Vin Diesel recently teased that Fast X is actually the first installment in a three-part finale for the Fast and Furious films, and that bit of news might start to feel like more than a threat than a reward.
As the first reviews for Fast X start racing in, it’s becoming clear that critics aren’t entirely blown away with the tenth film in a series that surprisingly pivoted from street racers stealing DVD players to Marvel-esque blockbusters rife with international espionage and bombastic CGI action sequences. While that formula has worked pretty great so far, it’s apparently starting to run out of gas in Fast X, even with the addition of Jason Momoa’s Dante.
Momoa is frequently cited as the highlight of Fast X, but the mileage varies on just how much his performance can carry a franchise that’s starting to move more like a “clunker” than a high-octane machine.
You can see what the critics are saying below:
Mike Ryan, Uproxx:
One of the biggest problems with Fast X is it feels like Fast 9 just came out. If you recall, it was finished before the pandemic, but delayed until theaters were consistently open again. (I remember being at the 2020 Super Bowl in Miami and Fast 9 had a big presence there promoting the movie. It wouldn’t actually come out until June of 2021.) But the thing about Fast 9, it did kind of feel like the first big movie to be released after the pandemic started. I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Now it’s less than two years later and here we are again. These movies are like eating a very rich dessert. They kind of need to be properly spaced out or you start not feeling too great.
Peter Dubrege, Variety:
By now, this franchise is a well-oiled money machine, something between a feature-length car commercial (you’re gonna want to buy that electric DeLorean prototype) and a “don’t try this at home” public safety announcement. Still, calling it the first part of a finale feels like little more than a marketing gimmick. While Hollywood’s highest-octane franchise shows no signs of slowing, it was crazy reckless to give the green light to such a clunker.
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter:
Momoa, it turns out, is one of the best things to ever happen to the franchise. He’s the best villain by far (not to mention that he does many of his own stunts) and thoroughly steals the film with his delightfully unhinged portrayal of Dante, who interrupts his nefarious activities to inform the ever-macho Dom that his “carpet matches the drapes.” Momoa is not exactly an actor associated with lightness, but here he practically dances the role as much as acts it, taking such frenetically gleeful delight in his character’s sadistic taunting that you practically root for him even when he threatens to destroy the Vatican. He gives the impression of having huffed nitrous oxide before every take. Dante makes the Joker look like a depressive, and he’s so damn entertaining that he lifts the series to new heights.
Scott Phillips, Forbes:
After reveling in the adrenaline rush of Top Gun: Maverick in May 2022, it’s hard to watch Fast X without laughing at the ineptitude filling the screen. The entire cast with the exception of Jason Momoa (Aquaman) sleepwalks through the film. The film sags every time he disappears from screen. Is everyone else bored? Or simply playing it far too earnest for a film this ridiculous?
Dan Jolin, Empire:
If we’re supposed to treat Fast X as Infinity War on wheels, Dante doesn’t convince as a muscle-car Thanos. He spends much of his time perched in a high place with an impossibly good view, remote-controlling vehicles while cackling like a chunky Joker, dressed in a style reminiscent of Everything Everywhere’s Jobu Tupaki and pulling off ballet poses. Momoa’s commitment to unhinged flamboyance almost works, but for the most part he’s just flummoxingly irksome.
Todd McCarthy, Deadline:
With its seemingly inexhaustible supply of madly amusing action, this high-octane extravaganza attempts, and not infrequently succeeds, in obliterating any resistance with its disarming, outrageous and self-aware injections of often-hilarious camp. It’s a sometimes jaw-dropping ride that circles the globe in its never-ending search for fresh locations and ways to up the cinematic ante; in the process, it’s able to break down and prevail over its fundamental ludicrousness. It cost a bloody a fortune (reportedly over $300 million) but will make an even bigger one.
Katie Rife, Polygon:
Fast X suffers from the same condition as latter-day MCU movies, where it’s so laden with internal mythology that it feels more like homework than popcorn entertainment. “The days when one man behind the wheel of a car can make a difference are done,” Aimes soberly informs Dom in the buildup to the film’s fiery, physics-defying action climax, which naturally involves one man behind the wheel of a car. Aimes is meant to be wrong in his prediction, and wrong-headed for even thinking it. But the days when a goofy, overstated line like that is enough to keep audiences coming back to this franchise may be waning, too.
Nick Schager, The Daily Beast:
Fast X features no flights to the stars, nor similar instances of heroes doing ridiculous things like redirecting fired rockets with their bare hands à la Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in The Fate of the Furious. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of preposterousness to be found in this sequel, which barely revs to life when indulging in automotive mayhem and outright stalls every time its human characters open their mouths. No matter which cliché you choose—the series is running out of gas/spinning its wheels/stuck in neutral—Dom and company’s latest exploits are perhaps their most exhaustingly “extreme” to date, not to mention their dimmest.
Fast X races into theaters on May 19.