by Rob DiCristino
A warning here, at the outset: There is absolutely no reason for anyone but a dyed-in-the-wool Fast & Furious superfan to see Fast X. There’s nothing for the laymen here. Do you know why Dom wants Cipher dead? Do you know why Han and Shaw would make a bad team? Would you recognize Scott Eastwood if you saw him in a public place? No? Then Fast X isn’t for you. It’s for the die-hards. The true believers. It’s for those possessing the patience to navigate its labyrinthine interpersonal relationships and suspend disbelief long enough to forgive its blatant disregard for the natural laws of gods and men. It’s barely a movie, really; it’s a greatest hits album writ large in IMAX, a desperate attempt to bottle whatever remaining goodwill audiences still have for the franchise as it sputters incoherently into its third decade. Do you like cloying plays for nostalgia? Great. Do you care that Paul Walker’s death robbed these films of their emotional core a decade ago? No? Fantastic. Enjoy the very loud, very stupid Fast X.Fast Five. While our heroes face off with drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida), Fast X reveals that his son Dante (Jason Momoa) was injured in the battle, waking later to find his father dead and their empire in ruins. Swearing revenge, Dante spends the ensuing years gathering power and neutralizing enemies, with cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) as his latest target. When a bruised and battered Cipher crawls her way to his front door, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) realizes that his past misdeeds are coming back to haunt him. Gather the Family and fight back, right? Too late: Dante has already lured most of the gang into various traps, and the rest soon find themselves dancing to his sadistic tune. Dom’s only backup is Tess (Brie Larson), an agency operative who believes that her new boss Aimes (Alan Ritchson) is playing a secret role in the conspiracy against Toretto and his family.
Like its predecessors, Fast X is a globe-hopping, muscle-bound extravaganza of excess punctuated by brawny one-liners and computer-generated delights. Fan-favorite characters like Tej (Ludacris), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Han (Sung Kang) all have ample screen time, with Fast luminary Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and sophomore teammate Jakob (John Cena) leading significant B-plots of their very own. A thrilling car chase in Rome gives way to clandestine operations on the streets of London; a mile-high airliner escape leads to a trek across the Antarctic wilderness. It’s all here! All at once! Mostly at random! That reckless narrative abandon is part of the fun, of course, as are the endless cameos — Remember anyone from any Fast movie ever? They’re back! — and Toretto’s single-minded commitment to protecting his family from threats he mostly brings upon them all by himself. Hidden siblings? You bet! Nonsensical computer hacking? It’s here. Bulletproof protagonists? This is Fast & Furious, baby!
Fast X is in theaters Thursday.