TL;DR – It is the bombast that you expect from these films, full of family and of course lots of cars.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of the film.
Fast & Furious 9 Review –
I am going to be honest. I did not get The Fast Saga for a long time. They were these big grandiose films that were inherently silly yet played so seriously. But many of my friends swore by it, which left me intrigued. So when The Fate of the Furious was announced, I thought it was time to give it another go, and it was watching that film that I finally understood what this was all about. I have now watched every movie in the franchise, so I was ready to dive into a new film with all that combined knowledge, well at least I thought I was ready.
So to set the scene, we open up in 1989, as NASCARs race around the track, screeching their tyres along the route. As one car pulls in, we see a young Dominic Toretto (Vinnie Bennett) helping out his dad Jack (J. D. Pardo). However, tragedy strikes and in an instant, Dom’s life is changed. Back in the present, Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) have left the world of car-spy-shenanigans to stay on a farm and raise Brian (Isaac Holdane/Immanuel Holdane). However, one morning a car arrived baring Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris’ Ludacris’ Bridges), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) because Mr Nobody’s (Kurt Russell) plane has crashed and there is a new operative on the scene, one with ties to Dom’s past.
In many ways, this is an odd film. It is played so seriously, with stern looks being used as some sort of nonverbal jousting. However, it is also completely ridiculous. In the opening action sequence, we see landmines explode everywhere, which is entirely that is not how landmines work. But more than this, we see not one but two different instances of a car using bridges in ways that do not align with the laws of physics in any way, shape or form. We swing wildling from testosterone preening to musing on Star Wars characters in a moment. These films should not work, yet they are entirely compelling.
Part of what makes these films work is that there have been so many of them that you can bring these characters from the past back for one-off scenes and just sit back and feel the audience ratchet up that excitement. Here we see this most with Queenie, which allows Helen Mirren to pop into this film, have an absolute ball, kick some ass, and then ride off into the sunset, and I loved every moment of it. It also has a style all to itself, which means you will get some choppy action fighting sequences, but then get introduced to some quality subtitles. It is also a series that understands its audience. A comment made towards the end of the film leaves you almost dumbfounded at the audacity. The joy of watching the realisation of what they just said ripple throughout the audience was one of the film’s best moments.
On the surface, the narrative drive of this film is the team tracing down the three parts of Project Aries before Dom’s brother Jakob (John Cena) does or before Jakob’s backer Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) does something stupid. That might be the surface plot, but this film’s subtext, text, and super text is Family. I mean, they drop the word at least eight times during the runtime. Yet, it is etched into every fabric, every fibre of this film, for better or worse. The shift this time around is how the past legacies can rip families apart or bring them back together.
This is a good way of letting the franchise bring back characters like Mia (Jordana Brewster) or Han (Sung Kang) and also continue to honour the legacy of Paul Walker, who is ever-present throughout the film. But being so focused on the past means that large chunks of the film, mainly at the start, feel weighed down by it, dragging the narrative out. Thankfully once we punch through the reveal of Jakob and we get everyone going on their team missions, it starts to speed up to a point we start using magnets and cars in ways they were not intended.
In the end, do we recommend Fast & Furious 9? Look, the last five films have been pretty much the same regarding their tome and stakes. Number nine is no different. So if you liked the previous bunch, well, there is a lot to recommend here. If you didn’t, there are at least some exciting action set pieces to keep you entertained. If you liked Fast & Furious 9, I would also recommend The Legend of Baron To’a.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Fast & Furious 9
Directed by – Justin Lin
Story by – Justin Lin, Alfredo Botello & Daniel Casey
Screenplay by – Daniel Casey & Justin Lin
Based on – Characters by Gary Scott Thompson
Music by – Brian Tyler
Cinematography by – Stephen F. Windon
Edited by – Greg D’Auria, Dylan Highsmith & Kelly Matsumoto
Production/Distribution Companies – One Race Films, Original Film, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, Perfect Storm Entertainment & Universal Pictures
Starring – Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Vinnie Bennett, Finn Cole, Anna Sawai, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Michael Rooker, J. D. Pardo, Jim Parrack, Martyn Ford, Cardi B, Lucas Black, Bow Wow, Jason Tobin, Don Omar, Shea Whigham, Isaac Holdane, Immanuel Holdane, Gal Gadot & Jason Statham
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13