F9: The Fast Saga is the latest installment in Universal’s billion-dollar Fast and Furious franchise. It originally had a May 2021 released date but the studio pushed it to this June due to the pandemic. Instead, it takes the release month from Jurassic Dominion, pushing that film back to next summer. You can see a cool five-minute sneak peek of Jurassic World Dominion by seeing F9 exclusively on IMAX.
Following the events of The Fate of the Furious, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is now living a quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son Brian. Peace never lasts forever as danger is always lurking just over the horizon. This time, it’s a little more personal for Dom, having to confront some of the sins of his past to save the people closest to him. His crew must now come together once again to stop a world-ending plot. And they’re facing the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered. That driver happens to be Dom’s long-forsaken brother Jacob (John Cena).
All of the acting here is the same as it’s been for the last twenty years, being completely over the top from nearly everyone delivering tons of one-liners. Most of the line deliveries during the more serious moments are unintentionally hilarious. We get to see a little more of Dom’s past explored this time around through past flashbacks between him and his brother in their younger years, serving as some of the better character moments in the movie.
The film also has a lot of self-aware humor coming from Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej Parker (Ludacris). They both discuss why their previous adventures throughout the film killed none of them. Together, they acknowledge just how insane what is being shown on screen really is. Also, the way Han’s (Sung Kang) return to the series is pretty much completely glossed over, making the least bit of sense.
Just like with the previous films in the series, Fast 9 tries to be bigger and crazier than its predecessor almost to a fault. Just like with the previous films you must completely shut off your brain and not take much of what’s on-screen seriously, with cars flying all over the screen right and left from magnet cars and space travel now being introduced.
Together, these elements push the film even further over the top to new heights for the franchise. It gets to a point where it can be a little too much with how much craziness is in each scene. The film becomes disengaging and instead feeling like just loud noise. It feels as if the writers towards the end were just coming up with ways to make it outdo the last one with how big they can make it. That’s despite whether it made any logical sense for the story or not.
Justin Lin returns to the director’s chair after being absent for the seventh and eighth installment in the series. He brings a visual flair to the action scenes that felt sort of lacking in those previous two films. All of the big action set pieces and stunts are extremely entertaining and well-choreographed. From an opening big chase in the jungle and later through the streets of London, Lin choreographs them all well.
However, while the action set pieces are entertaining to watch, there is hardly any tension during any of them. The characters are practically invincible. It gets to the point where it feels as if you are watching a cartoon. They’re coming out of these crazy scenarios with as little as a scratch. Dom Torreto in this movie feels like an indestructible superhero. In one scene in particular he gets out of a sticky situation. He does this by using chains to bring the roof of a concrete building down on a bunch of guys. This is just an example of how unbelievable most of the big action scenes are.
Fast 9 is a fun summer blockbuster with great action set pieces and a few good character moments. And not much else. It proves that going bigger isn’t always better. Fans of the franchise will enjoy it and have a great time. You can be someone who hasn’t liked any of the previous films and finds them too ridiculous with how much they jump the shark on reality. If that’s you, you’re better of skipping this one. With a tenth and an eleventh installment already in the works, it will be interesting to see where they take the series from here. There is also a mid-credit scene for those who stick around for the credits.
- Rated: PG-13
- Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller
- Release Date: 6/25/2021
- Directed by: Justin Lin
- Starring: John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris, Michelle Rodriguez, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson, Vin Diesel
- Produced by: Clayton Townsend, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Joe Roth, Justin Lin, Neal H. Moritz, Samantha Vincent, Vin Diesel
- Written by: Alfredo Botello, Daniel Casey, Gary Scott Thompson, Justin Lin
- Studio: One Race Films, Original Film, Perfect Storm Entertainment, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, Universal Pictures