FAST X Continues The Franchise’s Tradition of Delivering Ridiculous Action Sequences

To the benefit of Fast X director Louis Leterrier, and his crew, the latest installment in the popular action franchise has no way of topping the fantastical feat of space travel that occurs in the previous movie (F9). Well, since the filmmakers got that ridiculous stunt out of the way. That means they focus on more grounded and realistic action scenes. I don’t know whom I am trying to fool with that statement because genuine Fast & Furious fans already know I am lying. While they don’t try to top space travel, there is still plenty of head-scratching, ludicrous stunts where the rules of physics do not apply.

That over-the-top style is expected, but one would hope there is enough depth to the story and character development to keep the audience invested. That, too, is a stretch regarding expectations. Fast X is another simple revenge plot by a newish enemy of the Fast Familia. And while there isn’t much dimension to the villain and his plans, the movie still delivers a fun time.

At the film’s beginning, the audience returns to the events of Fast Five, where Dom Toretto (Diesel) and his crew commit an insane heist where they abscond with a drug lord’s giant safe. During the wreckage and mayhem caused by the job, said drug kingpin Herman Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) gets killed while his son Dante (Jason Momoa) gets seriously wounded. Years and other movie installments later, Dante has reemerged and plans to wage war against Toretto and the family to make Dom suffer for his father’s death. The insane and sociopathic Dante turns his vengeance into a massive game where only he is thoroughly entertained by the death and destruction he brings with him.

Written by Dan Mazeau, Justin Lin, and Zach Dean, Leterrier’s entry in the Fast Saga is yet another wild ride that will surely please the series’s devoted fans but will probably frustrate the more casual followers. I would have to say that since the last couple of installments, I find myself within the casual group and not so much a part of ‘ride or die” fanatics. While I still enjoy the antics of the characters and can accept how crazy and nonsensical the action scenes are, I feel that ideas are at the point where they’re getting recycled and somewhat tiresome. At this point, the franchise is beginning to wear very thin for me.

It also does not help that, for the past three movies, the main character Brian Conner (Paul Walker), can no longer participate in the missions. I understand it probably would have been a cheap and distasteful move to kill off his character right away, but how often will he sit things out as a stay-at-home father? It does the character a huge disservice and is not believable. With Fast X, the filmmakers could have easily used Dante Reyes’ revenge plot to eliminate the character finally. Otherwise, his behind-the-scenes “existence” looms like an awkward elephant in the room.

A wickedly fun villain like Dante would have been the perfect antagonist to finally take out Brian, so we can all stop pretending that Paul Walker is still with us. I sincerely miss the actor and feel his presence is sorely missed in the franchise, but it is time to move on and accept the truth.

Well, enough of my soap box rant; allow me to get back to the antagonist of Dante Reyes. Momoa’s riotous and enjoyable take on the character is a breath of fresh air that this movie needs. He is the best thing to happen to the Fast and Furious Saga since Dwayne Johnson joined. Momoa’s passion, charisma, and comic timing make Dante a fun and exciting villain. It even gets to the point where it is difficult not to root for him. While the rest of the movie and its characters seem to follow the usual formula, Momoa is a Joker-like criminal who causes carnage and wreckage and finds pure joy.

His character is the only element that has me moderately anticipating the sequel. I hope Momoa’s performance and the character’s continued development stay manageable in the next movie or the one after that. The producers of the franchise have plans for two more films. We can only hope that the filmmakers have enough juice in the tank and enough tricks up their sleeves to end this saga in some satisfying ways.

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