2023, Movies

Fast X (2023, Louis Leterrier)

Some of you are probably mad at me for watching this without having seen F9 but it turns out I watched The Fate of the Furious without having seen F7. Given the quality of these films, I’m not super worried.

The retconning that goes on in this franchise is really irritating. So now, an actor who was not in Fast 5 is inserted into Fast 5 and the audience has to relive moments of that movie again. This is both worse and less bad than the retconning in Furious 7 because at least this doesn’t have a guy pretending he is 10 years younger. But still, stop doing this. Also, this movie is nearly two and a half hours long. It would be shorter without the scenes from an earlier film.

The dialogue in this movie makes me cringe so often I lost count. I do think it improves, or gets less distracting, as the action picks up. But those opening scenes…fuck. Did teenagers write this? This wasn’t the first draft?

Why does Momoa not speak Portuguese? Shouldn’t they have found a Portuguese-speaking actor or, you know, not made him Portuguese/Brazilian? That being said, nobody is enjoying themselves more in this film than Momoa and his campy, over-the-top performance is 100% the best thing about this movie.

There is a nuclear bomb on fire, rolling around Rome. Now, I asked social media and apparently it wouldn’t trigger the bomb. I don’t know, I’m not an expert.

This is like the plot of that Mission Impossible one (I think it might be more than one) where they are persona non grata. Every time I give a Mission Impossible movie a lukewarm review I should think about these movies and up my rating.

One thing I will give them: the scene where Jason Mamoa’s character identifies the henchmen as real people is a nice touch. I can’t remember another movie off the top of my head that actually (briefly) treated anonymous henchmen as people. It’s a good bit. Too bad the entire rest of the movie is the usual shit.

The car landing perfectly on the highway while the helicopters blowing up is everything this series is encapsulated into one moment. Safety for the heroes despite physics, death and destruction for everyone else. And then the kid literally flies between cars.

The list of stunts which should kill prominent members of the cast is long, as it is in all of these films. But these are starting to remind me of the MCU, as there is a level of destruction around these people that should cause lots of fatalities – though nowhere near on the level of the MCU – and everybody who we care about survives. Worse, though, now they are bringing people back. Oh, sorry, SPOILER. In that sense, this is also like the MCU: there are no stakes, everyone is always safe.

Another weird and irritating thing is how every sworn enemy bad guy eventually joins their team. The film briefly acknowledges this when Momoa’s character tease’s Diesel’s about how he thinks everyone wants to work with him, but it’s true. And it should make rewatching these movies rather incomprehensible. (I mean, more incomprehensible than they already are.) Because everyone is trying to kill each other and then they’re on the same team. It’s really, really, really dumb.

Did I mention this is part one? This is a nearly two and a half hour set up for another film. It’s like we’re watching The Hunger Games or Harry Potter but much worse. Really, it’s much closer to Civil War only, again, much worse.

The level of contempt this franchise has for its audience is possibly unprecedented within the realm of high budget franchises that go on for this many movies. (Low budget is another story. Horror movie franchises that last this long have zero respect for their audiences.)

  • The dialogue is often terrible.
  • The plots are just a series of action set pieces around the world, almost always involving cars for reasons that nobody can figure out. (Cars can do literally everything better than any other tool in these movies.)
  • The lead is horribly uncharismatic. (Jenn thinks he’s getting worse – like he’s trying less – and I tend to agree. That one scene where he hugs his kid…oof, that was the best take?) And the other main actors are not great either. (And I genuinely like Michelle Rodriguez in lots of stuff. At least Paul Walker’s character is inexplicably looking after his kids all the time now.)
  • The best actors in the films are the enemies or bit characters.
  • The stunts should almost always kill our heroes but never do and only ever seem to hurt bad people (rarely bystanders either).
  • The bad guys become allies if you wait long enough.
  • Apparently nobody ever actually dies (except Paul Walker whose character doesn’t die but you know what I mean).

But this doesn’t matter. Because the audience (mostly) acknowledges they are dumb. And something something diverse cast something something. And I guess that’s fine and I should just accept that you all really enjoy these films. But I cannot. To me, this much contempt for an audience is insulting, not fun. (Though I will grant these films are never boring…except maybe in the denouement.)

Join us next time for Fast XI: Shopping for a Table Big Enough to Seat Everyone Toretto Considers Family. (I half stole this joke from Jenn.)

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