Connect with us

Film Reviews

‘Fast X’ review: Dir. Louis Leterrier (2023)

The Fast And The Furious franchise is reportedly nearing the end of the road, with Fast X the first in a two-part (or three-part, if Vin is to be believed) finale for the street racing turned spy action-adventure franchise that began in 2001. 

The franchise is unique in the stacked stable of Hollywood studio’s intellectual properties. A modest hit when first out the gate, the Fast franchise has evolved into something far beyond its more ‘grounded’ starting line. It was always high octane – it’s easy to forget just how silly the nos-antics were from the very start – but the scale of the physics-defying action sequences have continued to balloon to dizzying heights, with the last instalment even hitting the outer reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. It has always been one of the most diverse franchises out there both in front of and behind the camera, with drama both on and off the screen throughout the years, from reported casting feuds to the real-life tragedy of Paul Walker’s passing. 

It does feel right that the tale of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his extended family of driving experts and tech wizzes should be drawing to a close, even if it will drag it out beyond one or even two further instalments. Just how big can you keep on going, and what more can you put La Familia through before the tank starts to run empty. From the evidence of Fast X Part One, that road to the finale is off to a bumpy start. 

The warning signs were there from early on in the production. Director Justin Lin – who has helmed five sequels and has very much cemented the template for how these movies are made- left the movie days after production kicked off. Creative differences were given as the reason, and a replacement was found in the form of Louis Leterrier, director of Transporter 2 and The Incredible Hulk, whose last Hollywood flick was 2016’s poorly received Grimsby. 

With a release date to hit and a bloating budget – reported to be around $340 million, made worse by the fact that the production was haemorrhaging a million a day while the search for a new director proceeded –  the task put in front of Leterrier was not an enviable one. Having to wrangle huge set pieces in locations across the world with a massive cast of returning and new faces, and no script locked in is a daunting prospect. The fact that it all got done on time is something of a small miracle in and of itself. But the actual movie, unfortunately, bares the signs of that rush to the finish line, standing as one of the messier entries in the storied saga. 

The plot revolves around Dom coming face to face with new antagonist Dante Reyes (Jason Mamoa), the son of Fast Five’s chief villain, and he is bent on revenge by pulling Dom’s family apart. And pull them apart he does, as the team is fractured across the globe, desperately evading the authorities after being framed for a terrorist attack in Rome, while also looking over their shoulders for when Dante may next strike. 

Breaking up the family is not a terrible thurst for this entry, particularly building into a cliffhanger finale to up the ante and maintain excitement for the next instalment, which will surely see all the narratives come together for a good old-fashioned team-up. But even by the standards of this franchise – which has never particularly been one to care too much about logic and story mechanics – the stitching between moments and set pieces feels threadbare and rushed, barely holding together as we dahs back and forth across the various subplots and characters. 

There is simply too much to manage and much of the humour and action feels tired, desperate and unimaginative. There isn’t much here that matches the kind of giddy heights that particularly Lin’s instalments brought to the table. On paper, it is all very much more of the same, but there’s something that feels a little off. Much of the action is covered through dizzying drone footage, while the editing is disorientating, the sound mix headache-inducing and the CGI touches rushed and unconvincing. 

The same can be said for the soap opera dramatics that has become a part of the franchise’s DNA. Many of the emotional beats likewise rushed out within the chaos with little time given to them to sink in at all. The franchise has always been at its most endearing when earnestly standing by its ideas of family, and there are certainly flashes of that in Fast X, particularly when it comes to Dom’s relationship with his son, Brian (sweetly performed by Leo Abelo Perry). But there’s simply too many players to focus on, with the film’s pacing often zig-zagging between chaotic action, cringe-inducing comic beats and sequel setup. 

The film’s saving grace is its antagonist, Mamos’ unhinged Dante. Coming out the gate as easily the most flamboyant and maniacal foe the Toretto family has ever faced, Mamoa gives the film a shot of fresh energy whenever he is on screen. He’s both very funny and incredibly intimidating, with much of Dante’s actions often proving to be very unpredictable, and at times incredibly dark. Sure, most of his plans ultimately just involve sticking bombs in places they shouldn’t be, but Mamoa’s presence is always a welcome sight throughout the crowded affair, and he is a more than worthy villain with which to see out the franchise. 

Fast X does have all the elements you would expect from an F&F, but sadly the execution this time out leaves this first chapter of the closing stretch a jumbled, messy and cluttered affair. But there are flashes of the ludicrous energy that fans have come to love that should get you across the finish line, largely supplied by the scene-stealing Mamoa, who easily struts off with the film with his wild charisma and glorious silk lilac pants. Let’s hope the next lap is a little smoother. 

Fast X

Andrew Gaudion



Fast X does have all the elements you would expect from an F&F, but sadly the execution this time out leaves this first chapter of the closing stretch a jumbled, messy and cluttered affair.



Latest Posts


More in Film Reviews