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Film Review: “Fast X”

FILM REVIEW
FAST X
Rated PG-13
141 Minutes
Released May 19th

Fast X feels like producers sent an elite line-up of action superstars, mostly in their 40s and 50s, to play hyperactive 5-year-olds, pumped them with Starbucks coffee and dumped them all together in a playground of the most dangerous toys available, most of which blow up in a huge ball of fire. Note that script and dialogue were an afterthought at best, but who needs those when these kids are having so much fun blowing things up. Just to add a little color, two grandes dames of theatre and cinema make brief entrances – Helen Mirren and Rita Morena, to be age-inclusive (70’s and 90’s respectively.)e

Because this franchise has been running for 22 years now, there are die-hard fans who feel like they own the story, and some are passionately disappointed in this installment. TV and film audiences today are very much accustomed to serial stories about characters they grow to know. They can be incensed if they believe the storyline doesn’t go the way they want, which has been some of the criticism of this movie. However, the audience at my screening was cheering, gasping, and, yes, laughing at times. 

A newly minted character, “Dante,” created by Jason Momoa (Aquaman, Game of Thrones), has been added and Momoa channels his “inner Johnny Depp’ to create a villain who is so twisted and over the top, he’s hilarious. One scene was questionable, as test audiences either loved or hated it. One brave executive producer gave thumbs up to leave it in, and the scene is one of the high points in the film. It depicts Dante’s loss of touch with reality. It stands by itself for shock value and laughs and should play well with today’s horror-film-loving audiences.

This whole movie is as unstable as Momoa’s character. There is a bit of a disjointed feel between the beginning and the end. The production endured unexpected pitfalls that might have stopped another shoot. Director Louis Leterrier took over from the original director Justin Lin a week in due to “creative differences” with one of the stars. Letterier and Lin are friends and Lin kept in close contact. Then, a short time later, they lost their planned location for the third act, so major rewriting and new plans had to be done. Leterrier kept all the cast and crew intact. His Cinematographer, Stephen Windon, had shot six of the previous installments, including Fast Five, and was able to retrieve and digitize outtakes and film footage of Paul Walker as “Brian O’Conner” for flashbacks in the beginning. Walker had been an instrumental member of the cast at the heart of the story and died tragically in a car crash in 2013.

Many of the cast have been working on this franchise for years and throw all they’ve got into their roles. You can feel that they’re having a blast making the movie – well, literally blowing stuff up in this case. It’s a special effects extravaganza, the fight scenes are very well done, the editing and spacing are excellent, and the characters make great entrances. Fast X was shot in a travel magazine assortment of exotic locales – England, Rome, Turin and Portugal. The fun here is more important than the dialogue and plot. This movie has a life of its own outside of the rest of the franchise, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

One critic called it “the comedy event of the year.” I took it as a camp rendition of the 10th sequel to a story that might have finished long ago. If you go into the movie with that attitude, you will be entertained.

It’s worth spending a little extra to see Fast X on IMAX if you can.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

in Film
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