We are eleven films into the Fast and Furious franchise now, this being the tenth instalment in the main saga, so you best go into this knowing exactly what to expect. It's simply become a bulletproof franchise where critics or bad word of mouth won't stop them from raking in the money at the box-office, and everyone involved is so aware of this they're one step away from winking to the camera as they fly a car through the sky. Fast X comes so close to this actually happening (not even kidding!) and it's one hell of an uneven yet entertaining ride.

Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family have outsmarted and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they must confront the most lethal opponent they've ever faced. Fueled by revenge, Dante (Jason Momoa) emerges from the shadows of the past to shatter Dom's world and destroy everything -- and everyone -- he loves.
I'll get the ugly stuff out of the way first and the most glaring thing has to be the film's screenplay, Dan Mazeau and Justin Lin cooking up arguably the worst of the franchise - which really is saying something - as nonsensical as it is hilarious at times. It all makes for a rather uneven ride as the film goes full throttle from scene-to-scene, laying waste to cities and then each other within the blink of an eye. They've recently announced Fast X is the start of a trilogy to close out the franchise (I'll believe it when I see it), and they make sure they keep viewers hooked with one of the most infuriating endings to a film I've seen in recent years. Like, how dare you stop a film right there!

The saving grace of the film, like many that came before it, is its action sequences. They take pride in trying to outdo themselves when a new film comes around and, even though they went to space in the last film, they actually manage that here. It's what these films have become about, switching your brain off for some sheer dumb action escapism we don't seem to get enough of these days, and you can't help but get swept up in it all. There's a sequence involving a bomb on the streets of Rome that had me howling because of just how dumb it all was. Louis Leterrier is in the director's chair yet these films almost direct themselves these days, or maybe Vin Diesel just straps a camera to the hood of his car and drives. There's no fingerprints of a filmmaker really present at all, the film's identity being based purely on adrenalin and chaos. Maybe it isn't the way films should be made but when you entertain a crowd like this did (clapping and cheering aplenty) who honestly cares anymore?
Each new entry in the franchise brings with it an array of new characters to add to the "family", and it's those characters here that breathe some new life into what was starting to become a little bit stale. It's Jason Momoa's Dante who is the best thing about the whole film, the villain of the piece played with such pizzazz and humour, as well as an undercurrent of vengeful determination. In similar fashion to when Dwayne Johnson reinvigorated the franchise with his introduction in Fast Five, Momoa brings a different approach to the antagonist within the franchise and sets up what I can only imagine will be a thoroughly entertaining trilogy to close it all. The biggest compliment I can give Momoa is that the film faltered a little whenever he wasn't on screen and I was just anticipating his next scene every single time.

Brie Larson and Alan Ritchson join the fun as two members of the agency we saw Kurt Russell recruit Dom and his family into. While they don't do anything spectacular, they share a scene which I still can't decide to be either utterly awful or inspired as we take a walk down memory lane. It genuinely feels like a parody yet it fits the tone of the film incredibly well. Everyone else absolutely sleepwalks through the film, Vin Diesel delivering what are supposed to be emotional lines far less convincingly than he can say "I am Groot" while Tyrese Gibson continues to be the one recurring irritant amongst the cast. Seriously, the film is overstuffed as it is, we don't need Roman acting a fool to long it out even more.

"You'll belive a man can fly." once read the tagline for Superman back in 1978 and who'd have thought we'd see cars doing stuff Superman can only dream of in films these days? Fast X chalks up another ridiculous outing for the family where they claim it's the beginning of the end of the road. I'm just hoping that road isn't as long as the runway in their sixth outing.

Verdict: ½


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