Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.
THE GOOD STUFF
MOMOA- Best villain this franchise has ever had, and it’s not even remotely close. Dante Reyes is the perfect character to put into a franchise like this at this point to serve not only as a jeering snarling villain but kind of a meta-type character as well.
Whenever this movie seems to be taking its dramatic elements way too seriously, Reyes is always there to give a tone-perfect punch line to jar that rhythm. Sometimes you can just tell when an actor is having an absolute blast playing a character. To me, that’s always a joy to see.
ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING- John Cena’s specialty is comedy. More than anything else, being comedically charming is his forte. In the previous installment F9: THE FAST SAGA, he was WAY too serious, and his performance suffered for that. With this movie, he’s essentially playing a nicer but much more violent version of The Peacemaker.
Cena and the actor playing Dominick’s son Leo Perry have more chemistry on screen than Perry does in his scenes with Diesel. Honestly, a film just involving these two characters going from point A to point B might have made an interesting movie all in itself.
The Vatican attack sequence– As it turns out, the best action sequence in this entire film is the one that is smothered over all of the trailers. There are quite a few set pieces in this film that are very entertaining, but this one has a particular magic that quite literally all of the other ones don’t have. I don’t necessarily feel as if it’s a spoiler to say this, but… this is the only action sequence that features almost every single long-standing protagonist that this franchise has had.
You see, at the end of the day, the thing that gives action sequences in this franchise a special flair is that we often hear this crew interacting with each other as the action goes along. The wise-cracking, the over-the-top reactions to ridiculous things that happen, that’s all a part of the charm. And this is the only sequence with that charm because…
THE BAD STUFF
There are way too many f****** storylines– With this movie, there are so many storylines going on at once that the film doesn’t seem to have time for anything other than to set something up for the next sequel. A lot of signature characters that we’ve gotten accustomed to over the past 10 to 15 years or so barely do anything at all, and in the case of Michelle Rodriguez, are criminally underused.
Maybe this is to set something up with the future sequels to come along the way. If that’s the case, then I don’t think this criticism is going to age very well. But I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, “why did they use that character that way?” Only to find that I would repeat that same question about many characters in this film.
THE UGLY STUFF
I really don’t want to be insensitive when I say this here.
I understand the retirement of the character Brian O’Connor because of the circumstances surrounding Paul Walker’s untimely death. I understand that flat-out saying that the character was dead at around the same time that the actor himself had passed away would seem pretty insensitive at the moment. However, the three different directors that have been in this franchise since FURIOUS 7, not to mention the cast and crew of every film that has happened since Walker’s passing, have mentioned that this character is still very much alive…
He’s just…. like….not doing missions anymore.
Given the nature of the Brian O’Connor character that had been established over six f****** movies, it no longer makes sense for him to be alive and not at all be involved in the events of the movies that came before, and certainly with this one here. The whole mission of Jason Momoa’s character is to go after everybody that Dominic loves instead of going after him personally. This is stated by numerous characters throughout this film and emphasized in the trailer.
However, this villain’s plan of going after everybody that Dominic Toretto loves DOES NOT INVOLVE GOING BRIAN O’CONNOR?!?!
They are kind of writing themselves into a corner. In my humble opinion, they’ve plausibly explained Han’s return, Letty’s amnesia, Dominic Toretto’s long-lost brother, and the backstory of the villain of this film tied to fast five. For some reason, this is something that is left untouched.
My final impression of this film can only be tied to a baseball analogy, so bear with me:
This film hits just as much as it misses. When it misses, it doesn’t even come close to contacting the ball, and it looks like an uncoordinated wild-ass swing. But when it hits, it’s nothing short of a monstrous home run. There were a few choices that could have been made to make this way better than what it was. But ultimately, it gives you the same fun gonzo-type action that the other ones did.
FAST X is in theaters now.