Any franchise that runs for as long as the Fast & Furious series is going to develop along familiar touchpoints. Originality turns to familiarity which morphs into reinvention, which then twists into one-upmanism.
Fast & Furious 9 has even moved beyond the self-own & the onerous to now live in a fantastical world free of physics, logic, or needing to even care about those things.
Before Fast 5 I had no time at all for the scant & the scurrilous but ever since that movie shifted the format away from ‘girls and cars and repeat’ into a ‘heist’ structure, the speedy & shirtless series has grown into a sweet spot that has become critic proof.
Even this review is ultimately pointless because the only thing you can compare a Fast & Furious movie to is, well, other Fast & Furious movies. By that scale, F9 has gone even dafter. Yes, it was possible.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has absolutely retired from stealing or saving things using quick & querulous methods. Except that their government sugar daddy Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell, barely getting any chance for delightful overacting here) has gone missing along with cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron (The Old Guard), reprising her antagonistic role from the previous movie). And the suspected perpetrator is someone very close to Dom.
Long term fans may be slightly put out, as indeed are Dom’s long term collaborators, to discover the depths of his other family considering this has literally never been brought up before now.
The past & the perilous comes courtesy of John Cena doing what John Cena does: a strong man with a charismatic twinkle in the eye. Diesel’s Dom has long been a plot anchor slab that picks and chooses the odd rare scene to actually emote, so Cena’s charm is an essential ingredient (much like Jason Statham before him) that keeps a few fresh smelling bubbles popping out of the generally re-stirred plot cauldron.
Whether the race to save the world from [INSERT THREAT HERE] connects with you or not, what we keep turning up for are the stunts & the stupendous, right?
Every entry comes up with several moments that seem impossible to top, but you’ll be pleased to know that F9 flicks even more rude hand gestures at the very concept of reality.
On at least three separate occasions I darn near jumped out of my seat and yelled, “You can’t be serious!” at the screen. It isn’t (that’s the point) but the computer game physics are strong with this one.
Is F9 Worth Watching?
Director Justin Lin continues to gleefully drop in action set pieces that are precisely the reason that I, a serious critic who can write words well good, will shunt to one side several critically lauded and artistic movies for something like F9.
To name but a few moments that the vehicular & the vehemence include: a collapsing rope bridge crossed creatively, mighty magnets deployed mischievously (think Inception meets Mad Max: Fury Road), and the kind of extreme shark jumping that is frankly inevitable at this point.
What else? Well, with the impending end of the constant & the continuous (the upcoming two-part Fast Ten should say farewell to this billion dollar franchise) there is a sense that some pieces are being moved around so that all available characters can make an appearance.
Not that many of these characters have much, well, character, but if such an institution as the delight & the delirious is to wrap things up then drawing on its now voluptuous resources will add a touch of gravity (that’s where things in the air actually come down, guys).
Yet here we are with a hunk of daft movies that absolutely fill an entertainment need. I enjoyed the WHAT?! & the wonderous, and I think you will too.
Words by Mike Record