The Fast and the Furious franchise has entertained moviegoers for over two decades. Since its debut in 2001, there have been 11 movies, each more spectacular than the last. However, I’ve felt that the franchise had drifted too far from its roots as a racing movie, and even the OG Dominic Toretto wouldn’t have brought this Buster to the family BBQ. Despite this, I kept returning to the theater to watch them, hoping to relive that thrilling ten-second feeling Toretto always talked about. With Fast X, I finally got that sensation again, making it one of the best installments in a franchise that previously seemed to have exhausted its last tank of NOS.
The action-packed film, Fast X, starts with a thrilling flashback to the events of Fast Five. The scene recalls Dominic Toretto and his crew as they execute a daring heist, stealing a vault from Brazilian drug lord Hernan Reyes. In a riveting chase that ensues, Reyes meets his end at the hands of Luke Hobbs on a bridge. However, the story turns unexpectedly when Fast X introduces a new character, Dante Reyes, played by Jason Mamoa, as Hernan’s son. Driven by a thirst for revenge, Dante relentlessly pursues Toretto’s crew, determined to destroy everything they hold dear, including their family.
These opening scenes not only add a new layer to the narrative but also provide a glimpse into Dante’s character. Despite his madness, his father was the only one who ever gave him a chance to succeed in life, making his motivation for vengeance all the more compelling. The theme of family remains at the forefront, but it also highlights the dark side of losing one’s family, which is a stark contrast to the undying importance of family that Toretto preaches.
One of the primary reasons I adore The Fast and the Furious series is unsurprisingly, the luxury vehicles. Moreover, these scenes provide a glimpse into the underground racing world and give insight into the Toretto family’s bond. However, the cars became less significant as the series progressed, serving as mere tools for ridiculous stunts.
Fast X, however, pleasantly surprised me with its diverse car selection. The movie showcases an excellent mix of muscle and imported cars, old and new alike. Although Toretto’s iconic 1970 Dodge Charger R/T is still the spotlight of Fast X, the classic Lavender Chevy Impala, Datsun 240Z, 2023 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, Alfa Romeo 159, 1966 Ford Fairlane, Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Lamborghini Gallardo, Nissan Silvia, and a missile launcher-fitted Chevy El Camino just for John Cena are also featured, catering to every fan’s preferences. Despite not being a car enthusiast, witnessing the exhilarating car races makes me feel the need for speed (oops, wrong franchise!).
The Bad Guy
My initial fears of having another action star added to the franchise proved valid, as Jason Mamoa’s addition to the franchise was less than seamless. An older scene from Fast Five was awkwardly repurposed to introduce him at the beginning of Fast X. During this scene, his perpetually scowling expression made him seem more constipated than menacing, leaving me disappointed. However, my disappointment didn’t last long, as Mamoa redeemed himself with his portrayal of the unhinged Dante Reyes ten years later in the present day of Fast X. His constant laughter, joking with the heroes, and jolly demeanor while committing heinous crimes reminded me of Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Something is unsettling about crazed villains that makes their actions all the more impactful. Moreover, Reyes’ behavior starkly contrasted with the intense nature of the action stars, offering a well-timed touch of humor.
The End of the Road Begins
The Fast and the Furious franchise has a unique strength that could become its weakness if not managed properly. This was evident in Fast X, where an overwhelming number of characters were introduced, making it challenging to balance the cast. The franchise reminds me of Marvel’s Infinity War and Endgame in this aspect. Including numerous characters and scenes in Fast X made the movie feel chaotic and was done purely for fan service. For instance, Universal Pictures released 11 different character posters for the movie, and that isn’t even all the characters from the franchise. That’s too many characters for one movie to juggle.
I can see why the latest franchise installment, Fast X, may leave some fans unsatisfied. Although it serves as the first film in the final trilogy, it does not provide a complete storyline and leaves many questions unanswered. The ending also creates several cliffhangers, which can be disappointing, especially for viewers who are new to the franchise. It will be fascinating to see how the creators tie up loose ends for all the characters, as they deserve a proper conclusion. While the ultimate goal of the creators may be clear, it may be a confusing experience for some viewers.
Watching Fast X in the theaters was the most enjoyable experience I have had with a Fast and the Furious movie since the original in 2001 and Tokyo Drift in 2006. I know I wasn’t alone in this thought, as the packed theater shared my laughter and cheers throughout the film, providing that sense of camaraderie often depicted in the franchise. It’s unfortunate that it took the beginning of the end to shift the Fast franchise back into gear, but I’m grateful that it did so that we can end the multi-decade series on a high note. Momoa’s portrayal of Reyes stole the show, raising the stakes for Toretto and his family. Vin Diesel once said, “Every story deserves its own ending,” so if Fast X truly marks the beginning of the end for The Fast and the Furious, I eagerly anticipate what comes next.
- This article was updated on May 17th, 2023