Fast X Review: Jason Momoa Tries Hard, But The Franchise Is Running Out Of Gas
Fast X is a disappointing movie with a fantastic villain but no great moments as the franchise is starting to falter.
Before sitting down to watch Fast X, be aware that it’s the first of a planned trilogy of films that will close out the Fast and Furious franchise. That has to be mentioned upfront because there is so much jammed into the over two-hour runtime that it’s missing a neat bow to tie everything up at the end. Vin Diesel is back as Dominic Toretto, placing even more of an emphasis on the thing most important to him in life, family, but now, with the end in sight, he’s added on a new wrinkle: legacy, and that’s what the latest film is all about.
Dom’s legacy lives on in Little Brian, his son with Rio De Janeiro police officer Elena (Elsa Pataky), now approaching ten years old, learning how to drive, and young actor Leo Abelo Perry plays off the adult cast wonderfully. Introduced in Fast X, but inserted via flashback into the events of Fast Five, is Dante, played by Jason Momoa, after watching Heath Ledger’s Joker performance in The Dark Knight five times in a row while downing Red Bull, a son that lost his father and everything he was meant to have, out for revenge.
By now, fans know to expect a globe-trotting paper-thin plot that includes plenty of vehicle stunts, but it’s Momoa’s wild performance as Dante that powers the entire endeavor to the point that he’s mentioned in nearly every scene.
Trying to explain Jason Momoa’s Fast X performance is hard to do since so much of it is found in his wild outfits, strange mannerisms, and bizarre movements when the typical alpha male villains of the past have surpassed every on-screen emotion besides “flex and grimace.” In true superhero fashion, when Dante needs to be introduced as the most dangerous villain yet, he does so by taking down Cipher (Charlize Theron), forcing yet another former enemy to become an ally as the franchise trope moves on for another film. Yet the constant feeling of pure chaos that fills the screen whenever Dante is around makes him fascinating to watch, even in a bizarre side-scene involving corpses.
The problem with the film is that besides Dante and Dom, no one else seems to really matter, and given the size of the cast listing on IMDb, that’s impressive. This far in, there’s been no mention of Brie Larson debuting as Tess, the daughter of Mr. Nobody, who is introduced with the clunkiest dialogue since The Last Jedi, and then immediately tossed into a series recap scene with the new head of the Agency, Aimes, played by Reacher star Alan Ritchwood and his massive biceps.
That’s because she’s unimportant, and even that puts her a step above the rest of Dom’s family as Fast X struggles around the weight of the massive cast and, outside of the heist in Rome, sidelines most of the recurring characters.
Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) bicker, Ramsey (Nathalie Emmuanel) plays peacemaker, while Han (Sung Kang) is merely along for the ride. The scenes with the group could be cut from Fast X, and nothing would be lost, from arguing over money to a shopping trip that only exists to get Pete Davidson some screentime. Even reuniting Han and Shaw (Jason Statham), teased at the end of the last film, is anticlimactic and leads nowhere, potentially because Statham was only around for a day of filming for a glorified cameo.
Despite the sidelining of most of the cast, Fast X makes the audience care about Little Brian, spending the film on a road trip with his uncle Jakob (John Cena). Cena, the previous film’s villain, is in full-on Peacemaker comedy mode here, carefully explaining the proper times to curse to his nephew and making gold out of every second on screen. When the film hits right, it hits. It would just be better if the wealth was spread out a little bit more and if there were some more car acrobatics.
Somehow, the most over-the-top villain results in the most ho-hum and by-the-numbers finale of the post-Fast Five films. Worst of all, the ending is going to make fans very angry; imagine watching Avengers: Infinity War and not knowing it was just a “Part 1,” That’s the level of anger that the unsatisfying ending scene will instill in everyone, even if there’s a major return before the credits and another in the post-credits. Fast X is a blatant setup for the next film, but unlike when Marvel pulled a similar trick, fans must wait almost two years for any sense of resolution.
It’s easy to say that right now, Fast X is the worst film in the franchise. It’s only part of the story, and on its own, it doesn’t hold up compared to even the weakest previous movies; besides, it’s not even a fun film with the Tej-Roman pairing in particular not landing any great lines this time out, and coming off more as being tired. The wobbly structure holding together the franchise about car-based super spies is starting to fall apart ten years after its revival, with the cracks in the foundation starting to show, and it runs the very real danger of making fans grateful for the end of the road.