The last three entries in this series have felt like the franchise running on fumes. Increasingly convoluted plots, a bigger reliance on CGI, off-screen ego clashes. These have detracted from an otherwise fun time at the movies. So when star Vin Diesel promised Fast X will be the first of three more movies, I let out a sigh. But if they're anything like this one, I'm excited for the ride.
The film's prologue basically replays the climactic heist from Fast Five - arguably the series' best entry - in which Dom and Brian literally ripped off a bank vault and drove it through the streets of Rio. The money they stole belonged to a drug kingpin (Joaquim de Almeida). His heretofore unknown son Dante (Jason Momoa) had to sit back and watch his father die and his fortune vanish. Now, a decade later, he's out for revenge, promising suffering for every member of Dom's crew.
And boy does he dish it out! With a seemingly vast fortune and tech pilfered from Cipher (Charlize Theron), he frames them for a terrorist attack, obliterates their bank accounts and tries to kidnap Dom's son. Momoa's character is ruthless but gleeful in his destruction. His wild fashion sense and over-the-top persona works for the movie: believable enough to try to kill everyone who gets in his way and ridiculous enough to provide comic relief. He also serves as a nice counterweight to Diesel, who's the film's weak link. This should be Dom's most emotional mission yet, but Diesel sleepwalks even more than usual.
But the new cast additions mostly work. Brie Larson is her usual spunky self as a rogue CIA agent, though her part is underwritten. Alan Ritchson (Prime Video's Reacher) fares better as the latest beefcake to join the franchise. As the new agency head, he wants to rein these outlaw street racers in. His charm shines through, and he'll be a definite asset in future films. The only downside is he does not have a big hand-to-hand combat showdown with anyone.
While the film does have some of the bad marks of the later entries in the saga - too many characters, pointless cameos, car wrecks that don't result in even a scratch on the driver - it makes up for it with a chaotic energy that recalls the sixth film in the franchise. This also marks the first time one has ended on a true cliffhanger. It raises the stakes for this series, even if it brings back dead characters more than any soap opera.
Just when I thought this series was out of gas, Fast X hit the nitrous boost.