Fast X

Silly villain saves the day!

Okay, it’s the tenth Fast and Furious movie. But is it? This franchise these days is really stretching the sequel concept. It all started, if you remember as far back as 2001, with an entertaining and believable story about street racing in L.A. Since then, the series has morphed into a sort of generic, physics-bedamned, overcrowded Bond/Bourne/Mission: Impossible mess that seems to exist solely to give Hollywood’s stuntmen and (second-tier) CGI artists something to do.

I can’t say I’ve seen (or remembered) them all. Or maybe they’re so action-packed and interchangeable that it doesn’t matter. The save-the-world plots now seem to be just aimed at setting up the next action set piece. Through the years, the writers have killed off characters (notably Michelle Rodriguez) and resurrected them a few films later (amnesia is such a convenient device). Vin Diesel skipped a few, I think. And Dwayne Johnson showed up in a few.

Plot summary: car chase, talk about family, fist fight, car chase, talk tough, gunfight, drive car out of airplane, reaffirm the importance of family, talk tough, truck chase, sermon on family values, one more absurd car/airplane/truck chase. Intersperse with cameos by overqualified actors. The talking parts are boring, and the noisy ones kept waking me up. At the end, there’s little suspense or sense of danger, and none of it means anything except as a device to separate 13-year-old boys from their allowances.

Say something nice, Don. Okay. Jason Momoa is the villain this time around the track. I had serious doubts about this at first, as the only acting talent he has exhibited so far is glaring menacingly. But this vengeful, bonkers, and delightfully campy psychopath turned out to be the film’s saving grace. The guy’s a blast. New respect. Ditto and just as unexpected for John Cena, in a much smaller part.

Note: taking Hollywood greed to a new level, this is only the first third of the final F&F movie. I’ll be skipping the other two. (141 min)