This reviewer’s rating for Fast X may be graded on a curve, in the context of it being the most satisfying Fast & Furious movie in years. It’s primarily a fan-only affair – after all, why would anyone who’s jumped off the ride at some point be coming back for part ten?
Gatekeeping aside, it’s genuinely heartening that this feature is as awesome as it is, considering the last couple of underwhelming entries plus the high stakes associated with being the opening act of the series finale. Then there’s the elephant in the room of a major director change, with Justin Lin exiting the film due to a disagreement with lead star Vin Diesel. He was replaced by seasoned action director Louis Letterier (The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me) who proves to be a saviour by injecting the franchise with the turbo boost it needs. He does so by effectively recontextualising the finale of Fast Five, where we saw the death of drug lord Hernan Reyes, to introduce the biggest threat that Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his family have faced yet.
The new enemy is Hernan’s son Dante Reyes, a calculated, flamboyant psychopath who Jason Momoa hilariously plays like the auto industry’s Joker. Despite the many laughs he provides through his gleeful approach to villainy (such as orchestrating a sniper to the rhythm of Tchaikovsky), he’s legitimately evil, making certain moves that reinforce his unparalleled danger to the central crew.
The crew themselves are given far more to do than in the previous two films, each moving with a renewed sense of purpose, most prominently Roman (Tyrese Gibson), who attempts to stake his claim as a team leader, and Jakob (John Cena), the brother of Dominic who is paternally motivated to protect his nephew Brian. The fluid pacing of the film gives ample time for everyone not just to play their part in the bigger war against Dante but find great small moments in each other’s company, complemented by cameo appearances at virtually every turn.
Largely through Momoa’s tonally perfect performance, Fast X recaptures the sense of fun that characterised the highlights of the franchise, and the action is as creative as ever. An early spectacle in Rome is worth seeing alone, but the entertainment doesn’t stop until the very end, including a mid-credits scene that will leave viewers waiting on tenterhooks for the final movie.
Fast X is released nationwide on 19th May 2023.
Watch the trailer for Fast X here: