Momoa thrills, film not so much : The Tribune India

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Momoa thrills, film not so much

Momoa thrills, film not so much

In this action juggernaut that pulls out every trick in the book, the story progresses little and on predictable lines.

Film: Fast X

Director: Louis Leterrier

Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Momoa, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham

Nonika Singh

“I am allergic to your bullshit,” goes one of the few rib-tickling one-liners in the film. So, if you are allergic to relentless action that defies not just the laws of gravity but incredulity too, stay away and read no further. However, if you are a loyal member of the fandom that the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise has created over the last two decades, ‘Fast X’ — the 10th main instalment and 11th overall — is perhaps crafted for you.

The franchise has come a long way from high-speed car races and ingenious heists, but it begins with one here too. Past forward: Vin Diesel (Dominic Toretto), as the hero of the series, drags a cash-filled vault through the sheer power of his car. Presto, he and his partner (the late Paul Walker) indulge in some high-octane stunts. The action blitzkrieg that follows clearly violates whatever you were taught about the science of physics even at the most basic level.

Cut to today: Toretto is in semi-retirement and happy family mode, but the past catches up. His enemies, nay enemy, is coming for him. Battlelines are drawn once again. On one side is Vin Diesel with his ‘Fast and Furious’ family, on the other stands Jason Momoa as Dante Reyes, son of a druglord. Momoa is undisputedly the heartbeat of the film. He continues to utter the word ‘enchanté’ with glee and we sure are enchanted by Aquaman of the eponymous series and Khal Drogo of ‘Game of Thrones’ with equal glee. Never mind that here he is devil incarnate, someone in whom his own mother saw a monster and his father immense potential.

We see his acting prowess as he delivers this unhinged bad guy with a refreshingly delectable tinge of villainy. He follows his father’s philosophy, “when suffering is owed, don’t offer death as punishment”, and wreaks vengeance and havoc. As he goes all out to counter his nemesis (Dominic Toretto), what better way than bring down his reputation and his family? Toretto’s team is trapped and waylaid. We are face-to-face with yet another breathtaking albeit ludicrous sequence involving a bomb that rolls out on Rome’s roads like a big ball. The action that follows is more befitting for a video game. Level one: Reyes is the winner.

Also on his radar is Toretto’s endearing son. The child actor indeed brings some emotional heft to the film that drives and thrives on action alone. His bonding with his father and uncle, Jakob Toretto (John Cena), has a certain gravitas which the story otherwise singularly lacks.

Come to think of it, ‘Fast X’ pulls out every trick in the book (as also its previous outings) to have you invested in its near non-existent storyline. The plot is more of a veneer and the only coating that comes thick is loads and loads of action. As we go globe-trotting from Los Angeles to Rome to Rio de Janeiro, action never takes a backseat. The story progresses little and on predictable lines. If there is no stopping the action juggernaut, the makers pull out all stops in the casting department too. Besides Vin Diesel, John Cena, Charlize Theron, Nathalie Emmanuel (also of ‘GoT’ fame) and Helen Mirren, there is a surprise guest, sorry two, in the end, one after the end credits roll. But if the hugely talented Mirren gets little to do, Theron as cyber terrorist Cipher, despite set action pieces, doesn’t get past what is essentially a two-man show between Diesel and Momoa. Hollywood biggie Jason Statham appears with a promise of more in the next.

As the tagline reads ‘the end of the road begins’, ‘Fast X’ climaxes on a cliff-hanger, an ending is not in immediate sight. Not only a sequel, rather two more, are in the offing. Whether those too will be more of the same or not, the point right now is: does this one tick the watch worthy meter?

With a runtime of two hours and 10 minutes, it certainly cruises along on supersonic speed. Whirlwind stunts, cars crashing, helicopters colliding and men dying left, right and centre leave little time for you to think, let alone pause. With action@minute guaranteed, the makers actually don’t expect you to wear your thinking caps. Watch it if you are a diehard fan of ‘Fast and Furious’, though Jasom Momoa’s maniac energy is a better reason to sift through the pit of mindless and bottomless action.