review by Bobby Blakey
There are few franchises that have surprised like that of the Fast and Furious. The original film rolled into cinemas back in 2001. It was such a major hit that it came as no surprise there was a sequel with 2 Fast 2 Furious, but it lost star Vin Diesel to many fans dismay. Since then the franchise has reunited cast members from all the films into one cohesive team, lost some both on and off screen and added plenty of new faces through 9 films and one spin off. Now the family is back together with both old and new additions that is heading towards the end of the series with Fast X, but could it still have enough gas to push the franchise forward or will it stall out early on?
Fast X follows Dom Toretto and his family who have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven every foe in their path over many missions and against impossible odds,. Now, they confront the most lethal opponent they’ve ever faced: A terrifying threat emerging from the shadows of the past who’s fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything—and everyone—that Dom loves, forever. In 2011’s Fast Five, Dom and his crew took out nefarious Brazilian drug kingpin Hernan Reyes and decapitated his empire on a bridge in Rio De Janeiro. What they didn’t know was that Reyes’ son, Dante, witnessed it all and has spent the last 12 years masterminding a plan to make Dom pay the ultimate price. Dante’s plot will scatter Dom’s family from Los Angeles to the catacombs of Rome, from Brazil to London and from Portugal to Antarctica. New allies will be forged and old enemies will resurface.
Let me start this review by saying I think this franchise is a ton of fun. I was not a big fan of the original when it came out which is pretty much Point Break with cars. AS the series has grown and changed it sucked me in and I have a new found love for the original film as well. Needless to say I was
excited for the next chapter and if you head into this film with any expectation other than car chaos and family then you just don’t know what this franchise is really about.
That being said I had a blast with this film, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its faults. It does a great job tying things back to the Fast Five to get this story moving and reason to introduce new characters and get the rest of the original gang back together, but at the same time it limps along for a bit prior to getting to the meat of it all. I honestly think it’s more due to fans having no interest in watching any of these characters just living a normal life so it tends to be dull until we get the fast paced adrenaline ride we are waiting for.
One of my biggest issues with this series has been the lack of stakes whereas no one seems to ever die, get really hurt, stay dead or even stay enemies. They have brought it up in other films too with Roman believing they might be invincible at one point and some of the villains they have gone up against somehow turning around to help them or become their family. This is where the series is eye rolling at times outside of the over the top action, but also why fans get so invested in the ever growing family. This chapter even has a character questioning if Dom is running some sort of cult with everyone teaming up with him. I know it may not be a popular opinion, but keeping the late Paul Walker’s Brian character alive and well in the background of the franchise while still working Mia into the story is wearing thin. It just makes no sense to why he wouldn’t be involved in any of this so really making that element feel off. I know it might be in bad taste to kill him off, but think it is the better decision especially within this new story and would have given this story more weight.
The reason all this nonsense works is because the franchise understands itself. IT is pushing the boundaries with each chapter now to see how chaotic the action can get and plays up more like a Bond film or superhero film at times and I am fine with that. I have come to expect the unbelievable action and over the top stunts because that is what these films are about, oh and family if you didn’t know even though it will remind you pretty often. As much of a joke as that has become it is the core of this franchise from the first film and has grown these characters into just that no matter how dysfunctional they are.
The cast are all doing their thing like you expect with Ludacris and Tyrese having some of the best moments. I love all these character and they are great, but the real star this time around is Jason Momoa who is no doubt the most insane and dangerous villain they have face yet. He is like the Joker at times and clearly unstable in the best possible way. He has some great banter, over the top mannerisms and full on psychotic actions that make him stand out with every scene he has. I was already a fan, but he just took it to a new dangerous level and looked to be having the time of his life.
There is tons of over the top action you are expecting with a lot of it spoiled in the trailers. There is no shortage and a lot of the sequences are long and awesome, but I felt with got teases of every bit of it before seeing them in full sequence and nothing overly surprising. You are already here if you are a fan of the series and know what you are getting so just strap in and enjoy the ride into insanity.
This chapter is a bit different as it is leading to the end of the franchise and with the promise of one more, possibly more per Diesel, it actually ends on a cliffhanger as opposed to some sort of barbeque that we are accustomed too. I was fine with that, but it kind of abruptly ends with no sign that we are heading that way. Could have used the old “To Be Continued…” tag to make it more impactful, but it is what it is. There is also and after credits scene helping to set up the next outing we have already been promised so make sure you check it out.
This isn’t the best of the franchise as a whole, but with Momoa bringing it and some fun to watch action and laughs it is another entry into this unexpected long running franchise worth checking out.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including a gag reel, music videos, commentary, and numerous featurettes taking fans behind the latest chapter of the franchise to life. Hit the gas and drive by to grab your copy of Fast X available now on digital,and then on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on August 8th from Universal Home Entertainment.