Ed note: This look at Fast X was inspired by the movie’s arrival for streaming on Peacock.
Though it isn’t always obvious, the Fast and Furious saga does have things on its mind. The series is obsessed with the virtues of honor, loyalty, legacy, and driving really fast — all of which ground an action franchise so outrageous, it frequently tips into the realm of fantasy.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, honor, loyalty, and legacy are also the pet preoccupations of the series’ star and unofficial shepherd, Vin Diesel, who evoked the F&F “family” when he publicly asked departed co-star Dwayne Johnson to return to the franchise. Diesel and Johnson’s off-screen feud paralleled their characters’ on-screen one. There was undoubtedly a bit of kayfabe involved — Johnson was a pro wrestler for many years, after all. But the lunkheaded earnestness of their back-and-forth barbs embodies the series’ most endearing trait: In a Fast and Furious movie, what you see is what you get.
To be fair, blockbuster entertainment designed to reach the widest global audience possible rarely comes with layers. Characters speak without nuance in Transformers movies, for example, and explaining what’s happening in The Rise of Skywalker, in the most obvious terms — without really explaining anything — produced one of Star Wars’ most memeable moments of the past decade. But there’s a certain guilelessness to the way Fast and Furious does its plainspoken schtick that makes it uniquely charming. The series’ screenwriters may be cynical, and may be condescending to their audience. It’s the way those lines are delivered that feels sincere.
Blunt dialogue and charismatic delivery isn’t unique to the series’ endlessly self-referential 2023 installment, Fast X — it’s a major part of the Fast and Furious movies. But as with everything else about these films, the bluntness of the dialogue amps up with every new installment. That’s certainly the case in Fast X. No one speaks in the indulgent, roundabout style of real life. It’s all just declarative sentences where everyone explains the themes and conflicts in the movie to each other, with no chill whatsoever. Subtext? That’s for cowards.
Here are 10 of the most snort-worthy “Let’s explain the movie in case the audience doesn’t get it” lines in Fast X:
“Here you are, despite all of the odds, building this magnificent family… with a legacy that will go on for generations. No one can take that away. Not now. Not ever. To familia!”
These hints are dropped by Rita Moreno, who makes an appearance in Fast X as Dom and Mia’s “abuela,” further deepening the “Schrödinger’s Cuban” paradox around Dom’s ethnicity. Fast X is supposedly the epic conclusion to the “Toretto saga” — so epic that it may end up having three parts instead of two. But it almost certainly won’t be the end of the Fast and Furious franchise. Not as long as the global box office remains viable!
And because this is Fast and Furious, and nothing can happen unless it’s telegraphed like a punch in the jaw first, Fast X is already setting up the logical next step for the series: a passing of the generational baton (or stick shift, as the case may be) from big Dom (Diesel) to his son, Little B (Leo Abelo Perry). Little B is canonically 8 years old during the events of Fast X. But Dom is already teaching him to drive, and he’s along for the ride during the film’s explosive high-speed climax. So while Little B is still too young for a learner’s permit, he should be ready to take over the family business (if globe-trotting car-based espionage counts as a business) by the time Fast 4X: Surprise, We Made a Fourth One premieres around 2028 or so.
“There’s a war coming.”
Super-hacker Cipher (Charlize Theron), who hasn’t quite completed the usual Fast and Furious enemies-to-family arc yet, but is getting there, says this while clutching her untreated bullet wound as she sits on Dom and Letty’s couch. (Very considerate of her not to bleed on the furniture.) It’s also uttered at the end of this 141-minute film’s first act, right as the action is about to shift into gear. (No pun intended, believe it or not.) Oh, so this wasn’t just your usual bloody middle-of-the-night social call? And we’re not about to spend the next two hours chilling with Dom as he putzes around in his garage? You don’t say!
“It’s a big-ass bomb!”
