After the tonal shift to portray larger than life characters than its humble beginnings of Fast and Furious, the franchise was never too big on character writing to begin with, especially the ones with villainous tendencies. The major memorable adversaries during the first phase were the druglord, Carter Verone in 2 Fast, 2 Furious and Charlize Theron’s Cipher in recent entries. Although the Shaw brothers have proven themselves to be dangerous in the more overt aspects, their change in allegiance and background hardly allows them to be called villains. As the Fast franchise reaches its culmination, the first part of the concluding trilogy, Fast X, presents the oddball character of Dante Reyes through Jason Momoa, which can be considered the standout performance in an otherwise tedious movie. We will briefly discuss the character’s motivations and actions in the write-up, as well as the tease that was shown in the post-credits sequence, which gave us a hint about the future of the character in the franchise.
Ghost Of The Past
The origin of Dante takes viewers back to the days of Fast Five, coincidentally the first movie in the Fast franchise, where stakes went much higher for the low-level illegal racers and their relatively grounded misadventures turned into full-blown international heists. As Dom and his crew moved to Rio de Janeiro to evade authorities, they got entangled in a tricky situation during a car heist and got framed by local druglord Hernan Reyes for the murder of DEA agents, which his own henchmen committed. To get even, Dom decided to rob the crime lord of his entire fortune, which was stashed away in a vault, and planned an elaborate heist. As Dom and Brian initiate the plan, they are chased by the entire police force of Rio, as well as by Reyes and his son Dante. Dom managed to pull off the impossible heist courtesy of some out-of-physics maneuvering with his car, which almost caused Dante to go through a near-death experience by drowning. As Dante resurfaced, he got to know that not only his family fortune had been lost, but his father, Hernan Reyes, had been killed amidst all this ruckus as well. Dante swore his revenge on Dom and his entire crew, followed them obsessively through a decade, and bided his time to get the perfect opportunity to strike.
Even without the tragic shock of losing basically everything courtesy of Dom and his crew, viewers get to know from Elena’s case files that the eccentric, flamboyant Dante Reyes was always somewhat of a nutcase, to begin with. With a past history of getting in and out of prison and mental health facilities, Dante can’t be marked as someone with the sanest instincts. Which is perceivable in the cruel and unhinged ways he operates and takes delight in performing some pretty despicable actions. However, there’s one other aspect that sets Dante apart from regular, run-of-the-mill, adrenaline-pumped macho stereotypes, even while committing his most brutal acts. Dante doesn’t lose touch with his softer side, which is noticeable from the way he carries himself, from the soft pastels of his attire, gaudy shirts, to his pigtail hairdo. Jason Momoa, who portrayed the character pretty well, wanted to have this departure from conventionally masculine action flick villains and present an androgynous angle to his character.
How Did Dante Tear Apart Dom’s Family And Legacy?
Despite his general psychotic and sadistic tendencies, during his conflict with Dom, Dante proves himself to be a calculative and shrewd adversary. During the entirety of Fast X, Dante managed to stay ahead of Dom at every turn by turning his strengths into his weaknesses, the first of which started by taking down the criminal mastermind Cipher, another of Dom’s nemeses. Dante’s modus operandi is an antithesis to that of Dom; while Dom gains strength in the bond he shares with his family, Dante seeks to exploit it. Using the family ties of Cipher’s syndicate henchmen, Dante turns them against her and gains access to her superior tech rig, which he later utilizes to drain all the wealth of Dom’s crew and also orchestrate the bombing at the Vatican.
A mistake Dante didn’t make, like most other simpleton villains, was to underestimate the opponent, which he proved by eliminating the security factor Dom and his family had, thanks to the agency. Dante’s next action is to frame Dom and his crew in front of the public in such a manner that they have to choose to remain in hiding, something which he successfully accomplishes through the bombing incident, which brands Dom and his crew as terrorists who were lured by Dante in the incident. Like father, like son, as Hernan Reyes’ action of framing Dom led to this familial enmity in the first place. During the bombing incident, Dom also gets separated from Roman and others, and Dante also ensures that Letty gets captured by the authorities as well. Dante’s actions led the agency to go after Dom’s family relentlessly, and they got separated from each other; they never really managed to get the upper hand. Jakob’s sacrifice and Diogo’s death prove that Dom was never at his best while facing Dante, whose blows were as unexpected as they were merciless. The form of revenge Dante had planned for Dom went beyond the necessity of Dom’s death; it sought the corruption of the legacy Dom and his family had built through the years, seeing him suffer and disgracing him at every turn by instilling helplessness. Dante is Dom’s worst fear realized. Unlike Dom, who has the burden of his whole family on his shoulders, Dante has nothing to lose. The differences in their respective economic backgrounds can be attributed as a factor in that regard.
Using his former business partner Aimes to infiltrate the agency in the absence of the chief operative of the secretive organization, Mr.Nobody and his protégé were the aces up Dante’s sleeve the whole time, which ultimately caused Dom’s downfall as well. In the absence of his family and in a hurry to save his son, an unsuspecting Dom chooses to put his trust in a total stranger like Aimes, who returns the favor by taking down Roman and co. Even while the car jumps off through the river dam in the climax sequence, it never occurs to Dom that Dante might have planned an even worse fate, which was to destroy the dam on top of him and his son. The chance of survival for Dom and his crew (except Letty) remains unknown, and even if they regroup in the upcoming sequels, in this entry, at least, Dante had the last laugh.
What Can Be Expected From Dante In The Future Of The Franchise?
Although Dom and his crew were responsible for ransacking the wealth of the Reyes family, it was the burly manhunter Lucas Hobbs who put the bullet in Dante’s father, the drug lord Hernan Reyes. During the post-credits scene of Fast X, Dante threatens Hobbs with repercussions, and if the events in the movie were a hint, Dante’s revenge on Hobbs could be more severe. It will be intriguing to see whether the makers push an already over-the-top character even more or decide to explore a more grounded course in the next iteration.