‘Fast X’ Your Seatbelts: The Louis Leterrier-Directed Latest Franchise Installment Takes It One Step Closer To Form


Director Louis Leterrier’s takeover of the “Fast & Furious” franchise proves chaotic in picking up the pieces from the previous editions. A far-overrun series takes a slight turn for the better in “Fast X,” with new villains, faster cars and more at stake. Perhaps Letterier’s experience directing high-octane thrillers such as “The Transporter” one and two gave him the right internal-combustion-packed experience to inject some much-needed nitrous oxide into this two-decades-old franchise.


In the film, Dominic Torretto, played by Vin Diesel, battles the revengeful Dante Reyes, the son of the main villain from Fast Five, the drug kingpin Hernan Reyes. Reyes’ rage at Torretto for his part in the death of Hernan is executed violently, as he is the franchise’s most psychologically disturbed villain thus far. The surviving Reyes maliciously attacks Toretto’s distant relatives, building up his threats to his closest family members, the main Fast squad and even his child. The film ends on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger that leads audiences to contemplate how the events led up to such a moment, as it is only part one of the series’ overdue close, as the franchise is rumored to have two more parts to its grand finale.


However, while by itself the movie is not up to par with the standards typically required for an Oscar nomination, its appeal nonetheless lies in the nostalgia that it provides to longtime fans, the well-resonating message of family and the shear entertainment that comes with the push-pull action-packed conflict resolution seen in the franchise. While it has its upsides and downsides, it is worth watching for those disinterested in the latest top box office-grossing video game flick, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”


Starting with the cars — which are, of course, impeccably well done in each of the movies, “Fast X” fashions a Dodge SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, a 997-generation Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a gold Lamborghini Gallardo and a McLaren Senna, to name a few. It even slowly ushers in the electric vehicle era by featuring a few shots of a prototype Dodge Charger EV Banshee.


Despite the copious amounts spent on the vehicles, around $10.8 million, the film was not short of special effects, particularly massive explosions. With over three gigantic-scale explosion-based set pieces in the movie and over five fight scenes, the never-ending chaos appears chaotic, leading audiences to question what happened plot-wise.


Without spoiling, Cipher, played by Charlize Theron, the leech of a villain that refuses to budge, forms an alliance with Torretto’s family to take on the new evil. While the family is not quick to forgive her, that and other plotholes make the movie confusing to watch with 100% attention. With yet another character revival in the play, a new suspicion arises for viewers because if Han and Torretto are still alive, is the Torretto family completely exempt from the harm of explosions? Furthermore, the continued disregard of the late Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Connor, becomes less avoidable with the track that the film is headed on. 


Under Leterrier’s leadership, the project left some of its established household taglines behind. “I live my life a quarter mile at a time” and “ride or die” fail to appear in “Fast X,” which leaves something to be desired as the franchise feels incomplete without such quotable historical gems.


Some critics are obliterating the film to pieces, with “Fast X” currently rated as “rotten” with 54% on the Tomatometer, and Rolling Stone’s Chris Vognar writing that “‘Fast X’ Is So Lifeless It Feels Like It Was Written by ChatGPT.” However, the 85% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes begs to differ as audiences hunt for entertainment and pure enjoyment rather than fully developed, often depressing storylines that evoke all sorts of wanted and unwanted emotions. The movie’s chaos adds a certain comedic value aside from the ever-present cheesy dad jokes thrown in, and the nonsensical logic of the main characters’ defeats of death becomes absolute hilarity. 


Nonetheless, considering that the franchise has been passed around to three directors over the past three franchise installments, with “Fast X,” Leterrier somehow manages to deliver a better movie than “The Fast Of The Furious” and “F9” and, actually, of course, correct the franchise from the space-based trajectory that it was heading to a more NOS-based over the top mayhem flick that serves as ICE-packed eye candy right here on planet earth. The nods to “The Fast and the Furious” are quite evident, particularly the meticulous CG internal engine shots when the NOS bottles are deployed. So long as viewers let loose, give in to the ridiculous plot and simply do not take the film too seriously, it is pure entertainment watching Torretto and the gang navigate yet another batch of villains, going hyperspeed, a quarter mile at a time.