Uttered by wild card Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) when he spots a big-ass bomb in the back of a panel truck, shortly before said big-ass bomb goes crashing through the bumpy cobblestone streets of Rome in the film’s first big action sequence.
“The casualties were kept to a minimum, but the impact was global.”
That first bit is also true for the Fast and Furious series, which has brought multiple characters back from the grave over the years: Han (Sung Kang), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) were all thought to be deceased at various points. Even after Paul Walker’s real-life death in 2013, he appeared in the series one last time, for a high-tech goodbye sequence in 2015’s Furious 7.
As for the “global impact” part, new Agency recruit and secondary antagonist Aimes (Alan Ritchson) is referring to international headlines surrounding the Toretto crew’s disastrous escapade in Rome. But it’s also true that the Fast and Furious series does exceptionally well overseas: China was the top market for F9, according to Deadline, and Fast X opened at around $300 million internationally.
“If it could be done in a car, they did it. If it violates the laws of God and gravity, they did it twice.”
Another gem from Aimes, whose summary of the series up to this point (a necessity in a long-running franchise like this one) was the target of a lot of good-natured ribbing both online — this particular monologue appears in the series’ final trailer — and among audience members at Polygon’s press screening of the film.
“Brian O’Conner, Elena Neves, Luke Hobbs. […] Everyone becomes family. It’s like a cult with cars.”
The epitome of this phenomenon in the Fast and Furious series is Dom’s long-lost brother Jakob Toretto (John Cena), who went from Big Bad with a Blood Grudge in F9 to wacky uncle in Fast X. Only a few years after Jakob emerged as an unstable international terrorist hell-bent on destroying Dom, Dom entrusts him with escorting the future of the Toretto dynasty to safety while Dom is busy with the series’ latest BBwaBG, Brazilian gangster scion Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa).
A former antagonist’s transition into a Toretto ride-or-die does seem inevitable in these movies, but the speed of this particular face turn (to use a term from Cena’s pro-wrestling days) is remarkable.
“I hate barbecues.”
Uttered by Aimes during his floating-screen purgatorial recap session with Brie Larson. And given how important family cookouts are to Dom and his cohort — they’re where enemies become friends, and friends become family — an aversion to breaking bread together is how you know that someone is a real piece of shit in the Fast and Furious universe.
“People think you can buy everything, but you can’t buy the streets.”
Dom means this line as a “money can’t buy respect” type of thing, and aims it at criminal nepo baby Dante as a shady combination of advice and insult.
It’s up for debate whether what Dom says is true in the proverbial sense in which he means it. But taken literally, yes — a private citizen cannot, at this time, buy a municipal thoroughfare for their own private use. That being said, the logistical maneuvering it must take to clear an urban area in order to film a Fast and Furious car chase should count as temporarily renting them.
“Without honor, you got no family. Without family, you have nothing.”
Dom lives, and will presumably someday die, by this statement, which he grumbles to the significantly less family-oriented Dante midway through the film. And Dante should take notes: Fast and Furious built a global blockbuster franchise on family values, which in this case means teaching your son to drive when he’s 8 years old.
“The days when one man behind the wheel of a car could make a difference are over.”
Aimes really does get some of the most incredible lines in Fast X — in this case, he’s loudly telling Dom that he doesn’t matter, just so Dom can immediately turn around and make a difference, behind the wheel of a car, just to remind everyone that Aimes is a dillweed. Dom’s retort to this arrogant put-down, “You might want to buckle up,” is even better, because no one upstages Vin Diesel in his own movie.
Beyond all that, Aimes’ statement doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Sure, the Fast and Furious films have escalated to such a degree that they require at least three or four “family” members to create a suitable level of spectacle in any given action scene. But even all the way back in the first movie, Dom had a whole crew that helped him hijack cargo trucks full of DVD players that they then fenced on the black market. That kind of scheme takes a village. (Or a family.) One man behind the wheel of a car has never even tried to make a difference in these movies.