Fast and Furious 10: The Franchise Has Embraced Its Own Parody

Fast X

Gone are the days when Dominic Toretto and his crew were known for boosting illegal DVDs. Fast & Furious has evolved into a globetrotting tentpole franchise that rivals the giants of action cinema. Vin Diesel, the star of the series, takes it incredibly seriously, despite its reputation for over-the-top entertainment. With the absence of longtime writer Chris Morgan and franchise veterans like Justin Lin, Diesel brings a self-seriousness to Fast X, aided by director Louis Leterrier, known for his work on Transporter.

The outcome is an absurd, hodgepodge blockbuster that stretches the boundaries of Fast & Furious’ own reality. After ten movies, the franchise has become a caricature of itself, embracing its own parody-like nature.

Jason Momoa is the standout of Fast X
Jason Momoa is the standout of Fast X

Fast X transports us back a decade to the pivotal moments of Fast Five, specifically the iconic bank vault heist that altered the franchise’s trajectory. However, this time around, it’s a different kind of heist that unfolds. Amidst footage from the 2011 film, we witness hilariously absurd scenes featuring Jason Momoa’s Dante, the son of drug lord Hernan Reyes, who conveniently makes his presence known. Following his father’s commands, Dante relentlessly pursues Dom and Brian (played by the late Paul Walker), but things quickly take a turn for the worse. Dante finds himself tossed into a river and teeters on the brink of death, while his father meets his demise during Dom and Brian’s getaway. Consumed by anger, Dante blames Dom for his father’s demise and the subsequent downfall of his family’s wealth. Thus begins the scheme that thrusts Dom into his most monumental and devastating confrontation yet—or so it seems.

See also  Discovering Delicious In Dungeon: Netflix's Upcoming Series

Despite the film’s high-stakes narrative, which casts Dom and his crew as international fugitives falsely accused of bombing half of Rome, a staggering 85 percent of Fast X is filled with cartoonish antics. The remaining portion is dedicated to Vin Diesel’s unwavering belief in his own delusions, portraying Dom Toretto as a cinematic deity and suggesting that Fast & Furious is revolutionizing the cultural landscape in its own image. It’s almost endearing to witness Fast X build up Dom as a new American mythological figure, spoken of in hushed whispers and revered as a cult-like leader by the secondary antagonist and new Agency leader, Aimes (played with instant charisma by Alan Ritchson). However, despite the film’s villains delivering numerous monologues that would be better suited for a Mission Impossible movie, Dom falls short of being an Ethan Hunt. No matter how many slow-motion shots capture Dom tenderly cradling yet another injured lady (which happens multiple times), Fast X fails to convince us otherwise.

If only every subplot in Fast X didn’t turn its characters into exaggerated caricatures, the film’s peculiarly self-serious approach might have been more tolerable. The B-team, consisting of Roman (played by an extra grating Tyrese Gibson this time around), Tej (Ludacris), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and the ever-cool Han (Sung Kang, who manages to shine despite the material), find themselves constantly stumbling through misadventures in London. Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, reveling in her solo moments) reluctantly forms an uneasy alliance with Cipher (Charlize Theron, finally getting a chance to showcase her fighting skills) within a half-hearted prison storyline. Jakob (John Cena, undergoing an abrupt personality transplant, reminiscent of his dopey Peacemaker role) is entrusted with protecting Dom’s child, Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), in an action-comedy road trip subplot. Lastly, Mia (Jordana Brewster) briefly appears for a single fight scene and then mysteriously disappears… or so it seems?

See also  Secret Invasion Chronicles: Marvel's TV Adaptation Reinvents the Superhero Narrative
Fast X

Fast X comes across as a mishmash of four distinct movies, each with its own wildly contrasting tone. While Fast & Furious has previously managed to balance its unwieldy ensemble, Fast X struggles as it introduces new characters and squeezes in surprising cameos to build up towards the climactic finale. Unfortunately, franchise newcomers like Brie Larson, portraying the daughter of Kurt Russell’s Mr. Nobody, and Daniela Melchior, a spirited street racer with ties to Dom, are given disappointingly limited roles. However, the over-the-top performance of Momoa as Dante, the film’s scenery-chewing new villain, more than compensates for the shortcomings.

Dante, played by Momoa, easily stands out as the franchise’s best villain to date, exuding chaos as he bounds from one setpiece to another, as if auditioning to be the next Joker. With a bold, erratic, and lewd demeanor, Momoa’s Dante possesses more personality in his messily-painted pinky finger than half of the brooding cast of Fast X. This stark contrast only serves to highlight the hilarity of Diesel’s numerous attempts at evoking emotion through his perpetually pursed lips. Momoa understands the kind of movie he’s in, even if Fast X has lost the self-awareness that Justin Lin brought back with F9. Meanwhile, Louis Leterrier, reduced to the role of a journeyman director, sporadically inserts stylistic flourishes like split diopters or lighting tricks, as if to remind viewers of his directing prowess.

Fortunately, Fast X delivers the expected dose of wild and outrageous stunts that fans have come to anticipate after 10 movies in the Fast & Furious saga. However, with each increasingly absurd setpiece, Fast X pushes the boundaries of even the most devoted Fast & Furious enthusiasts’ ability to suspend disbelief. From Jakob and Brian Jr. leaping out of a plane in a kayak to Dom employing his car as a whack-a-mole device during a street race and skillfully maneuvering two helicopters to collide, the film constantly tests the limits. Even the most impressive setpiece, featuring Dom using his car to play ping-pong with a massive rolling bomb through the streets of Rome, resembles the action-movie equivalent of Batman’s unforgettable “some days you can’t get rid of a bomb!” scene.

See also  Sequel Superiority: 10 Movies That Surpass Their Originals

While the Fast & Furious franchise has never aimed to be high art, it has always embraced its identity as pure, popcorn-fueled entertainment. However, Fast X may mark a turning point—the moment when Diesel and his co-stars begin to believe their own hype, elevating themselves to the status of cinema’s new American deities. Fast X is undeniably big, loud, dumb, and occasionally enjoyable. Its main issue lies in its aspiration to be something more than it truly is.

Leave a Reply