By: Russ Matthews
The Fast and the Furious franchise continues to confound the film industry and satisfy a worldwide fanbase.
Filled with more action, muscle cars, and stars than any other franchise, the family returns for the tenth road race. This bizarre mix of espionage, hot rodding, and globetrotting escapades that defies gravity, physics, time, and logic it doesn’t looks like anyone will be putting the brakes on anytime soon.
Over the 22 years since the world was first introduced to Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his family, they have raced multiple drivers and come up against formidable villains. They have built an extensive entourage of drivers and talent throughout the years, and this team has also cultivated many enemies. Unbeknownst to them, they made a formidable opponent in Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa), the son of drug lord Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). The patriarch was killed during one of their heists in the early stages of their careers with the Agency. Still, the son looks to be an absolute terror. He aims to bring down Dom and his family while he wreaks havoc on the world without concern for who has been swept away in his wake.
Nothing will get in the way of the power-packed punch that this film will have on cinemas. Fans will lap up all that is on offer with this chapter in the Fast series as it brings everything and everyone back. As the team travels to most of the continents at breakneck speed to stave off the vindictive actions of Jason Momoa’s sociopathic character, suspension of disbelief is critical to have on board. Yet, once everyone looks beyond the beautiful cars, jacked-up muscles, and ridiculously impractical wardrobe, finding the story behind the smoke and mirrors may be challenging. For those who have just joined Dom and his adventures, this episode may leave one wondering how this makes sense.
Granted, Jason Momoa looks to be having more fun than anyone on screen as he is allowed to play against type and embody the villain with impish delight. Along with his villain is the enjoyable new inclusion of Alan Ritchson (Reacher) as the new head of the Agency, Aimes. Both men add new characters to this familiar storyline, while Brie Larson’s inclusion as Mr. Nobody’s daughter, Tess, feels like a desperate attempt to change her public persona that fails to deliver. Yet, all three do their best to get some screen time amongst the multiple cameos of former cast members (Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno) who get varied levels of involvement in this film.
Only John Cena and Michelle Rodriguez get any time to develop their characters as Dom’s brother and wife respectfully. The rest of the regular cast (Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang) seem to be walking through the motions and are regulated to be mere comic relief that randomly hits the mark. This exposes the problem with the compounding element of this franchise; there are too many characters and storylines for it to sustain. Leading to an overstuffed story of unbelievable stunts and situations that can only satisfy the devoted Toretto followers.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” – Romans 12:19
Dante Reyes is driven by an insatiable need to have Dom pay the price for taking his father’s life. His actions mean that everyone in the path of his vengeance will likely feel the pain of his wrath or lose their lives. His example is an extreme example of how revenge can cause more pain than justice.
Interestingly, the Bible has much to say about seeking revenge on others. The role of vengeance is meant to be left to God, since he is the only one who can effectively dole out justice. His justice and motives come from a place of pure fairness. When people seek revenge alone, no one benefits, leading to unnecessary pain for all involved.
Jesus turns this whole topic upside down by saying we are meant to love our enemies. Even if someone does hurt us or those we love, we are not meant to do the same. Instead, we should pray and love those who hurt us. This sort of love and forgiveness may sound odd, but it allows us to get on with life and let God do what He does with the world’s justice.
Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly. – Deuteronomy 32:35
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.