Fast X Is The Worst Movie In The Franchise And I Had The Time Of My Life

Let's get something straight: I love the "Fast and Furious" movies. When I graduated high school, my friends and I played "See You Again" on repeat. When I graduated college, I was gifted a Hot Wheels version of Brian O'Conner's orange Toyota Supra. If I had a cat, I'd probably name it "Letty," or "Han," or "W Motors Lykan HyperSport." In all things, except for actual drag racing, I've endeavored to follow the path of Saint Dominic and live my life a quarter-mile at a time.

So you can imagine how sad it makes me to confirm that no, "Fast X" is not a very good movie. Depending on what metrics you're using, it might not even qualify as a movie at all. There's approximately one character arc between the approximately 8 million characters. More often than not, the dialogue feels like it was written by a chatbot raised on r/FastandFuriousMemes. And for 141 minutes, the movie has no idea how to even spell "pacing," despite it being just one word off from "racing."

Yet, somehow, I just don't care. I can't remember the last time a comedy made me laugh as much as "Fast X." I had more dumb, abject fun in the theater than most movies can ever provide. "Fast X" is a bad movie — by my estimations, the worst "Fast and Furious" movie, period. But at the end of the day, that didn't matter to me at all.

What sets Fast X apart

If you're a more casual "Fast and Furious" fan (hey, don't worry, there's no shame in it), you might balk at my claims of how much worse "Fast X" is than the rest. After all, aren't all these movies basically the same? Haven't they been dumb from the start? Au contraire, my friends. There are layers to this, like an onion, or a Shrek.

Even the worst "Fast and Furious" movies follow the basic rules of filmmaking, if not the laws of physics. They have beginnings, middles, and ends. They have simple but effective character arcs. The relationships between Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker), between Han (Sung Kang) and Giselle (Gal Gadot), may not be all that complex, but there's enough there to make you care. What the movies lack in artsy writing they make up for in palpable onscreen chemistry. And yes, the action gets more ridiculous in every entry, but it's always exciting and creative — never generic.

"Fast X" feels more like a two-and-a-half-hour set piece. There are definitive highlights, like Jakob (John Cena) and Little Brian's (Leo Abelo Perry) uncle-nephew road trip and Jason Momoa's scene-stealing performance as Dante Reyes. (Seriously, Momoa delivers probably the best villain the franchise has ever had.) But on the whole, the movie feels like it had too many studio hands in the pie. It tries to go from zero to sixty too many times and ends up burning out as a result (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Everything wrong with Fast X: Lightning round

What sets "Fast X" apart from its predecessors in the realm of being a total disaster? Buckle up. From the jump, the movie is overly self-referential, with numerous jokes dedicated to the cookouts, the impossible stunts, and Dom's obsession with family. Things happen at such a breakneck pace that you might not even notice how little sense it all makes.

How does Dante Reyes trick half the crew into pulling an Agency op in Rome that's completely fake? How do Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Han, and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) get from Italy to London on a cargo ship in ... a day? Why does Jakob need to sacrifice himself to destroy roughly four cars, when cars have never, ever been difficult for his brother to get past on his own? Every "F&F" movie has some logical problems, but when the characters work and the action hits, they're easy to ignore.

Then there's the craftsmanship. I know, it's "Fast and Furious," but still. The pacing is all off, with no moments of calm to anchor the absurd action scenes. The camera work and editing in those big set pieces are more confusing than fun, and they rely way too much on CGI transition shots that break the illusion entirely. This is where Justin Lin's absence is felt the most. The series became successful under his direction largely because of how effectively he choreographed insanity. To be fair to Louis Leterrier, he was brought in last minute, but his resume of "Transporter 2" and that "Clash of the Titans" remake isn't exactly flawless.

Fast X pretends the series is something it never was

Perhaps I should have been wary the moment it was announced that "Fast and Furious" would have a multi-film finale. Perhaps I should I have seen the signs, smelled the "Avengers: Endgame" ambition, and recognized that such a plan would never really work for the "Fast" saga.

Dom Toretto is more Paul Bunyan than ever in "Fast X," to the point that he's more of a marble statue than a person. Similar things can be said for most of the film's attempts at emotional grounding. You can't bring back half the characters you've ever killed off and expect a cliffhanger ending to mean much.

"Fast X" desperately wants to be the climax of a 20-year story, but that's just not how the franchise was built. It was constructed almost by accident, assembling a kooky cast of unrelated characters over the course of four movies and then somehow blending them all together successfully. Every movie ties into its predecessors in different ways, but not as a pre-planned narrative. There are no Infinity Stones. There is no Thanos. So when "Fast X" tries to convince you otherwise, it's hard not to notice the studio trickery.

There is a massive mythology to the "Fast and Furious" franchise, but it was built by fans and happenstance. All the jokes about Coronas and family fall flat when it's the movie itself winking and nodding. Put simply, "Fast X" is the nitrous-powered snake eating its own tail.

Why it doesn't matter that Fast X is a hot mess

"Fast X" is a total mess. The action is haphazard and way too reliant on CGI, the writing is the most wooden it's ever been, and very few of the emotional stakes are actually earned. And despite all that, I can't be bothered to care.

I love "Fast and Furious." I love how stupid and accidentally amazing it is. And at this point, after 22 years, not even an unmitigated trainwreck can stop me from having a blast. Every time Dom opened his mouth, I laughed. Every time he used his car like a wrecking ball, I cheered. And I know that I'll only like it more after the next movie comes out, even if that one's just as messy.

I know I should demand better — proper character development, originality in the action scenes, the whole bag. But I just don't mind. If I want to watch a great "Fast and Furious" movie, I'll rewatch "Fast Five," or "Furious 7," or the first one. If I want more Han (which, who doesn't?), I'll watch "Tokyo Drift." The whole series is one giant thing to me at this point, and I love that thing too much for a lackluster entry to bother me. Vin Diesel and the crew have simply earned too much goodwill in my heart.

So here's my advice: You have to watch "Fast and Furious" like it's "Dragon Ball Z." There are better arcs and worse arcs, no one ever really dies, villains inevitably become heroes, and Goku never really changes. But even when the writing is hilariously rotten, I'll still flip out every time Dominic Toretto goes Super Saiyan.