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‘Fast X’ gets back to its roots

The ‘Fast & The Furious’ franchise is rapidly drawing to a close with the first film of the last trilogy hitting cinemas this week. The good thing for fans of the franchise is that ‘Fast X’ sees the franchise return to its roots. Yes, there are no mad trips into space this time around. Instead the film focuses on what made the earlier films such a big hit – family, faith and car-driven stunts.

Saturday 20 May 2023, 11:00AM

Vin Diesel in Fast X (2023). Image: IMDb

Vin Diesel in Fast X (2023). Image: IMDb

The film begins with Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel – Pitch Black) and Lettie (Michelle Rodriguez – Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves) playing host to their extended family at their home. They are celebrating the quietness of their lives when suddenly a demon from their past, Cipher (Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road), shows up injured.

She reveals that she received her injuries after an encounter with a determined psychopath, Dante (Jason Momoa – Aquaman), who is determined to wreak havoc on the world and get revenge with Dom over his father’s life.

As Dom and his associates get ready to go to war with him, they soon find themselves on the Law Enforcement wanted list again after Mr Nobody disappears. His replacement, Aimes (Alan Ritchson – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) is determined to put the whole team behind bars – but they suddenly find an ally in their corner – Nobody’s daughter, Tess (Brie Larson – Captain Marvel).

The good old fashioned goodies vs baddies storyline works well for Fast X and is a welcome return to some more believable storylines. No film in this franchise has ever lived up to the brilliance of Fast & Furious 5, which was basically a South American cartel story, but Fast X goes very close to that.

The reason for that is simple – the team of writers and of course director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) understand what Fast fans want – they don’t need their heroes doing obscure things like going into space; they just want simple action and something creative… and Fast X delivers that by the tonne.

It is the simple things that work best here – the brilliant car/bomb chase through the streets of Rome and of course the fight that all the fans have been waiting for: Lettie taking on Cipher – a fight that has years of hatred fuelling it. The fact that both the chase and the fight are brought to the screen in creative ways just gives them a big thumbs up and will ensure the adrenaline running through the fans as they sit eating their popcorn.

The writing team also needs to be congratulated for creating such an interesting villain. Many action films would have just taken the easy road with Dante and made him a father looking to avenge his father’s death. They would have given him some guns and a lot of money and let his henchmen do all the work – but oh no, here the writers have made Dante completely unique. He is a special kind of psychopath who is creative, proven by the scene with his ‘corpse friends’, and has enough characterisation to allow Jason Momoa to put his own personal stamp on the role while delivering an acting performance that is worthy of serious respect.

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What also works with Fast X is taking a lot of the characters back to their ‘roots’. While it is a very simple plot device suddenly leaving Roman (Tyrese Gibson – Baby Boy), Tej (Ludacris – Crash), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel – Game Of Thrones) and Han (Sung Kang – Bullet To The Head) with no tech and very little money is a good reset for all of their characters. And while the storyline of Jakob (John Cena – Suicide Squad) having to race across country with Dom’s son, Little Brian (Leo Abelo Perry – Cheaper By The Dozen), is cheesy at times, it does add another level of naturalness to the film as well.

Aside from all of that, what keeps the audience on their toes here is the fact that there are so many twists and turns. We want this review to remain spoiler free but be ready for a lot of things to happen in this film that you don’t see coming. Some characters aren’t who they seem while some old favourites pop up out of nowhere – the good thing is that neither the writers or director allow those things to be sign-posted so they are genuine surprises for the audience.

Fast X is going to be loved by fans of the franchise. Some intelligent screenwriting means a lot of the film returns to basics and sees a lot of the characters people have come to know and love put through some real tests. Hollywood lore should tell all fans that with the franchise soon ending no character is safe and that is certainly shown with this film. Hats off to Vin Diesel, Louis Leterrier and their teams because they have created a film that the fans will love, amazing stunts and a villain that will certainly be remembered long after the credits roll.

Fast X is currently screening in Phuket and is rated ‘13’.

3.5/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at

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