Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most. His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena, the upcoming The Suicide Squad).
What We Thought:
I’m a big fan of the Fast and the Furious franchise. I own all 8 of the previous films and Hobbs & Shaw and did a full franchise rewatch last year during lockdown. I was eagerly awaiting the latest film, F9: The Fast Saga, and was bummed it got pushed back last year because of the pandemic. As movie theaters reopened I got excited to see it, but had heard it wasn’t so great from others who had seen it already. One guy has very similar tastes in movies to me especially with blockbusters and he didn’t like it at all, but it’s a Fast & Furious movie, it’s gonna be great no matter what people say right?
Unfortunately no. F9 is pretty ridiculous and that’s not necessarily a good thing. I found myself laughing at it not with it more than any of the previous films. For a franchise that started out about illegal street racing, it’s turned into an over-the-top action/superhero/super agents extravaganza. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been that way for years now. Fast Five definitely jumped the shark and shifted the franchise and The Fate of the Furious saw them going up against a submarine, but F9 is so ridiculous.
It opens with a flashback to a young Dom and his father who was a racecar driver. The event would shake Dom and set his life in a new direction. It then jumps to the current time with Dom and Letty living quietly with young Brian until Roman, Tej, and Ramsey show up. They tell them that Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) had his plane attacked and he’s missing. At first Dom wants no part of it, but he eventually joins them to find Mr. Nobody. During the action sequences we are introduced to Jacob, Dom’s younger brother who has never once been hinted at in 8 previous films. He’s played by WWE star John Cena. Yes the film wants us to believe Vin Diesel and John Cena are brothers, but that’s not the biggest farce. Nope in this action sequence one car drives over and up a wooden rope bridge while Dom and Letty’s car swings through the air thanks to a wire. Oh yeah Cena’s car is picked up midair by a plane and a magnet. That’s what the franchise has become.
Like Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, F9 brings in some technology gizmo to be the plot device. This allows Charlize Theron’s Cipher to be in the film and gives Ramsey and Tej some hacking/tech stuff to do. Without Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in the film they bring back other characters from previous movies. If you like Tokyo Drift (the third film released, but 6th in storyline) you’ll see a few familiar faces. Plus they bring back Han who was killed by Statham’s character, but they explain how it was all faked. It’s the Fast & Furious franchise, the only people that stay dead are Elena and Gisele (unless future movies need them for plot devices).
With the new technology gizmo now in the hands of the bad guys, Dom and his team of once normal people must take down a satellite and stop an upload to said satellite. I won’t explain how and where they go with that because it’s the most ludicrous thing they’ve done in 10 total movies including the spinoff. This angle I thought would be saved for the tenth film because it’s the only logical place the franchise could have gone to, but alas it’s the third act of F9.
And the worst part of the film is the filmmakers know they’ve gone too far. The movie is almost all fan theories or commentary. Tyrese Gibson’s Roman makes comments the entire movie about how they all seem immortal, they get shot or crash and don’t die and have become superhuman. He brings up the submarine and all the other nonsense they’ve done over the past few years working with spy agencies and traveling the world despite the fact that none of them have any type of training or background in any of it. It’s like the series has become self aware. Sure it’s kind of funny, but where does it end?
F9: The Fast Saga has already made a bunch of money overseas. It will do well in the US despite it being the most ridiculous of the films so far. If you like the franchise you should see it despite it being highly laughable. I think it did miss The Rock and Statham and I can’t even guess where Fast X is heading now that F9 went where I thought that film was heading.