Fast X review: "Outrageously entertaining, entertainingly outrageous"

Fast X
(Image: © Universal)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The gang’s (mostly) all here for a sequel both outrageously entertaining and entertainingly outrageous.

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

‘No one starts at the finish line’ growls Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) at young son Brian (Leo Abelo Perry) in this latest iteration of the Fast & Furious saga. And with nine films, one spin-off, and over 21 hours of tyre-squealing mayhem preceding it, you might well question the wisdom of making this instalment your entry point. 

In effect, though, that’s what Louis Leterrier has done by taking over the directorial reins just as the franchise heads into its final straight. And a good thing too: the Transporter/Incredible Hulk helmer brings a welcome injection of energy and inventiveness to a series that has spent eight years striving to match up to the emotional and dramatic highpoint that was 2015’s Furious 7.

But it’s an even earlier episode – 2011’s Fast Five – that provides the spark for Fast X, as it returns to that film’s audacious Rio safe heist to reveal the hitherto unknown role played by one Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa). Turns out it was Dante’s dad that Dom robbed and he’s been hungry for vengeance ever since – something he hopes to attain by striking at the extended ‘family’ the Torettos hold so dear.

After all the muscle-bound baddies the Fasts have given us, it’s undoubtedly refreshing to see a villain as flamboyantly hirsute as Momoa’s sadistic show-off. Although some of the character’s wilder excesses do somewhat diminish the threat level in favour of OTT laughs (notably when he’s found painting the toenails of a decomposing corpse). 

Happily, the film’s on much more firm footing when alluding to its antagonists’ spiritual convictions, with Dom and the demonic Dante’s personal war going so far as to place the Vatican in peril. Indeed, it’s a central set piece involving a giant bomb rolling through Rome that gives X its most X-hilarating moments, recalling both the bouncing projectiles from The Dam Busters and the boulder chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

With a massive ensemble to play with and new characters to introduce, it’s inevitable that some cast members (Brie Larson’s Agency operative Tess among them) get a little shortchanged. But with Fast XI on the cards for 2025, there’s still time to shine as brightly as John Cena does here as Brian’s genially protective uncle: a retooled part that fits him far better than the nefarious one he took in 2021’s F9.

Fast X is in UK and US cinemas on May 19.

More info

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.