Fast X is another genre reinvention for the franchise. But not the way one would expect. With Fast Five, the franchise dropped its street racing beginnings and made a heist movie. Fast and Furious 6 and Furious 7 took the James Bond route and made spy adventures. F9 had the boldness to tackle the genre known as “bad” movies, an admirable creative choice. Now, with Fast X, the inspired forces behind the world’s nuttiest franchise have made a comedy.
It’s not a comedy in the vein of movies like Step Brothers or The Hangover. Moreso, in the realm of Deadpool, where the laughs are significant, the action is absurd, and somehow, Vin Diesel has mutant powers. And by mutant powers, we mean the power of knowing physics better than Galileo. But as silly as the franchise has become, turning a corner into comedic territory is the proper evolution for the Fast Saga.
Fast X – the story
Directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter), the 10th entry serves as a companion experience to Fast Five. A new villain named Dante (Jason Momoa) has crawled out of the waters of the wreckage of the ending of the fifth movie and has waited patiently to exact his revenge against the Toretto family. Dante is the son of Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), a drug lord the team killed in Rio De Janeiro.
As we are reintroduced to the crew, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) are said to be prepping a job in Rome for Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood). Dom is embracing his family life with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son Brian (Leo Abelo Perry). And Han (Sung Kang) is making the other guys jealous with his endless matches on Tinder.
That is until a job gets hijacked by Dante, pushing the team into an unfavorable position with the law again. Dante is a wild card of an antagonist. He is fierce, unpredictable, and flamboyant in presentation, and the man has jokes. Lots and lots of jokes. And Dante will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants: Dom’s child.
The speedbumps in Fast X
Let’s get the issues out of the way first. The film opens on a flashback of the vault chase in Fast Five. The fifth entry was hailed by many as the best film in the franchise, mostly because a lot of the stunts were done practically, including the bank vault car chase. Since then, the Fast Saga has nuked the fridge in the practicality department, mainly with Marvel-level CGI.
Placing the amazingness of Fast Five’s practical use of vehicular mayhem at the front of the film is distracting. Once the flashback ends, we are in a CGI wonderland of action, which truly sticks out. The juxtaposition will make viewers long for the days of 2011. Additionally, some of the visual effects appeared unfinished.
One scene, in particular, had Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Alan Ritchson (Reacher) standing in a room full of floating screens. Visually it is abundantly clear everything is computer generated as the images are not layered or rendered seamlessly. That said, other extremely animated members of the cast help overcome the shoddy visual effects.
The Jason Momoa Show
Using Fast Five as a backdrop carries one advantage: introducing Jason Momoa as the violent nutball Dante. This might be the Aquaman actor’s best role. Momoa’s performance is equal parts loony and riveting.
Take the classic Bugs Bunny (Not Space Jam, the one unafraid to crossdress) and combine it with Patrick Swayze from Point Break. Somewhere in that concoction lies the essence of Dante. Momoa chews the role with both hilarious and ruthless fashion, and it might serve as our first glimpse at what a Lobo performance could become.
Dante’s only flaw as a character is the convenient way he is one step ahead. Some scenes are reminiscent of The Dark Knight, where if the Joker’s plan fails, he magically plans for it; for example, the Joker surgically implants a bomb in a thug before chasing Harvey Dent. Here, if Dante fails, surprise, “It was all part of the plan.”
Fast X’s action is wacky and realistic as Loony Tunes
Adding to the theme of Bugs Bunny is the absolute nutso action in Fast X. Most creatives tend to pull back when audiences complain about realism (or lack thereof). It’s commendable how much the Fast Saga keeps doubling down on the absurdity. Actual cars take down helicopters and bombs and throw vehicles like pitching a baseball, and the execution is so bonkers it will leave one cackling.
People often compare the Fast franchise to a Saturday morning cartoon, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Thundercats. Fast X has gone full TexAvery Looney Tunes. Toretto could have killed Dante by painting a fake tunnel on a wall, which would have made sense tonally. Conceptually, it’s some of the most nonsensical action movies ever crafted, but this writer could not stop watching or laughing.
Fast X is a better comedy than Cocaine Bear
As stated, the most surprising aspect of Fast X is the sheer amount of impactful funny moments. The dialogue exchanges have great comedic timing and bits throughout. One scene (without spoiling the context) had Momoa’s character Dante riffing lines for an extended period by himself, and it had the audience in hysterics. Not to mention, John Cena has some show-stealing moments as a fun uncle to Little Brian.
Between the Tex Avery-inspired action and villain and the highly quippy screenplay, Fast X is arguably funnier than Cocaine Bear. And given the franchise’s evolution, it was the appropriate step in the right direction. The action has morphed into silliness, and so should the character dynamics.
Fast X is unapologetic comical chaos
Fast X is bonkers, baffling, bananas, and a surplus of other B words that apply. And most of all, it’s better than the last film. The Fast Saga has been riddled with unintentional comedy throughout its run. The tenth film is the most intentionally hilarious sequel, thanks to a charismatic villainous performance by Jason Momoa. It won’t win back its harshest critics, nor will it offer the practicality of Fast Five. But after F9, the tenth is a step in the right direction.
My rating for this film:
★★★ / ♥♥♥♥
Fast X hits theaters later this week! Will you go see it? Do you want more from The Fast and The Furious franchise? Let us know on Twitter or The Cosmic Circus Discord!