Twenty-two years ago, the “Fast & Furious” franchise began as a sexy crime-and-cars saga set in LA.
Ten movies later (not counting spinoffs), the meathead stars of these vacuous slogs look and behave like a group of retired gym teachers who’d be better off behind the wheel of a golf cart.
Running time: 141 minutes. Rated PG-13 (intense sequences of violence and action, language and some suggestive material.) In theaters May 19.
“The real question,” astutely asks one of the interchangeable doofuses in “Fast X,” “is how did we let this go on so long?”
But let it, they did, and now we’re buckling up for another moronic “Fast” film that plods along like “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” and features increasingly fake chases.
Don’t expect a single novel element here — everything is recycled from the junkyard.
Just like at the start of “Fast 9,” Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are living in familial bliss with their young son when they’re pulled back into the underworld action.
But first there’s some brilliantly written and acted flirting between the spouses.
“What are you looking at?” says Letty.
“You,” replies Dom.
The screenplay is credited to Dan Mazeau, Justin Lin and Gary Scott Thompson, but I’m convinced this is the first major Hollywood film written by ChatGPT.
When the pair’s suburban home is attacked, they learn that their wisecracking comrades have been sent on a fake mission to Rome to be ambushed by a drug kingpin named Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa). The new baddie has been plotting revenge on Dom for killing his pop in, um, an earlier one of these things.
Their Roman holiday contains the film’s most preposterous sequence.
A large spherical bomb falls out of a truck and rolls miles and miles through the Italian capital, like the boulder from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” got lost in a “Benny Hill” chase sequence.
Then a large chunk of Rome blows up.
Dom, Tej (Ludacris), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Han (Sung Kang) are framed as terrorists and pursue Reyes by way of Rio de Janeiro. Dom’s brother Jakob (John Cena), meanwhile, races to get Dom’s kid to safety.
Paradoxically, everything and nothing happens in “Fast X, ” directed by Louis Leterrier.
Characters from previous films return to the series expecting entrance applause, while we stretch to remember who they even are.
Old events are dredged up as if anybody can actually recall them. The plot is both highly intricate and totally inane.
Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron return in their pointless criminal roles of Queenie and Cipher. They’re joined by another Best Actress victor, Brie Larson, as Tess, who helps Letty when she’s trapped in Antarctica.
Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw barrels in, too, and so does Pete Davidson in a huge let-down of a cameo.
Momoa’s villain, we learn, “showed sociopathic tendencies from an early age,” so the actor behaves in a generically crazy manner — giggling, squealing and making silly gestures — as the character with a God complex murders at random. He’s beginning to look disconcertingly like Steven Seagal.
Diesel mumbles and grumbles through his dialogue, all of which has the neatly packaged enormity of movie trailer narration.
Says Momoa’s Reyes: “The days where a man behind the wheel of a car could make a difference are over.”
If only. Universal shows no signs of slowing down with “Fast.”