Review: ‘Fast X’ proves you really can have too much of a good thing
In rebellion of gravity, rationale and basic slamming, “Quick X” hits theaters stupider and more scrumptious than any time in recent memory. But the supercharged stupidity, paycheck acting, and absurd stunts quickly take away the excitement. “Fast X” slows down to a crawl as the smallest of the “The Fast and the Furious” litter after ten films in 22 years and a $6 billion box office jackpot.
It had to happen, excitement giving way to age-related desperation. “Fast Five,” still the bracing best of the bunch, put a tiger in the series tank by switching gears from illegal street racing in Los Angeles to a “Mission Impossible” ripoff where cars became peripheral to the global action.
In “Fast X,” the drain of redundancy kicks in as king of the road Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) again takes the wheel. His extended family and crew is headed by Dom’s wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and their son Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) named after Brian O’Connor, the undercover cop and Dom bestie played by Paul Walker, who died in a car crash in 2013.
The plot? I couldn’t find any, except it has something to do with an incident in “Fast Five,” when Dom and Brian killed drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) in Rio de Janeiro, leaving his son Dante vowing to break Dom’s family piece by piece. Ouch!
Since we never head of Dante in the previous films, it’s a welcome if wacky surprise to see him turn up in the screen-filling, scene-stealing presence of Jason Momoa (“Aquaman”) who turns his desire to see Dom suffer into a life-of-the-party tour de force.
Yeah, it makes no sense but Momoa revs up the movie with a full tank of deranged comic energy. He will also catch hell for indulging in flamboyant queer stereotypes. “I’m Dante, enchanté,” he announces, claiming to “adore” surprises and dressed to wow in glitter shirts with rings and painted nails. Offensive or intentional sendup? You be the judge.
Diesel can’t hold his own against the mountain of Momoa so he compensates by taking his stunts to a surreal limit whether he’s using his wheels to drive down the wall of a dam or knock a bomb off course. That’s way better than hearing him make speeches: “Without honor, you got no family. Without family, you got nothing!” Shut up, already.
Director Louis Leterrier, of two “Transporter” films, is new to the series, but can’t seem to come up with anything new to shoot. That’s why “Fast X” comes off like a greatest hits package so abbreviated that nothing resonates.
The A-list cast, notably Oscar winners Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Brie Larson and Rita Moreno, are in and out, though Theron and Rodriguez do have one kickass fight scene.