THE ABSTRACT: Fast X is Fast and Furious without apology and that’s fine by me.

Speculation has been running wild about the future of the Fast and Furious franchise ever since the urban racers launched a vehicle into space in the 2021 installment, F9. The series seems committed to continually surpassing its predecessors’ level of absurdity, a theme which has left fans asking, “what’s the next frontier?” This question is answered in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier, which raises the stakes with more speed, grander explosions, and resounding affirmations about family while simultaneously signaling a return to the series’ origins.

The 10th installment, rumored to be the first part of a trilogy, begins by returning the crew, with few exceptions, to their Los Angeles roots, filled with domestic barbeques and Coronas. In a delightful twist, Rita Moreno appears as the matron of the Toretto siblings. However, peace doesn’t last long as the crew discovers they’ve been lured into an intricate plot by Dante Reyes, the vengeful son of Hernan Reyes, who perished in 2011’s Fast Five.

Jason Momoa masterfully embodies Dante Reyes, stirring up a cinematic frenzy as the antagonist of the piece. Drawing upon his vast resources, power, weaponry, and henchmen, Dante frames Dom’s crew for his own offenses and embarks on an elaborate stratagem to ensnare them in a world of chaos. While his villainy is unsettling, Momoa’s flamboyantly dressed and hilariously deranged character adds a comedic flair to the movie.

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Despite being targeted, Dom’s crew, including Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Han (Sung Kang), are not alone. The crew receives assistance from a myriad of familiar faces, including Cypher (Charlize Theron), Queenie (Helen Mirren) and her son Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), Jakob Toretto (John Cena), and Dom’s sibling Mia (Jordana Brewster). Newcomer Brie Larson joins the ensemble as Tess, a cunningly lethal government agent who sides with the team.

The intricate plot designed by scriptwriters Dan Mazeau and Justin Lin is a thrilling homage to the franchise’s past. Familiar spectacles like the bridge in Rio and vehicles hurtling out of planes amidst explosions are revisited, yet the action-packed narrative remains fresh and exhilarating. The Fast X narrative sees the crew pursued by both government entities and Dante’s henchmen using the potent “Eye of God” computer software introduced in Furious Seven.

Although at times the movie feels hampered by excessive, lackluster dialogue and seemingly redundant conflict amongst allies, when the action is ignited, the film excels. Even at its most outrageous, Fast X is undeniably entertaining. As each scene unfolds, you find yourself oscillating between skepticism and amusement, fully aware of its absurdity yet excusing it anyway, much like an endearingly naughty puppy.

The film concludes on a suspenseful note, hinting at upcoming thrills in either another F&F installment or a possible Hobbs and Shaw sequel. Amidst the pandemonium, Vin Diesel’s incessantly repeated musings about family add a layer of familiarity that grounds the film, allowing the audience to embrace the spectacle of dazzling explosions and charismatic actors. The Fast and Furious series’ primary aim is to stir things up and keep the audience amused, a goal that Fast X undoubtedly achieves.

WORDS: brice.

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