dir: Louis Leterrier
It’s pretty shit, even for this profoundly dumb movie series.
Of course, one has to grade entries in the Fast & the Furious franchise on an incredibly generous curve, but still, by any reasonable measure this movie Fast X is a major fail.
They do give Dom Toretto more screen time than they have in a long while, but… No, it’s nice to see him again, and to hear his endless excuses as to why Brian can’t help or how he just talked to Brian a few seconds ago, and maybe he’s just offscreen somewhere doing something important.
The most important and baffling thing in these films is that any character shown to have died onscreen is eventually revealed to be less than dead. To be immortal. Essentially unkillable. So whenever any scene slows down, and the music gets sad, and they start talking about someone who’s dead in a mournful way, I’m like “The fuck are you doing? I’ll bet you anything that whoever will be revealed at a climactic moment to still be alive”.
And they did it again at the end of this stupid film, when a certain character who died, I dunno, four films ago is revealed to still be alive.
You may think, well, who gives a fuck. You would be right. Why are you always so handsome / attractive, stylish and right all the time? What’s your secret?
Whatever it is, I don’t have access to your level of wonderfulness, the ability to blithely accept the lack of ideas and death of inspiration that the perpetual reuse of old rope and older tropes represents in billion dollar franchises. The GDP of a nation is spent making these films, and they still can’t do anything more clever than “You’ll never believe who they’re going to resurrect NEXT!”
Louis Leterrier may be a good director, and may be the future of cinema for all I know, but for me he will always be the director of one of the absolute dumbest flicks I’ve ever seen, which would be The Transporter, starring Jason Statham, as a guy who drives cars and punches people.
Imagine my delight when there are scenes in this flick that could have been lifted wholesale from that earlier flick, and they achieve the same degree of flimsiness and weightlessness, twenty years later and probably twenty times the cost.
It’s funny that they explicitly reference the 5th Fast & the Furious movie, the one where they steal a bank vault out of a police station in Brazil and drag it through the city streets like such a thing makes any sense, because for some people that’s when the series went from good to Great! For others, for people with more bile, accumulated dark poison in their souls, people like me, it’s where we realised these flicks were just going to get so fucking dumb that reviewing them from here on it would just be pointing out how fucking dumb all this bullshit is, and that it would be an unremitting chore if you weren’t drunk already before entering the theatre or pressing play.
But people don’t like naysayers. Killjoys. They avoid these negative people, in the work place, at parties, on public transport. No one watching a flick in a crowded cinema wants to hear from someone muttering into their neckbeard “but… but.. this completely defies the laws of physics and makes no sense!” They just want to cheer and yell woo hoo, and maybe applaud, occasionally, and have fun.
This flick is lazy hackwork, but the thing is we’ve spent enough time with these characters, in some cases more time with them than I’ve spent with actual members of my actual, not chosen, family. So whether or not it’s that enjoyable, we’re obligated to stay until the end (of this awkward brunch? Or is it Lunch? Should we bring something or…?)
I am not going to talk about a plot. There is no point. Our Heroes, the Family, are great in number, but greater still is the number of henchgoons arrayed against them. The villain is the son of the guy whose bank vault they stole in the 5th film, so he’s meant to be Brazilian(?) His name is Dante Reyes, and he is played by Jason Momoa.
I like Jason Momoa. He is a very attractive man mountain. I have seen him and heard him be funny outside of movies. I don’t mean like down the pub or anything, I just mean I’ve seen him be okay in stuff. But I haven’t really ever found him believable as an actor, and whatever they’re doing with this character here, it’s fucking terrible.
I had heard reviews where people talked about how maybe he was going for a queerbait, genderbent, maybe Joker-like androgynous characterisation? And it’s, wow, such a terrible idea as realised here. I don’t even know if that somehow qualifies as (positive?) queer representation when a cis het actor plays a villain as a weird camp childish fuckwit?
There is a scene where Dante, after trying to kill half the people of Rome, and some of the members of Toretto’s family, is painting the toenails of men he’s killed, and talking in this childish sing-song way, and I remember thinking “was there seriously no-one who saw or heard this happening and didn’t try to put a stop to it?” I felt embarrassed for the actor and even more so for the corpses.
It’s…not great. I don’t really get what they were going for, but whatever it was, I don’t think it worked at all. At All. He wants to avenge his father’s death, even though he’s a sociopath incapable of love who didn’t like his father anyway, so, he wants to kill everyone Toretto holds dear, but he doesn’t want to threaten their masculinity too much, nor induce gay panic, so he reserves his various statements for when he’s on his own?
I just... Okay.
