‘I’ ON CULTURE
You know what you’re getting when you see a Fast & Furious film. Lots of talk about family, insider gags between the regulars, and car chases that defy not only the laws of the road but even basic physics. Fast X is the 10th in the series, and it follows that same pattern. That can get a bit boring, but this time there’s a bit more betrayal and a really over-the-top villain. So even though the story is a bit dumb, it keeps your attention.
Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is again the patriarch of the mixed clan that has declared itself a family. We get a chance to see him with his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son Brian (Leo Abelo Perry), along with all his regulars. But most of his family are called away by the government to deal with a problem in Rome that turns out to be a trap. It seems that the son of the villain from Fast 5, Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) is out for revenge, and he is not all that interested in killing off Dom and his family as making them suffer.
So they get framed and, of course, sold out by the government, and have to face Reyes and a huge army of his thugs by themselves. I find it strange that in just about every movie, the major villains keep hiring armies of thugs. Wouldn’t it be simpler to follow what happens in the real world and just buy politicians? It would cost less, and they would not only shaft whoever you want, but would protect you as well. As has been said, there are two classes of politicians: those who are bought and those not worth the money. But this is Hollywood, so why not kill lots of nameless thugs?
At any rate, there’s lots of interesting scenery, including Rome, Rio de Janeiro, London, Antarctica. There are a whole group of separate stories as the groups separate. And, of course, there are the chases. Watching cars jumping from one side of a highway to another has become boring, so now we see cars flying through the air and dropping on different highways entirely. We see people leaving perfectly functioning airplanes without parachutes and somehow surviving. But that’s Hollywood.
There are separate sub-plots with Letty dealing with a whole group of women, most of whom are more or less on her side, as she winds up arrested. We have the adventures of Brian with his uncle Jakob (John Cena) and, of course, separate courses for Dom, the rest of his family, as well as the government agency that they worked for. There are many fun fight scenes. Everybody fights and, unless fighting each other, they generally win.
The film also features many cameos, some so quick they barely seem to be around before they disappear, but others stand out. Helen Mirren, reprising her role as Queenie, has a brief part, but Jason Stratham as her son has a couple of very splashy fights.
This is the first part of a three-movie finale to the entire series. So don’t be shocked when things suddenly look sort of final when it suddenly ends.
The acting was, as expected, typical of the entire series. Characters more or less played themselves. There were a couple of standouts. John Cena as Dom’s brother Jakob had some really good scenes with young Perry. It played very well, possibly the best performance I’ve seen him give. Momoa, however, stole every scene he was in, chewing up the scenery in flamboyant fashion. I should mention there were a couple of things that were in doubtful taste, painting the toenails of corpses, for one. But he provided constant energy. The active family members, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang and Nathalie Emmanuel were also good, providing needed laughs.
The film stays true to its roots. While Reyes taunts Dom, our hero answers back that because he has a family, he is rooted in good, while the bad guy, who has no one, is, therefore, no one. Of course, he does have a huge number of minions, although most are dead by the end.
Should you see the movie? If you like the series, you will like this one. If you really want great drama, well, who knows? We might even have a movie with that one of these days, although I would not suggest holding your breath.