x fast it races toward the franchise’s finish line like an over-the-top popcorn movie extravaganza that audiences continually embrace. The first part of the two-part finale brings back all the players in a twisted game of retribution and revenge. Jason Momoa joins the confusing fray as an outlandish, almost androgynous psychopath spawned from the events of five fast. The film holds its form as familiar characters engage in a violent CGI melee of bumper car explosions, gunfights and wild brawls. There are laugh-out-loud moments when tense dialogue elicits the wrong reactions.
It’s an explosion Fast and Furious past with a memorable robbery in Rio de Janeiro. Drug lord Hernán Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) is about to name his sadistic son Dante (Momoa) as his successor. The backslapping festivities are interrupted by their vault being ripped from the building in a daring heist. Reyes and his hulking offspring pursue with deadly consequences.
Ten years later, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has settled comfortably into family life. He and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) raise little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) as a mechanic at a high-octane school. They have left Agency operations to a trusted team. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) gets command of his first mission in Rome. He is still arguing with Tej (Ludacris) while Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Han (Sung Kang) look on in exasperation.
Jason Momoa as Dante Reyes
The gang meets up with Mia (Jordana Brewster) and her granny (Rita Moreno) for a family dinner before business starts. Mutual faith will always unite them. A knock on the door late at night brings a shocking visitor. Letty secures Brian and joins Dom with her silenced gun. A badly wounded adversary brings a dire warning. “The devil” is coming for them. Dante does not seek to kill Dom for her sins. He wants to destroy everything Dom has built. He then suffers the pain of losing everyone he loves.
x fast Thankfully, it dials back to the outer space and underwater follies of previous installments. Burning rubber hits the road in most of the crazy action scenes. French director Louis Letterier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk) replaced Justin Lin, who directed the previous five films, due to creative differences. There is no perceptible difference in approach from pedal to metal. Letterier has action competence, and it’s evident in the more realistic conflicts. Let me be clear. x fast overall, it still feels like a CGI video game. But the scenes with real cars on the pavement look good and are adrenaline pumping.
There are too many characters. The franchise inexplicably can never let anyone go. People who should be dead, like Han, come back but they’re not zombies. x fast then it bounces back and forth around the world with bland subplots. A busy script with silly dialogue gives each actor a scene to strut around. Honestly, this gets exhausting when you’re not hitting each other. The “we’re arguing, but we really love each other” between Roman and Tej gets particularly tedious.
A review and repeat scenario
The story doesn’t make sense and doesn’t try. Sadly, that’s not a problem as the producers threw logic out the window after tokyo drift. Momoa controls all outcomes like a maniacal god. He spends half the movie laughing and talking to remote controls on elevated vantage points. He’s not funny or threatening, but he certainly chews up the screen with his crazy antics.
Reactions will vary depending on the degree of fandom. x fast it’s cut from the same tried-and-true storytelling pattern. This supposed last lap is the same rev and repeat scenario we’ve seen before. The tank has been empty for a long time for me, but the box office numbers prove otherwise. Stay through the credits.
x fast is a Universal Pictures, Original Film, One Race Films, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films and Perfect Storm Entertainment production. It will have a theatrical release on May 19 from Universal Pictures.