Wait…they are still making Fast & Furious films? Of course, they are! This series is making billions of dollars. To be honest, I have never been invested in this series, so I have only seen a few of the films up to this point. My brother is a die-hard fan and I remember watching 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift early on. I have not even seen the whole first film…but I do know that it was about undercover cops and drag racing. Boy has this series come a long way. This latest entry went to space! I went to the theater to see The Fate of the Furious as I was beginning to see and review everything. I quickly realize that the world building in this franchise rivals the Marvel Cinematic Universe…and I know that one from experience.
But we are here to discuss F9 which is the ninth entry (can you tell?) in the proper franchise (I do love me some Hobbs & Shaw). I remember seeing the trailer (which is one of the longest trailers I have ever seen) and it surprised me that of all people John Cena had joined the fray. And guess what? He is Dom’s long estranged brother! For a film series all about family…how did this not get brought up at this point? Honestly, I could write a whole page article with just my questions about this movie. Let us state a few at least. Do they know how magnets work? When did Dom get superhuman strength? How did they get that car into space? Why are they making meta jokes about plot armor? Those…are just a few.
With series MVP Justin Lin coming back, is F9 a step back in the right direction? This film certainly packs in the fun! But it is dumb…BIG dumb fun. In many ways, this film is just a big dumb fun mess of a film. I enjoyed large portions of the almost 2.5-hour runtime. When the action is going, it is crazy and packed with energy. Cars…explosions…magnets. You just cannot get enough of them. Lin is great when it comes to the action set pieces and moving this film along. The film did not feel as long as it actually is (but that might have to do with the absurd amount of material crammed in). One of the biggest issues with the film is the uncontrollable tonal shifts. There are flashbacks setting up Dom’s relationship with his brother which are incredibly serious. I would honestly watch a film about that. Whenever Dom is on screen, Vin Diesel is taking the proceedings WAY too seriously. Then in the next scene, giant magnets are flipping cars throughout the air with reckless abandon. What gives? This does know what kind of movie it wants to be.
But what about this stacked cast that fills out this plus-sized runtime? Diesel is stiff and bland as ever creating a charisma black hole. I cannot stand Dom at all, and his horrible dialogue centered on using the word “family” 1,000 times. Michelle Rodriguez is not that interesting either. Cena does not handle the serious material he is given (he honestly just always looks constipated). Charlize Theron is given awful dialogue which she desperately tries to make work in the limited screen time she is given (why is she in this movie again?). Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris paired up with Nathalie Emmanuel are a blast together with plenty of fun moments (they are living in the movie this really should be). Sung Kang is back (Han is not dead!) and not really in it at all with a terrible explanation for him not being dead. Then there are 50 other characters in this movie, and I am not positive I know who they are all (this shared universe is INSANE).
So…is this ninth edition in The Fast and the Furious franchise worth watching? If your standards are just to have some dumb fun, then go ahead! You will achieve that. If you want to have a thought-provoking and engaging cinematic experience, avoid this like the plague. I am STILL asking myself questions about this horrible script and I saw this film weeks ago. Has this franchise jumped the shark? Affirmative. Should they stop outwardly referencing Paul Walker’s character every five-minutes. YES. But will this franchise continue? Of course! We will be getting F10: The Search for More Money sooner rather than later.