The “Fast and Furious” franchise is one of the most interesting. Officially over twenty years old, we went from stealing DVD players in the first film to space in the ninth film. It is certainly a big step that many fans, including myself, have managed to appreciate. As the credits rolled on this ninth installment, there was only one question in my mind: why after I pulled safes across Rio, shot down a plane, jumped a car through three buildings, and passed a submarine, didn’t I have more fun here? In this ninth installment, we find the Toretto clan led by Vin Diesel, forced to confront their long-lost brother Jakob (John Cena). This leads them into a network of spies and espionage that pits them against old enemies like Cipher (Charlize Theron) and reunites them with old friends.
The plot is what many would call the “simple” structure of the story. It certainly doesn’t spoil the ridiculous plot, paper-thin characters, and unnecessary two-and-a-half-hour runtime. If you’ve been following this franchise in any capacity, you’ll jump into it knowing what to expect. From a technical point of view, the waterfalls here are quite impressive. When I was driving through a jungle in fast cars while getting shot, I was thrilled. Even in a fight that stretches through the buildings of Edinburgh to the cars that are giant magnets, it’s a blast to watch. It’s a real treat as a movie buff to watch these footage no matter how crazy it gets.
The factor in F9 that left me so frustrated was how mind-numbing it all gets. Anyone who follows this franchise knows that this is Vin Diesel’s baby. He certainly markets it to death and can appeal to some pretty big players. On a lot of movies we’ve had roles of Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and even Kurt Rusell. They’re definitely above Diesel’s acting caliber, and the 5-8 movies have a fun energy. When these actors aren’t in the movie, it really shows. Say whatever you want about their character arcs in the franchise, but at least there’s a feeling of knowing what kind of movie it is. The same is said for film actors like Helen Mirren, Theron, and even Russell, but the film gives them brief onscreen moments doing nothing.
Actors like Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, and Michelle Rodriguez try to get by and are nice. The problem is, none of them are as interesting as the people who don’t appear or barely appear in this ninth installment. Even picking someone like Cena in the melodramatic, angry role of “Lost Brother” is reduced to nothing but a growling villain. Is he threatening? Sure, but no emotion manages to make us worry about him or his relationship with Dom. In a family-centric franchise, this is a frustrating detail particularly involving the revelation of Han (who was killed by Statham’s Deckard in Fast and Furious 6) being alive.
If you’ve seen the trailer, the hashtag “#JusticeforHan” hints at the return of a fan favorite character. Prepare to be disappointed with an explanation so absurd it makes magnetic cars more logical. Unfortunately, logic is something the FF franchise has long forgotten, and F9 is no exception. Even when the film tries to recognize that between the conversations Gibson and Ludacris have, the “meta-humor” will never reach. I’m all for these guys to be superheroes, but I’d much prefer them to be “Mission Impossible” type rather than “The Avengers”.
Rating: 4.5 / 10
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSiDu3Ywi8E