Director: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jason Momoa, Jason Statham, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Ludacris Bridges, Nathalie Emanuel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Brie Larson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Ritchson, Daniela Melchior, Leo Abelo Perry, Joaquim de Almeida, Rita Moreno
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Runtime: 140 mins. Reviewed in May 2023
Reviewer: Fr Peter Malone msc
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Action violence.

Dom Toretto and his family are targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.

What can anyone say. The 10th movie in a franchise that has been popular for 22 years, beginning with the surprising hit in 2001, The Fast and the Furious. The original had its beginnings in street racing in American cities, adding police themes, undercover agents, street criminals who in subsequent films not only made good but became saviour-figures. And the importance of family, the family unit, especially Dom’s young son, in on the action, but also the family of friends and colleagues. And that has been repeated for the 20 years.

A popular television series, released, perhaps, to coincide with the release of Fast X, Icons Unearthed, features the writers, the producers, and discusses the way that the first film developed and segued into the others. But, what is emphasised is the nature of American fascination with fast cars, driving, competitiveness, and the assumption that this is popular worldwide. [Box office takings indicate the assumption is correct.] There are many interviews with the writers showing how they could come up with more and more spectacular ideas for car stunts, crashes, cars in the air, landing on boats . . . And interviews with the stunt persons who actually did the spectacular driving.

As the series went on, the stunts became more and more far-fetched – and, in this 10th episode, they are even further-fetched. And, one might add, Dominic Toretto and his colleagues, now in their 40s, might have lost some of their touch in being exploited by movie villains, but are still driving-fit.

Which means then that it would probably would suffice for a review to use such words as: smash, crash, bash, crunch . . . And there is plenty of that in a film which goes for two hours 20 minutes – lots of stunts and lots of fistfights.

Actually, the word that comes to mind while watching the crashing and smashing is ‘preposterous’. How could someone come up with the idea of an enormous bomb loaded on a plane to be dropped on Rome and to go careering through the narrow city streets, down the Spanish Steps, over Tiber bridges, veering towards the Vatican? And how could someone imagine Vin Diesel careening at speed through these Roman streets to smash the bomb into the Tiber where it blows up.

In fact, the film has a prologue, a story invention 10 years earlier in Brazil, involving the late Paul Walker (using past footage of him), the thwarting of a mega-rich Brazilian crook and the stealing of his large safe, dragging it through the streets of Rio. But this is the occasion to introduce the son of the crook, Dante, who has waited 10 years to wreak his revenge on Dom. He is played by Jason Momao, with a combination of brutality, and an effeminate maniacal personality, rather different from his Aquaman. Certainly, a different kind of villain.

And the stunts, cars landing in planes, cars attached to two helicopters over a Brazilian freeway . . . What will they think up next? There’s plenty for those who enjoy scenery, with sequences in Brazil, London and, of course, Italy.

In looking at the cast list, we see that so many of the old favourites in the extended family are back again, including a villainous Charlize Theron who has moments of repentance, helping Dom’s wife, Letty, Michelle Rodriguez (and a preposterous-plus rescue at the end from the submarine from past films), and Helen Mirren with her bloomin’ East London accent, and a scene with Jason Statham. But, this time, two more Oscar winners besides Theron and Mirren, Brie Larson as an agent, and Rita Moreno, at 91, the family matriarch.

Which means that this review of the film – which has gained $370 million worldwide in its first days of release – is superfluous. Smash, crash, bash and, especially, preposterous, might have sufficed.

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