTED BY: LOUIS LETERRIER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
At this moment in time, the conversation surrounding cinema has become about the battle between technology and human creativity. At one point in the Fast and the Furious series, it straddled the line between creative stunts and wild action, but after the passing of Paul Walker– and around the 8th installment– the series officially lost its way. Fast X, which sounds like a gas relief medicine, inches back to its once respectable status, but is still dragged down by its reliance on technology to make its production easier. The entire Fast family is back, new characters added, a new villain, surprise revelations, and ridiculous action sequences. It’s another Fast and the Furious movie but it’s also an embarrassing example of what passes as entertainment these days.
Plot-wise– not like they matter– but we pick up after Fast 9. Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) are back at the house for a barbeque, coronas, and saying grace. We meet Abuela Toretto (Rita Moreno getting a nice paycheck for doing nothing) and see how much little Brian (Leo Abello Perry) has grown. We find out that Roman has been called by the agency to lead a quick heist in Rome but that is soon revealed to be a setup. Cipher (Charlize Theron) arrives bloodied at Dom’s door, letting him know that a man named Dante (Jason Momoa) is looking to hunt down anyone associated with the leader of the crew. He wants to tear down Dom’s family just as Dom had done to him long ago.
What follows is an elaborate and excellent chase sequence through the streets of Rome. Cars crash, smashing, Letty is on a motorbike, and Tej and Ramsey are stuck on a truck with a giant bomb. The team must defuse it before it blows the Vatican. It’s an entertaining sequence but sadly all the excitement ends after. This leaves Dom alone to get back to his family. The agency has been compromised, with newcomer Little Miss Nobody (played embarrassingly by Brie Larson) trying to help, while Dom’s brother Jakob (John Cena) is in the position to protect little Brian and get him to his mom and dad by any means necessary. It’s in this middle section where all momentum stalls. The plot with Jakob and the little one is practically a Disney kid-buddy-road comedy. All the other sequences are exposition, with characters standing against green screens, and Tej-Roman jokes that feel recycled from past installments. The screenplay, written by Dan Mazeau and former director Justin Lin, is often lame, saved by the energy brought by Momoa– he’s having an absolute blast here– but even that has its limits.
I must reiterate that I’m not a Fast series hater. I loved Fast 5 & 7 and I even championed it getting more ridiculous as it went along. By Fast 9, I was regretting all that I asked for because I got it and I hated it. Fast X is ultimately pointing in the direction up, compared to its two previous installments, but it’s a revelation of something darker at hand. Visually, Fast X is atrocious, with sequences that look pieced together through the magic of computers. If you told me a robot made this movie I would believe you (sorry, Louis Leterrier). Locations, stunt sequences, and even humans talking to one another in a scene look fake. Through the magic of post-audio, deep-fakes, and CGI that can whisk us away to various locations, Fast X is the cinema of the future and I absolutely hate it.
That may sound like a completely different topic to argue, but it is the major problem with the newest Fast entry. What Top Gun: Maverick, John Wick: Chapter 4, and Mission: Impossible films have shown us is that making action films with the tangible is possible. Those are what real movies are. There is an artistry to making a great action film. It’s the reason why Jackie Chan is a living legend. It’s a reason why any movie that wastes Jason Statham the way this does should be ashamed. What Fast X is selling is a video game. It’s not a film where the cinematography matters because it’s definitely not cinema. If you’re entertained I am glad. But for those of us that want a lasting impact from our movies, Fast X will give you no relief.
FAST X IS IN THEATERS NATIONWIDE FRIDAY MAY 20TH, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady