Film Journal 2023: Fast X

Film Journal 2023: Fast X
Directed by Louis Leterrier
Wherr to watch: now playing in theaters

I have an interesting relationship with the Fast franchise. I mostly ignored it up until the point when we adopted our then 13 year old son back in 2015. Truth be told, navigating life with a kid who doesn’t speak English was a challenge. Turned out Fast and Furious is a universal language. Or at least one of a handful of films he had watched when he was back in Ukraine.

That year was the release of Fast 7, which ended up basically being my introduction to the series. Fast forward to today and I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m heading in with expectations. Truth be told I’ve resigned myself to knowing that Fast 7 is and remains and will always remain the height of the series. But 8 through 10 have become something of a mainstay over the last 8 years as one of the few films I can count on seeing with my now significantly older and English speaking son. Not to mention they have continued to occupy my wife’s birthday weekend. “Hey mom, guess where I’m taking you for your birthday” has basically become an inside joke at this point.

Which is all also to say, at this point I know what I’m walking into. I know how the series has evolved. And I get the long term fascination with and subsequent hate of this franchise, depending on who you talk to, that refuses to die.

If Fast X proves anything though, it still has the ability to surprise me. Say what you will about the bombasticism of the most recent entries- they are a far cry from grounded nature of the earlier films or the emotional charge of 7’s perfectly orchestrated tribute to its varied arc and deceased star. In a sense 8 and 9 are of a piece, both revelling in their desire to reinvent themselves as the bigger is better franchise on the other side of the series defining loss of Paul Walker. What makes Fast 10 work as well as it does, especially given it is now a two part final installment, is that it knows both where it comes from and where it is now. The film takes a road that feels tailer made for bringing all the different facets of what it represents to a fitting close. This is about the four essential F’s: fast, furious, faith and family. And as this film explores, what this culminates in is fear. Fear can either break you or it can reveal what truly matters. And the film leaves plenty of space in its 2 and half hour mash up of mayhem to remind us of the long road that brought this group to this precise place at this precise point.

Say what you will about this franchise overplaying its hand and persisting long after its fallen out of favor, but Fast X demonstrates that it has more than enough life left in it to remind us of why this franchise mattered in the first place. It is the quintessential summer blockbuster shouting out loud that familiar phrasing: alright guys, one more time with feeling.

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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