Where do you take a series when you’re 10 films in and you’ve already driven a car into space? The mad beauty of the Fast franchise is that it can pretty much go anywhere, even when it’s been everywhere. If we can believe it though, the supercar saga is finally running out of road, with this the first of a mammoth two-part finale.
It only takes a few minutes for the action to rev up. Within a few scenes we’re watching a plot to blow up The Pope with a giant comedy bomb that rolls through Rome like a boulder. Throw in a gold Lamborghini that’s so shiny it blinds people; a pop-up glider that’s powered by whiskey miniatures; and a scene where Pete Davidson feeds Sung Kang an acid-laced muffin, and we’re firmly back where we left off last time when everyone flew back from the moon in time for a BBQ.
You can still play a dangerous drinking game by taking a shot every time Vin Diesel says “it’s all about family” (It’s not, of course, it’s all about cars), but the plot this time really does manage to involve everyone’s brother, mother and long-lost uncle.
Opening with a flashback to the best bit of the best film in the franchise so far, we watch the Rio heist from 2011’s Fast Five from a different angle – this time seeing that dastardly baddie Hernan Reyes also had a dastardly son called Dante (Jason Momoa). Spending 10 years plotting vengeance on the Fast family for stealing his dad’s money, Dante now buys an army of tanks, sports cars and military jets to try and blow everyone up in beautiful locations.
The last film topped up the cast list with John Cena, Puerto Rican rapper Ozuna and Cardi B. This time we also get Momoa, Rita Moreno, Daniela Melchior and Brie Larson. And that’s on top of the massive roster of big names that are already part of the family – including some that have technically died already (who’s counting?). The credits alone go some way to explain how this is one of the most expensive films ever made, but throw in a few hundred exploding cars and $340million seems like a steal.
Director Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Now You See Me) replaces Justin Lin behind the wheel without letting up on the pedal, but the real draw here is Momoa. Looking like he’s having more fun than anyone ever has at their job, Momoa’s evil peacock is the best thing in the series so far – singing and dancing his way through all the cartoon mayhem in a pair of pink hair ribbons. The franchise has always been deeply homoerotic, but it’s never been this openly, joyfully camp – adding the one extra sundae topping that no one even knew they were missing.
When Momoa isn’t on screen and stuff isn’t exploding, the daft dialogue almost sinks the film into parody. Sure, no one’s ever watched a Fast film for the talking, but so much time spent between set-pieces means we only really get half of a film a here – the big final cliffhanger stopping just as it’s getting going.
One last-minute cameo makes no sense, and is hilarious, followed by a mid-credit cameo that makes plenty of sense and is even funnier – lining up a 2025 encore to sink all encores. Has Fast 11 got anywhere left to go? Of course not. But that’s not going to stop it flooring it all the way there anyway.