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Fast X

“A Cult with Cars”

Fast X is the tenth iteration of the Fast & Furious franchise, and it’s still running on high octane with no speed limit yet.

Some of my readers may know that I’m a hard-core art film lover—philosophical, romantic, wordy, sentimental, subtle—you name that soft stuff, and I love it. So why do I also enjoy a mindless actioner like Fast X? Because it is genuine about its love of cars, it creatively thinks of new ways to wreck them, and it exalts something worth more than its most souped-up Lamborghini—family, including the close friends not joined by blood but by temperament.

At the head of the loving table is Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel, could there be a better name for an actor in a motor car-obsessed movie?), whose mission this time is to retrieve his abducted son and preserve his loving family. While not a handsome leading man, Diesel exudes a beautiful gruffness even Renaissance playwrights would envy.

A clue to Diesel’s soft side is his approving the bad boy of the movie, Jason Momoa as Dante, whose scenery-eating act is perfect for a franchise that wallows in excess. Diesel is responsible for dumping last director Jason Lin in favor of Louis Leterrier, who is no stranger to fast cars and charismatic leads (Transporter/ Jason Statham). Diesel must have approved Momoa’s take on the villain with comedic and operatic tones exuding a joy at being in this franchise and just right for dialing back the adrenalin of the chases.

You’ll note I’ve said little about the plot, which takes us to Rome and Portugal among other vacation spots because Fast X is really about another form of super heroes clamoring to get home with a full house of family. As for the family I brought to the otherwise empty theater—Patricia, Wayne, Anthony, and pistachios—howling and hooting is just what we do when no one else is there for us to annoy. Although not gearheads like the characters on the screen, Anthony loves cars, Patricia loves characters, and Wayne loves to shout out where in films or TV he has seen each actor with at least one line.

Like the characters on the screen, we are loving the sights and sounds of modern cinema along with a family sentiment or two to give the movie some class. Fast X may not be an art film, but it is the kind that brings us together for laughs and sentiment, just like Thanksgiving dinner. It may not be perfect, but it sure feels good to enjoy a simple story told with a big heart like Diesel’s.

Fast X

Director: Louis Leterrier (The Transporter)

Screenplay: Dan Mazeau (Wrath of the Titians), Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond)

Cast: Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious), Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious)

Run Time: 2h 21m

Rating: PG-13

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts NPR’s It’s Movie Time and hosts Cinema Classics as well as podcasts Back Talk and Double Take out of WCBE 90.5 FM. Contact him at

John DeSando holds a BA from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in English from The University of Arizona. He served several universities as a professor, dean, and academic vice president. He has been producing and broadcasting as a film critic on It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics for more than two decades. DeSando received the Los Angeles Press Club's first-place honors for national entertainment journalism.