REVIEW: ‘Fast X’ Pays Tribute to the Past & Introduces Its Very Own Joker

Lead Photo: Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
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How do you cap off one of the most ambitious, explosive, and fun movie franchises in recent memory? If you’re Vin Diesel and company, you kick off the beginning of the end with something bigger, badder, and perhaps even more audacious. Fast X, the latest entry in the franchise (and, depending on who you believe — Diesel or the studio — the first of the final two or three films in the series) doesn’t slow down, speeding through its 2-hour and change runtime. 

The end result is a true blast that feels like a fitting beginning to the end of an iconic moment in film history. It’s also an ending that threatens to blow up everything Dominic Toretto and his family have worked for over the past 9 movies — literally and figuratively. 

Fast X starts by taking us back to one of the many iconic moments in the franchise — the heist in Rio from Fast Five. Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), the drug kingpin and very dead villain of that movie has a son, Dante (Jason Momoa) who survived the events of that movie. Now, he’s back for revenge. 

In Dante, the Fast family has found its Joker — a villain so fun, so unhinged, and so hellbent on pure anarchy and suffering, it’s hard to look away. Thanks to Dante’s scheming, the family is apart, and might stay that way forever. On the road to stopping this juggernaut of revenge and chaos, the family will have to travel around the world, reunite with old friends, meet new ones, work with old enemies, and do everything in their power to keep their legacy and themselves alive. 

Jason Momoa as Dante in Fast X, directed by Louis Leterrier.
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The best moments in Fast X are, as per usual, the insane set pieces. 

Take, for instance, a sequence early on where Toretto and company have to save the Vatican (!!) from being destroyed by a huge rolling bomb. There are also breathless car chases, fight sequences, moments of warm humor, and fun cameos that keep the movie rolling through the end (shoutout to Rita Moreno as Abuela Toretto, I know her maduros are impeccable). It’s a wild ride and a fun time, but it’s not perfect either. 

Admittedly, it’s hard to follow up taking the Fast franchise into space (nice work in F9, Justin Lin), but when Fast X fixates on the past stunts during a moment of exposition and at varying points in dialogue, it can feel insecure. It’s hard to balance reverence, continuity, and homage to the previous installments of the franchise, and mostly Director Louis Leterrier does a fair job, but Fast X is much more fun when it’s leaning into doing its own thing. 

Among the cameos, set pieces, and warm musings on family and legacy, Fast X forges its own path toward the franchise’s explosive end. As the first of a multipart finale, the film ends on a cliffhanger that is guaranteed to make your jaw drop that I won’t spoil here. We’ll have to wait and see if our favorite, high-octane family can make it to the finish line.

Fast X hits theaters on May 19, 2023.