Fast X (2023) – Film Review
Director: Louis Leterrier
Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa, Michelle Rodriguez
By Roger Crow
When it was announced a few years ago that the Fast and Furious movies would have three more chapters, the idea of 10 films in the franchise was proof that the saga was in good health. But could they sustain the interest for that long?
Well it seems I blinked and here we are, but any fears that the saga tank was running on empty is far from true. Those behind the scenes could clearly do this for another 10 years, partly because there’s a feeling of Fast bingo for genre fans.
A barbecue? Tick. Mention of the word “family”? Tick. A character brought back from the dead? Tick. A vehicle dropped from a plane, or driven onto a plane about to take off? Tick. You get the idea. Added to the mix is Fast football, in which a bomb is rolled through a major city and our heroes have to stop it from exploding. And in Fast X there’s one of the most OTT set pieces you’ll ever see as the ball bomb’s field is Rome, and the goal is the Vatican.
As usual we have Dominic Toretto, the ever wonderful Vin Diesel, who has been the backbone of the saga since film one in 2001. It’s proof of how good he is that nobody talks about the Fast movies he wasn’t in, because when there’s no Diesel in these vehicles, the franchise doesn’t work.
Bad guy is a scenery-chewing psychopath ret-conned from an earlier chapter when Dom and his mates stole a safe and killed a generic bad guy. Now his son, Dante, brilliantly played by Jason Momoa, is out for revenge. He’s camp, unhinged, flamboyant and basically a comic book villain who nails the tone of the movie. Momoa finds the line which is over the top and uses that as a starting point.
Because we all love a seasoned matriarch in these movies, not only does Helen Mirren return as Queenie (the Peggy Mitchell to Diesel’s Grant), but screen icon Rita Moreno also pops up. Sadly she doesn’t belt out a track from West Side Story.
Oh, and we also have a cat fight with Dom’s resurrected Mrs, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and super villain Cipher (an under-used Charlize Theron). Kudos to the stunt crew who put themselves through hell to get those bone-crunching moments on screen.
Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson also lends a hand with the comedy and action, while Nathalie Emmanuel provides valuable info as keyboard-tapping exposition ‘avatar’ Ramsey.
If this were a proper sci-fi movie (which it basically is, as the scene with a wound-healing laser robot proves), Ramsey would be a hologram who just pops up, reveals bits of data then vanishes).
So there are super cars; armoured vehicles; audacious stunts; gravity-defying antics, and insane car-to-car transfers as per. Inbetween all of this is John Cena in comedy uncle mode as the bulletproof protector of Dom’s son. Oh, and Jack Reacher star Alan Ritchson, who looks like he could lift a tank with one hand. Talking of which, one scene finds Dom doing just that with a car, while he has a gun in the other. Word of advice Dom. When lifting a car, why not use two hands?
There comes a point when our heroes arrive in London again, and just as I get nostalgic for Jason Statham, up he turns as Deckard Shaw. Remember that spin-off partly shot in Yorkshire, Hobbs and Shaw? Yes, the Stath is back, but sadly not for long enough because he may be on hold for the 11th movie when another character teased at the finale also returns. Yes, it is that guy, obviously.
There’s so little plot here, but it hardly matters. Who needs plot when the stunts and set pieces are so spectacular?
The finale on a dam is so gloriously bonkers, it’s hard not to cheer, even if the film is a cliffhanger for Fast XI, which will be roaring into cinemas in the next couple of years.
Though this will be a favourite on TV for years to come, it’s well worth a look on the biggest screen possible. Huge, noisy, silly, epic, and worth every penny of your ticket fee. Just a shame there’s no mention that this is half a story, so there is a feeling of “Is that it?” when the closing credits roll.