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Davis Journal

‘Fast X’ entertaining, but just a start

May 30, 2023 11:15AM ● By Jenniffer Wardell

By this point in the franchise, you’re either a “Fast and the Furious” fan or you’re not.

The series has always been a very specific flavor, an action movie blended with a cartoon and turned up to 11. Each entry has doubled down on the movie before, making the crashes bigger and more ridiculous and throwing the word “family” in there even more often. People come back from the dead more regularly than they do on soap operas, and no one explains references to previous films. If all of this isn’t your cup of tea, you stopped watching these movies a long time ago.

So I’m speaking to the fans when I say that “Fast X” is only half a movie. It’s a really long half a movie, clocking in at two hours and 20 minutes, and at no point during that stretch of time will you be bored. But there’s no mini arc in this film, no moment of temporary closure that leaves you satisfied but still eager for more. Fifteen different things happen, 45 more things are set up, and everything explodes, but you’ll still leave feeling like the movie got cut off halfway through.

The plot ties back to “Fast Five,” giving the bad guy from that movie a son who now hates Dom and his family with every fiber of his being. He executes the first stage of his massive revenge plan at the start of the movie, causing mayhem, violence, and destruction at every turn. As is fitting for the opening of the franchise’s final spin, nearly everyone who’s ever interacted with the team makes an appearance.

As the new villain, Jason Momoa is almost alarmingly good. He’s full-on evil, enough to be genuinely unsettling at various points, but he’s also so over-the-top he fits into this franchise like he was made for it. It makes him an even more effective antagonist than Charlize Theron, who was fun in her own way but tended to alter the energy of the series rather than keep up with it.

Everything else here is also pretty entertaining. A lot of the side characters really only have time to be introduced, but their initial appearances have all the crashing and explosions the series is known for. There are a few genuinely spectacular stunt sequences, full of all kinds of delightfully ridiculous driving, and “family” is said so many times it might be a series record.

What’s hard, though, is that everything feels like it just barely gets started. There are so many introductions, crashes and explosions that people barely have time to find their feet, let alone make the plot progress. Then the movie ends with a sequence of massive cliffhangers, which are so big they immediately become less impactful to those of us familiar with the series. By this point, we fans are aware of how “Fast and the Furious” movies work.

It’s possible that when “Fast 11” comes out, it will combine with “Fast X” to be a massive, mind-blowing combo movie. Until then, though, it feels like this engine is just getting started.

Grade: Three stars

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Utah Film Critics Association. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at [email protected].  λ