Fast X (aka Fast & Furious 10) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
The biggest highlight of this tenth Fast & Furious film is the addition of Jason Mamoa as the villain Dante. Though he has his motives for getting revenge on Dom and his crew, he’s played up as an eccentric comic book villain. He’s a character who realizes he’s in a Fast & Furious movie and that these action pictures of manic and wild car chases are loud and over-the-top. His flamboyant attitude matches the fast-paced craziness of the franchise, making this entry one of the most notable.
First, let’s address the action as exciting and over-the-top as ever. The first car chase sequence is a mad dash across the streets of Rome to prevent a giant, spherical bomb from blowing up the Vatican. If you were hoping to see Vin Diesel pull some superhero stunt like lifting a car on its side with his bare hands, you’re in luck. If you were hoping to see mid-air rescues of improbable physics as with past films, you’d get giddy at the film’s explosive climax. There’s also no shortage of fistfights, especially brutal duels between Michelle Rodriguez and Charlize Theron. For a film franchise that was last seen launching its street racers into space, this film gets closer to the simpler thrills of watching Dom play pinball with a giant bomb. That’s the FF saga I’ve come to know and love.
In what has become a silly trademark of the films, family is essential, and this entry stresses that more than ever. It’s not just about Dom protecting his kid (although he does) or working alongside his reunited brother Jakob (John Cena), which he does as well. This time the villain is completely driven to disgrace Dom and his crew, directly targeting everybody’s family. There’s more to preserve and more to lose than ever for the bald dude who once raced cars and now has to prevent the world from blowing up.
The past few villains of the Fast movies have always remained relatively tongue-in-cheek with their par-for-the-course plans for chaos. This is not the case with Dante, as Mamoa is equal parts hilarious and vicious, a perfect blend of the film series' best tones, making for a villain that fans never knew they wanted before. Everything from exploding cars to kidnapping kids is a real treat for Dante, who styles his hair, paints his nails, and holds one-sided conversations with his henchmen like the kookiest psychopaths.
The rest of the characters present (and a lot in this expanding ensemble) shine brighter here, with a beefier running time and plenty to do in the many arcs. Tyrese Gibson (Tej) and Ludacris (Roman) are still the perfect comedic duo for their bickering and love amid hacking, driving, money, and insults. They’re also well-balanced by Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey) and Sung Kang (Han), who mostly sit back and let them fight. John Cena plays the cool dad when he takes care of Dom’s kid and showcases his fun arsenal of mixtapes and armed cars. I’ve already boasted about my love for the fights between Michelle Rodriguez (Letty) and Charlize Theron (Cipher), but some love is deserved for Sung Kang and his rival Shaw played by Jason Statham. Even the new additions of Alan Ritchson and Brie Larson also get their moments to shine as members of the mysterious Agency.
Your mileage may vary depending on what you want out of films with car chases, terrorists, and a massive cast, but Fast X is easily my favorite. It’s one of the more comfortable films that find a great way to bring together this crowded franchise into an intense and explosively entertaining cliffhanger of a picture. Compared to F8 and F9, F10 delivers on the fun, especially for Mamoa’s performance which should delight even the most jaded of viewers for this on-going series of films.