'Fast X' review: Jason Momoa creates a memorable villain in an action-packed franchise installment just for fans (2023)

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OfFast and furiousmovies may only be about fast cars, but the franchise has become so overloaded that it's a miracle they can break the speed limit.

The latest installment in this surprisingly long-running series features so many existing and new characters, both living and presumed dead, that creating callsheets must have been a nightmare. There are so many lovingly rendered images of current and former cast members throughout the film that you'll start to wonder if you're watching an action movie or the world's most violent bar mitzvah.

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Quick X

It comes down toSpoiler alert: Vehicles will be destroyed.

Publication date: Friday, May 19
Form:Vin Diesel,Michelle Rodriguez,Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges,Jason Momoa, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster,John Cena,Jason Statham, Sung Kang, Alan Ritchson, Daneila, Melchior, Scott Eastwood,Helen Mirren,Charlize Theron,Brian Larsen, Rita Moreno
Manager:Louis Leterrier
Screenwriters:Justin Lin, Dan Mazeau
Rated PG-13.2 hours 21 minutes

Considering how much money these films have made for Universal, and the fact that the series has lasted longer than many of its current viewers will have lived, it's hard to blame Vin Diesel and company for going on a streak. . Or rounds, as this supposed franchise finisher (contact me about the bridge I'm selling) is rumored to be the first of not two, but three recent installments.

This edition offers more of what fans have come to expect, and by 'more' I mean 'MORE'. As in: more characters, more stunts, more explosions, more chases, more locations, more of everything. Satisfying,Quick Xdoesn't venture into space, which should really be left to James Bond and Tom Cruise. The film also returns to the rough beginnings by showing a race scene in the middle of the film between the main hero and the villain for no apparent reason. Then again, there's always time in this cinematic universe for a really weird street race.

OfFastfranchise has gotten so complicated that non-crazy fans should get ready to do some serious homework before watching this installment, directed by series newcomer Louis Leterrier (The carrier,There you have it Me), who stepped in at short notice when original director Justin Lin pulled out after concluding that"This movie is not worth my sanity."

On the other hand, even the most diligent preparation probably won't do much good, given that the characters flit from living to dead, heroes to villains, or even in the film to not, depending on the whims and contract of the screenwriters. . negotiations. While much of this is shameless, you can't blame the creators for keeping the memory of the deceased alivePaul Walker, whose character reappears here via footage fromFast five.

It is becauseQuick Xis directly connected to its predecessor, as the main villain in this one, Dante (Jason Momoa), turns out to be the son of the Brazilian drug lord who was murdered in 2011 by Dom Toretto (Diesel) and his crew. jog your memory if you don't remember Momoa appearing in the extended bridge chase in that movie. He has pulled back in the footage to make it clear that Dante has a very strong grudge over his father's death. It seems that Dom isn't the only one in this series who gets emotional over the loss of family members.

Momoa, it turns out, is one of the best things to ever happen to the franchise. He's by far the best villain (not to mention doing a lot of his own stunts) and thoroughly steals the movie with his delightfully unhinged portrayal of Dante, who interrupts his nefarious activities to inform the ever-macho Dom that his " carpet matches the curtains". ” Momoa isn't exactly an actor one associates with ease, but here he practically dances the role as well as acts, reveling in his character's sadistic taunts so insanely happily that you practically root for him even as he threatens to do the Vatican . He gives the impression of it. of having sniffed nitrous oxide before every roof. Dante makes the Joker look like a depressive and he's so damn entertaining that he takes the series to new heights.

He's not the only newcomer to the cast, which includes Brie Larson as the agency's rogue agent; Alan Richtson (as Momoa, anAquariusveteran) as the new head of the agency; Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad) as a Brazilian street racer with previous ties to Dom; and Rita Moreno whom Dom and Mias (Jordana Brewster) love.own. Other than giving an emotional speech at, what else, a family gathering, Moreno's character has no specific reason to be in the film, except when you get the chance to cast Rita Moreno, you take it.

The core cast — including Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, etc. — is back, except this time they're split into different groups scattered around the world, the better to show locations in Rome, Lisbon and London, among others. (I'm assuming the movie wasn't actually shot in Antarctica, where some of the scenes are set, but with that kind of money, you never know.) Needless to say, most of these cities get worse for wear from the experience , especially Rome , which suffers greatly as a result of an extravagant car chase and a massive bomb going off. With both this film and the upcoming oneImpossible mission - Fermented Series: Part Onealmost destroying the city, it wouldn't be surprising if quirky tourists avoid the Spanish Steps for a while.

It's fun just waiting for the next Oscar winner to emerge incongruously, from Larson (obviously a stunner in both this and Marvel worlds) to Helen Mirren (still crushing on Diesel) to Charlize Theron kicking Cipher again. Except this time, Cipher is on the same side as Dom because, as she explains it, "You're the enemy of my enemy." Other returning cast members include John Cena as Dom's brother Jakob, now a good guy (try to keep up), Scott Eastwood as cop "Little Nobody" and Jason Statham, who isn't exactly relieved. There are also plenty of guest appearances that won't be revealed here, although a cursory internet check will reveal them, including one with a certain previousSaturday Night Livecast appearing in a drawn-out unfunny episode that makes the picture cold.

Cena is another standout, showing charm and solid comedic chops in the countless scenes where Jakob protects Dom's young son (Leo Abelo Perry, delivering perfectly calibrated, wide-eyed stares) from Dante. This includes the pair escaping an airliner full of bad guys by taking off in, what else, a smaller plane in the hold.

Twice in the film, giant unwieldy objects leap through busy city streets, causing mayhem in their wake. They're perfect visual metaphors for the films themselves, so filled with over-the-top mayhem and testosterone-fueled macho aggression that they've become utterly ridiculous. What's wrongQuick Xis that it is so aware of its own absurdity that it becomes an amusing parody of itself. Why else would any of the characters point out, "The real question is, how did we let this go on for so long?" It seems like a safe bet that this opening weekend gross will provide ample explanation.

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