There was a time when the cult following for the Fast franchise was strong and invigorating, especially when Paul Walker was alive and playing Brian O’Conner. Walker was a big component of that franchise, but his role ended with Furious 7 in 2015, when he died in an auto crash as that film was wrapping up its production. Fans of the franchise have seemed to remain loyal up to this most recent film, Fast X. That loyalty may not survive this film.
Vin Diesel is still in this Fast film as Dominic Toretto. There are some new characters, but there are enough of the old ones to still have continuity with the franchise. The main characters are Mia Toretto (played by Jordan Brewster), Roman (played by Tyrese Gibson), Letty Ortiz (played by Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (played by Ludacris), Cipher (played by Charlize Theron), Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham), Queenie (played by Helen Mirren), and Jakob (played by John Cena). The enemy in Fast X is Dante, played by Jason Momoa, and that is where the film starts to plateau with misdirection and out-of-focus writing. The film seems to degrade into basically just bad guys and car destruction.
In Fast X, Dominic finds himself in danger once again. This time he has been targeted by Dante, the son of a drug cartel leader who delivers all kinds of dangerous technology so powerful that it can destroy cities and even continents, and do all kinds of extreme damage at the click of the button. Dominic must rely on the people in his life including Mia, Roman, Letty, Tej and Jakob to help get through the life threatening danger Dante poses. But there is no escape from the reality of the situation that Dominic finds himself in.
Fast X does have some hidden gems to give its viewers an idea of where the Fast franchise will likely head going forward. But to me, at this point it seems that it’s about making money rather than trying to create a stronger story. The bottom line is that it’s a challenge to carry on this franchise without Walker. The role of Diesel is what is keeping the franchise going. But Fast X has gone from street racing and gangs, to cars in space and cars destroying cities with tons of mass damage that is over the top and doesn’t always seem to have a purpose.
In my view Fast X shows that this franchise is running out of ideas—in storyline, plot development, and in keeping its characterizations intact. There is a rather long line of boredom in Fast X, with over-the-top car explosives repeated continuously. As I said before, it seems to just be about profit.
Fast X also seems to me to be a lot like a film by Michael Bay, but with cars doing the damage instead of robots. Its stunts are more and more like the styles of Bay, which does not create a strong direction for this franchise. Instead, it’s becoming confusing and frustrating. Two stars for Fast X.