Fast X12¦ 4K UHD, Blu-ray, DVD
You know when a film franchise has been seriously around the block when they use roman numerals to determine what number instalment they’re at. And that’s not even including the spin-offs, which currently sits at two: one animated series Fast & Furious Spy Racers and Hobbs & Shaw.
It’s certainly come a long way since it’s relatively humble beginnings in 2001, which as fans of the series know, took them into space in F9.
It’s a series then that has gone on to not only acknowledge the truly absurd, but totally embrace it, as this latest entry illustrates.
Some people just let things go. Take Dante (Jason Momoa), who was building up a nice little evil empire with his father, but who was then murdered. Now to be fair, if you’re going to hold a grudge, that’s a fairly understandable one to have, and so he vows revenge on those who did it. Which is bad news for the perpetrators.
As it turns out, it was Dominic (Vin Diesel), but he’s hardly worried about it as ten years have since passed. He and his crew have a new threat on the horizon, with something going down in Rome, so the majority of the team are sent out there. But it’s not long after the Dom discovers it’s a trap, set by an unknown foe. Or is he...
As if you didn’t know by now, this franchise is not one that can be taken seriously. And those that make them know that, which is a relief. For some time now they have been adventures into the ridiculousness, throwing all logic out of the window and the pedal well and truly to the metal. And to a certain degree, it has to be that way now. The series has a loyal following, which has seen the films rake in shed loads of cash at the box office, including a few going over the magical billion mark. So with such eager audiences, there’s a pressure to outdo the last instalment in every way. Which after so many entries must be nothing short of exhausting.
But the flipside could also be said; with an audience prepared to accept any premise, there really is no limit to how farcical these films can get, as the last few are clear testament to. Fans of the franchise aren’t just loyal, but some of the most forgiving on the planet. Which means that the filmmakers went all the way to eleven some time ago, and are probably well into triple digits by now.
As with every single entry, the film’s main theme is family. Always. Along with fast cars and astounding stunts, it’s a staple of every film. And this one is no different. It’s kind of ironic when you consider the many rumours that circulate that the ‘family’ off set don’t often see eye to eye, as the now legendary beef between Diesel and Dwayne Johnson illustrates. And apparently the same happened here, with apparently Diesel miffed by the superb performance of screen baddie Momoa, who certainly injects some renewed energy into the franchise; his Dante is like a Hawaiian Joker, full of wit, charm, mixed with a deliciously dark side that Momoa clearly relished playing. So it’s no wonder that Diesel was allegedly annoyed, with all eyes on Momoa in every scene he’s in. It must have hurt more because it puts Diesel’s damp contributions into perspective. His character, unsurprisingly, is the dullest in the entire series. In fact, it’s a role that has basically been propping up his career since the original, and it’s only this and his voice work as Groot in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise that have been keeping Diesel relevant in any way since 2009. Certainly he must have thought shots were fired when 2019’s spin-off Hobbs & Shaw starring Johnson and Jason Statham, made a healthy $790 million at the box office without any sign of Diesel.
And even here, although still a main character, Diesel is sidelined for most of the film, with very little on screen interaction with any other members of the team, who all appear to be having a lovely time without him.
But Diesel aside, the franchise remains the definition of high concept, which amounts to a high octane road movie for over two hours. There are old faces and new ones, like Momoa, who are more than welcome, which will certainly keep fans happy.
But the real stars are the ludicrous action scenes, which are laughably over the top, but it doesn’t take away an absurd sense of fun from them.
The thing is, you know exactly what you get from a Fast and Furious film, and there’s something strangely comforting in that. There is no substance here, but that’s ok as sometimes a solid hit of pure entertainment is just what you need from time to time.
The fact is, everyone needs a guilty pleasure – and for us, that’s anything starring Jason Statham – but this franchise works too. So bring on the popcorn and enjoy the ride.