Fast-Ten your seatbelts for what is purported to be the final days of the Fast & Furious series. Yes, the franchise that’s all about fast cars and family is pumping the brakes to bring this story to the end of the road. Of course, Fast & Furious never does things in moderation so there’s at least two more movies to go. Not to mention, a brand new roller coaster at Universal Studios in Hollywood. This tenth installment (eleventh, if you count the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff) truly feels like the Fast & Furious Avengers with bold, new characters joining fan favorite veterans, along with a few surprising returns.
Fast X introduces us to Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the demented son of Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the Brazilian drug lord who was killed in Fast Five. Dante wants revenge and his first step is taking over the criminal network of cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). Barely escaping his wrath, Cipher is forced to come crawling to the doorstep of Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) for help. This leads to chaos in the streets of Rome when our heroes attempt to stop a runaway bomb from destroying the city. After serious collateral damage, Dom and his team land on the world’s most wanted list. As a result, the Toretto clan are hunted by the Agency, now run by the hard-headed Aimes (Alan Ritchson), who has taken command after the disappearance of Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell). Meanwhile, Dante sends heavily-armed mercenaries to kidnap Dom’s son, Little B (Leo Abelo Perry), who is narrowly saved by his formerly estranged uncle Jakob (John Cena).
All the usual suspects are back. There’s Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), master hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and the formerly dead Han (Sung Kang). Also, popping in are Mia (Jordana Brewster), Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood), Queenie Shaw (Helen Mirren), and ex-nemesis Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Joining them on this leg of the race are Tess (Brie Larson), the daughter of Mr. Nobody, and Daniela Melchio as Isabel, the younger sister of the doomed Elena (Elsa Pataky), mother of Little B.
Fast X never takes its foot off the gas pedal. The opening prologue gives us a nifty retcon of the Fast Five climax by showing us how Dante was there all along. After that, it’s one ludicrous action sequence after the other. You half expect Adam West (“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”) to pop up in Rome when the cartoonishly large explosive pinballs through the streets. The audience is also treated to John Cena driving a car covered with makeshift cannons and Vin Diesel taking out attack choppers with nothing more than his muscle car. Louis Leterrier took over the reins as director after Justin Lin departed due to creative differences and he doesn’t miss a beat. As the man who previously helmed The Transporter and The Incredible Hulk, Leterrier’s style meshes well with the rest of the franchise. The highlight of Fast X has to be a brutal fist fight between Letty and Cipher with both actors hammering each other with bloodied knuckles and blunt objects.
It’s surprising that Momoa hadn’t already been brought into the franchise, but he’s easily the best antagonist to date. He’s clearly having fun as he hams it up as a flamboyant psychopath. It’s also nice seeing John Cena loosen up after playing grim and gruff in the last film. Sorry, but that’s Vin Diesel’s territory. Cena is able to show off more of his natural charm this time around.
The biggest misstep these movies have made is the way they’ve rendered death almost meaningless. With Letty and Han returning from the grave, it’s hard to feel any raw emotions when the dour events that occur during Fast X’s cliffhanger ending.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The picture quality is immaculate that does justice to the gorgeous panorama shots. Colors are bright and vibrant, especially when it comes to the reds and yellow of the multiple explosions.
The audio is presented in Dolby Atmos. Roaring engines, screeching tires, and a thumping hip-hop soundtrack all equally lend themselves to the excellent, high-definition sound.
This is Family (35:13) is a seven-part behind-the-scenes documentary that goes into the robust ensemble, the globe trotting locations, the action, the cars, and the FF mythology. Snippets of the interviews here are re-used in the other featurettes.
Fast Breaks (7:46) sees Louis Leterrier break down the stunt work and visual effects that went into the action sequences during the Rome chase.
Xtreme Rides of Fast X (12:54) is a featurette focusing on the cars and motorcycles used in the film, modifications made, and how they relate to each character.
Belles of the Brawl (7:14) looks at the female characters, specifically the physicality and training that went into their fight scenes.
Tuned into Rio (5:06) focuses on shooting the street racing sequence in Rio.
Jason Momoa: Conquering Rome (3:02) shows how the star of Aquaman is a legit motorcycle enthusiast and did his own stunts in Rome.
Little B Takes the Wheel (3:05) introduces us to Leo Abelo Perry as he discusses playing Little B and how he relates to some of the other characters.
A Friend in the End (1:29) is a quick promo about the return of Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs.
Finally, the bonus materials also include music videos for the songs “Toretto” and “Angel Part. 1,” a gag reel and an audio commentary track from Louis Leterrer.
Film Value: 8
In a self-referential moment, Aimes reminds everyone how Dom and his crew came from humble beginnings before hijacking nuclear submarines and world destroying next-gen technology. The series itself started as a mid-budget Point Break knockoff to overblown blockbusters mimicking the silliest aspects of Ocean’s Eleven and Mission: Impossible. The protagonists even went into outer space because why the hell not? At least, Fast X remembers its roots by giving the audience one street race though the stakes are much higher than pink slips.
Let’s face facts, this isn’t high art. Fast X is a cinematic demolition derby that lasts nearly two and a half hours long. It’s light-hearted banter, explosions, car crashes, and wild stunts that defy the laws of physics.