It was said once before that the Fast and Furious franchise was review proof. It’s sheer lunacy was masked over by the fact it was a just a popcorn flick about fast cars. But when does the vail drop and reveal a tired saga running on fumes? When it no longer feels you with the same joy it had in parts 5,6,7, hell, even 8.
Diminishing returns is what they should have called Fast 9.
The film is directed by returning director, Justin Lin, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Daniel Casey. It is the sequel to The Fate of the Furious (2017), the ninth main installment, and the tenth full-length film released overall in the Fast & Furiousfranchise. The first film since Fast & Furious 6 (2013) to be directed by Lin and the first since 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) not to be written by Chris Morgan, F9 stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron.
F9 was originally scheduled for worldwide release in April 2019, but was delayed several times, first due to the releases of Hobbs & Shaw (2019) and No Time to Die (2021), and then the COVID-19 pandemic. It was released in Hong Kong and South Korea on May 19, 2021, and is scheduled to be in the United States on June 25.
After the events of The Fate of the Furious, Dominic Toretto and his family must face Dom’s younger brother Jakob, a deadly assassin, who is working with their old enemy Cipher, and who holds a personal vendetta against Dominic.
The film opens with a flashback to Dominic Toretto’s dad being killed on the racetrack. We are made to believe Dom’s brother, Jakob (Cena), did it and this causes Dom to beat up the racer who slammed into his dad’s car. Dom goes to prison and finds out Jakob caused the car malfunction that led to the father’s death. Here’s the problem with this. What has been Dom’s mantra for the last 8 films, “Family.” So when he runs off his brother and then later finds out his dad asked Jakob to mess up the car so he could throw the race to pay off some debt, this not only makes Dom look like a hypocritical chump but it makes his dad look just as big of an idiot. The flashbacks pop up throughout the entire film and each time it just confirms what we knew all along. Toretto is the biggest dumbass of the franchise.
Speaking of dumbasses, John Cena doesn’t fair too well here either. Whether it was an acting choice or a director’s choice Cena depicts Jakob as a one note, monotone, grimacing idiot for hire who really is only there so people can say, “Hey that’s Dom’s brother!”
But the film knows it’s contrived and even tries to poke fun at itself when characters Roman and Tej constantly joke about how they are invincible. Roman says they never get shot, bleed, or are ever in any real danger. And he’s right. This team that once boosted cars and stole DVD players have some how advanced in nine films to become expert fighters, marksman, hackers, and drivers. Which was I guess endearing for the first 6 films but now in the 9th film it’s made the franchise a bore. When there’s no stakes and you know the characters aren’t in any real peril you lose interest in the film. And after seeing a car swing on a rope from one mountain to another, I had viewer fatigue. What was once laughable has now become just eye rolling.
Even the “space sequence” was strictly just cringe worthy because you knew nothing was really at stake. It was if the film just recycled the same story they used from part 7. Another advanced AI that insert villain here is trying to steal.
Now the finale does somewhat rebound with a decent enough car chase that involved Dom’s team using magnetic devices to swat pursuing cars away, but the villain here was just some rich kid who gets outsmarted by Charlize Theron who pretty much just got paid to stand around, spout bad dialogue and endure one of the worst cinematic bowl cuts to ever grace the silver screen.
The ending of course has the entire familia back at the old house eating bbq and they make mention of Brian (the deceased Paul Walker) joining. I think this was an odd inclusion. Because the fact he would allow the mother of his kids to continue to put herself in serious danger seems like a glaring plot problem. Who knows, maybe they will have the Brian character appear one last time in the planned Fast 10, the final chapter in the Fast Saga. Allegedly.
In conclusion, Fast 9 isn’t the worst of the franchise but it’s far from the best. With one final film left, this franchise needs a serious tune up before it’s final swan song.
This is one franchise in serious need of a tune up. Not a rush out and go see sequel but still somewhat enjoyable.