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Culture

I Regret to Inform You the Electrification of ‘Fast X’ Was Overblown

Still, wind turbines at least make an appearance.

Vin Diesel holding a charger.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images, IMP Awards

There is nothing like the release of a new Fast & Furious movie to remind you of the unforgiving and relentless march of time. Summer movie season officially kicks off this weekend with the chaotically titledFast X hitting theaters, the first of a two-part finale that is intended to bring home the series that first started way back in the comparatively guilt-free gas-guzzling days of 2001 (admittedly, nothing is ever really over; at the very least, Fast & Furiousspinoffs are reportedly on their way).

A lot has changed in the past two-plus decades of the franchise, much of it for the better. These days, tough action heroes say “sorry” more and apparently care about their carbon footprint. While it might be a stretch to call Dom Toretto a climate dad, fans staked out on the film set in Echo Park, Los Angeles, last fall leaked photos of a Dodge Daytona SRT EV concept car parked outside his house. A DeLorean Alpha5 prototype was also photographed at the scene; together, the cars marked the first EVs to be featured in the high-octane franchise. Car blogs breathlessly reported the news: “From V8 to EV: Vin Diesel Goes Green in Fast X,” reported GT Junkies. “Vin Diesel Shocks Fans with Electric Choice for Fast and Furious 10,” added Tesla Reporter. “The Electric and the Engineless?” wondered MotorTrend.

Despite these rumors, I can confirm the cars in Fast X still most certainly go vroom. The aforementioned EVs did make it into the final cut of the film — Dom keeps his Dodge inexplicably parked on the street and Cipher drives the DeLorean — but the extent of the cars’ purpose in the film is as gearhead Easter eggs. They’re not otherwise commented on by the characters nor do they get to enjoy any action scenes. For the film’s big chase sequence — which involves a round, rolling Indiana Jones-reminiscent bomb that chases after the heroes like it has a mind of its own — Dom opts instead to drive a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye widebody that runs on traditional dinosaur juice.

The Dodge Daytona SRT EV, in the lower righthand corner of the frame, is about as much of an EV as you’ll get to enjoy in Fast X.YouTube/The Fast Saga

Supposedly the Fast X production team wanted to have done more with the EVs. Dennis McCarthy, the car supervisor, told The Independent that the electric Dodge is “incredible” and “I wished we’d had a bit more time to put it into an action sequence,” while the film’s director geeked out over getting his hands on the DeLorean to Collider.

While some scolds have chided the film as furthering “car propaganda” (when in fact Fast & Furious is a fun, dumb symptom and not the disease), there’s a strange and subtle acknowledgment in Fast X that things are changing. Sure, the film starts with Dom teaching his son how to drive and musing that “each generation” ought to be “better than the last” (he means fatherhood, not eco-consciousness) — a bit of torch-passing that is befitting of the penultimate installment of a long-running franchise. But it seems like no mistake either that the film culminates with the gang’s cars weaving between wind turbines and climaxes with two gasoline tank trucks colliding against each other atop a hydroelectric dam.

Vin Diesel — a man who, we must remember, literally named himself after a fossil fuel — has fantasized about the 11th film’s big bad being a driverless-car-pushing technocrat. “The days where one man behind the wheel can make a difference are over,” one character even intones in Fast X, adding that maybe “the days of any man behind the wheel are over.” This is, of course, the great fear of the Fasterverse; the threat of losing the freedom of the open road, an end to the sacred bond between man and his (and occasionally her) machine.

But while Fast X is an absolutely absurd movie with no grounding whatsoever in any kind of human reason or physical logic — a film in which “I took the bus” is a gasp line, in which the final scene feels like it was choreographed by a kid playing with Hot Wheels (because it was), and in which Jason Momoa takes inspiration from both the Joker and Captain Jack Sparrow and somehow makes it work — it is also aware.

It knows the future is coming. It just might take a few more sequels to get there.

Green

Jeva Lange

Jeva is a founding staff writer at Heatmap. Her writing has also appeared in The Week, where she formerly served as executive editor and culture critic, as well as in The New York Daily News, Vice, and Gothamist, among others. Jeva lives in New York City. Read More

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