You can’t trust any major action or fantasy franchise (John Wick abominations, endless Fast flicks, any Marvel or D.C. torpedo) to depict the dying of this or that character with any finality. That’s because they don’t respect death. They mostly regard death and serious physical injury as a speed bump, a plot detour, something to fiddle or fuck with until an apparently dead character comes back to life.

I’ve been complaining about this for years, but most critics and columnists have stayed away from such criticisms. Which is why Variety‘s Peter Debruge deserves respect for the following passage in his Fast X review:

“There are explosive scenes in Brazil, Portugal, Los Angeles and Antarctica, all of which seem to be a five-minute commute from one another. While Vin Diesel’s Dom spends much of the movie trying to protect his 8-year-old son (Leo Abelo Perry), a whole bunch of beloved long-timers wind up ‘dying,’ although these movies have shown such a flexible understanding of mortality (not to mention physics and plausibility) that it doesn’t make sense to mourn them just yet.”

And this: “Every race needs a finish line. For the Fast & Furious franchise, the studio keeps shoving it farther down the road, at least according to Diesel, who suggested at the world premiere of the 10th installment — a brainless but action-packed thrill ride billed as Fast X — that Universal might split the ‘finale’ over three movies. Why not seven? Or 20 more, for that matter?

“While Hollywood’s highest-octane franchise shows no signs of slowing, it was crazy reckless to give the green light to such a clunker.”