There Are 6 Billion Reasons Why Another ‘Fast’ Movie Is Coming
With Fast X, the tenth and maybe the second- or third-to-last installment in the fabulous Fast & Furious franchise, they have at least tried to play within the laws of physics. There are no skyscraper-to-skyscraper car jumps, no safes the size of half a shipping container being pulled through the streets of Rio by two Dodge Chargers, no Pontiac Fieros in space…
“A Fiero could not go to space,” director Louis Leterrier told us. “Sure, a (Dodge) Charger could go down a dam with a fire avalanche behind it. But it’s, you know, it’s really pushing the limits. But that’s what’s fun about Fast X—we ground it. We somewhat respect the laws of physics. You know, we make it fun, make it fast. I’d be remiss if I didn’t push the envelope in my Fast. I wanted to be grounded, but also make it fun.”
So this time, Fast X features stunts that, you could argue, are at least… plausible. Well, except for the big nuclear bomb ball rolling through Rome (see photo above).
Yes, there was a nuclear beach ball the size of a Volkswagen that rolls through the streets of Rome, on its way to blow up the Vatican. Yes, OK, so there’s that. Let us explain.
There’s this villain—a new character, mostly new, named Dante Reyes—played with evil cunning and excellent fashion sense by former Aquaman Jason Momoa. Momoa described his character to Variety as “…sadistic, evil and androgynous.” He is all that.
For instance, he paints the toenails of his dead foes, whom he has dragged home and propped up in lawn chairs, while talking to them like he’s in a salon (“Now, let that dry before you put on your sandals and Pablo will be along to dispose of you soon…”). So he’s psychotic. But not just psychotic. He has been driven to psychosis.
Reyes is the son of Hernan Reyes. Don’t remember him? Hernan Reyes was the Brazilian crime boss whose safe Brian and Dom stole in Fast 5 a decade ago, dragging it through the streets of Rio and smashing parked cars throughout the city. Dante Reyes lost not only his dad but all of the $100 million that was in the safe. That, for Reyes, constituted “everything.” He has therefore spent the last 10 years plotting his revenge, despite the fact that his father was, as he says, “a horrible person and a lousy father.”
So in movie terms that’s what you call a character’s motivation. As a result, there is a far more discernible plot in Fast X than there has maybe been in any F&F feature ever. Dante Reyes’ plan is to take from Dom everything he thinks Dom took from him. He starts with the money, cybercriming that away from all members of La Familia except Tyrese Gibson’s Roman, who has apparently scotch-taped his millions to the inside of his jacket. Okay, maybe not all of the script makes sense, but a lot more than before.
The rest of the movie consists of Dante disassembling Dom’s world. The beach ball bomb is apparently a distraction Reyes uses to convince authorities the explosion was done by Dom’s Familia, to get them all arrested as terrorists so Reyes can pluck apart Dom’s world a little easier. This results in many chases through many of the world’s most colorful urban capitals. And Antarctica. Oof.
While the Reyes part of the plot is clear, other parts are less so. Letty, the Dom love-interest, is constantly punching it out with Charlize Theron’s Cipher character from previous Fasts. Cipher, formerly a bad guy, or girl, dislikes Reyes so much that she joins in with La Familia because, as we all know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, etc. But first, Letty and Cipher must duke it out in a secret hideaway in Antarctica before becoming friends dressed in fashionable ski outfits and then being rescued by a nuclear submarine. OK, maybe it will be hard to watch.
There are other senseless plot burps, like a wasted cameo by SNL comedian Pete Davidson, characters Roman and Tej’s fight, which makes no sense at all, and Queenie’s (Oscar-winner Helen Mirren's) one-minute appearance in Rome, though she does get the best line of the movie: “This is no Roman Holiday and you’re no Gregory Peck,” she says to Dom, who grunts once, thus proving her point.
Bright(er) spots: John Cena returns as Dom’s brother Jakob and spends the movie protecting Dom and Letty’s son Little Brian, which is a series of nice interludes punctuated by Jakob (a wrestler before he was an actor) body slamming bad guys like he was back in the ring. And there’s a street race in Rio which is almost like a throwback to the original The Fast and the Furious 22 years ago. But do the bright spots outshine the violence and explosions?
The hardest part of Fast X may be the ending. If you really haven’t figured out the ending yet, don’t continue reading. The ending is a non-ending, because the whole purpose of Fast X is to lead into Fast 11 and maybe even FasTwelve, though officially there is no word how many more of these there will be. The series has earned almost $6 billion in box office receipts, and it’s hard to argue with $6 billion, especially if you’re a studio executive who decides which movies get the green light. There will be at least one more. Then, finally, we can all go back to complaining about the inaccuracies in the shifter pattern in the GT40 in Ford v Ferrari, and other important things. For now, take an Excedrin and go watch Fast X. Unless there’s something else on TV.