And a mid-credits sequence after the film has ended shows that, the whole time, Dante knows it wasn’t Dom or his people that killed his father, so, what the absolute fuck did we have to sit through all of that for?
Because everyone is in the film, Charlize Theron gets to reprise her Cipher character from the 8th film but also gets to remind me of a far better action flick that I enjoyed way more than this one, being Atomic Blonde, which is far more enjoyable and I don’t care what anyone else says.
Why is she here? Because Dante needs magical abilities to operate vehicles remotely, so he steals that from her, and… And then she has to hang out with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) at a prison somewhere for pretty much two hours?
Brie Larson appears as the daughter of Kurt Russell’s Mr Nobody character, and why’s she here? She’s here because Dante needs to steal her God’s Eye technology to be able to track where anyone on the planet is. And after that she hangs around a while.
Tyrese is here as the Roman character. Why is he here, still? No-one knows. He brings the same void of talent and personality that he’s brought to the last, I dunno, 17 of these movies.
Ludacris is still here. He’s here only to stand in for the audience and berate Roman for being so fucking useless.
Nathalie Emmanuel is here as Ramsay the superhacker (who hacks nothing for the duration of the film), and, well, she’s always great so no complaints there.
Pete Davidson shows up. Not sure why. Not sure he knew why either.
John Cena is here as Jakob, Dom’s brother that no-one mentioned until the last flick where he was the villain(?) Here, he’s charming and avuncular Uncle Jakob, and he is a total and absolute cartoon, which is how he works best.
There is a sequence where he sacrifices himself to save The Family from some CGI cars. There is no way he is dead. No one dies unless Dominic Toretto says they can, and his face is a perpetually scowling “NO!”
No one dies.. Not much is achieved by anyone, good or bad in this flick. This summer (from the perspective of movies released in the cinemas in the States) has been a major example of film’s being both too long and unsatisfactory, with deliberate attempts to split flicks into two parts in order to force the unwashed masses to march glumly into cinemas twice in order to get some kind of resolution. If it’s a good flick, like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, then it makes you eager to see how things will play out.
When it’s a gibbering mediocrity of this magnitude, you just think, what’s the fucking point of anything?
Have I said enough yet about how terribly it all doesn’t hang together? The sequence in Rome where they’re trying to stop a neutron bomb blow up the Vatican is comically bad, as in, it looks like something out of the 1960s Batman tv show, only less believable.
There’s a sequence in Brazil where Dante wants to do a street race with Dom and two other mooks, after trying to kill The Pope! And Dom’s like “well, you know, my superpower is car racing, maybe I can fix this with winning a car race with a nut who’s killed lots of people?”
As much as I love Vin Diesel, and as much as I enjoy just listening to him talk, we have to start the conversation about how much longer he can keep doing these kinds of movies. He is starting to look like he’s made of plasticine, and that his features are starting to go a bit skewiff. It’s age, man, it happens to the best and the worst of us. But come on.
That aforementioned car race in Brazil, wow, points for ripping off your own terrible movies, Leterrier. In that earlier flick there’s a sequence where The Driver realises that a ticking bomb has been attached, at some point, underneath his car.
What’s a man to do? Well, this man being The Driver, he drives up something, flips the car upside down, and uses the hook from a crane to nudge the bomb off of the car before the car somehow levels out and lands on its wheels, safely.
Okay. If you say so.
In this movie, this two hour plus so-called ‘entertainment’, Dom figures out that Dante has put bombs underneath his opponents’ cars, and so in order to save one of them, he has to crash into her car, flipping it upside down so that the bomb underneath will fly off and explode but not kill her.
Good thing Dom had seen The Transporter, aye? Lucky.
The climax of the flick ends on a cliffhanger that implies Dom and his son Little B (for ‘Brian’, don’t hold back your tears just yet) are about to die because of something Dante has orchestrated, unless…
And then the scene cuts away from them, to Antarctica, where Giselle, who died four movies ago, (Gal Gadot) opens the hatch from a fucking submarine, and smiles at us morons in the audience.
They say AI is going to ruin careers and such when it takes over all sorts of industries. But honestly, the scripts to these movies are getting so atrocious that an AI screenwriting program could be a godsend. I can’t imagine the AI program poorly programmed enough to be able to come up with a screenplay as pointless and actively, aggressively stupid as this.
But, yeah, I’m sure the next movie will wrap up everything in a neat, little package.
3 times Death comes for us all, eventually, and sometimes not soon enough out of 10
“You made one mistake. You never took my car.”
[wheelies then plummets his car off a hydro dam] – ugh just stop it already Fast X