Fast and Furious 9: The Fast Saga
It feels like only yesterday that the joys of greasy, gritty street racing were brought to cinema screens in The Fast and the Furious, with the police taking down drug cartels and nitrous oxide propelling souped cars to the finish line. In reality, that was actually 20 years ago and there have been eight instalments since. The ninth is now the latest to continue the seemingly limitless expansion of the series. With each release there is a level of acceptance regarding the trademark direction and action sequences that we have come to expect from the franchise, and this release proves to be no exception.
The plot is relatively easy to summarise given that there isn’t really one at all. Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is living the quiet family life he has always been chasing with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son. Their tranquil lifestyle is cut short when his estranged brother Jakob (John Cena) emerges from the darkness with a ploy to manipulate and devastate the world using a mysterious piece of technology. With the team back together again, Dom must address the demons of his past and put pedal to metal to stop his brother and ultimately prevent Cipher (Charlize Theron) from succeeding with her own mischievous plans.
For all its flaws and serious lack of realism, the saga keeps on going because it’s still so captivating. This time viewers’ eyes are glued to the screen not because of the dialogue or the acting but because they are awaiting the next impossible stunt. The plot is taken to new outrageous heights and as far as popcorn-munching cinema goes, director Justin Lin has pretty much nailed it. This being his fifth time in the franchise, Lin knows what the fans want and wilfully serves it up on a hot plate, providing an action-packed joyride along with the welcome return of fan favourites Sean Lucas Black and Sung Kang. It’s no surprise he’s already been booked in for the next movie.
However, at some point one of the films was bound to take it too far and Fast and Furious 9 has done exactly that. Aside from the introduction of a brother never mentioned before, Diesel and Cena quite obviously don’t look anything alike. Tej (Chris Bridges) spends the entire runtime talking about the importance of science and numbers, yet fans will have to go as far back as Fast and Furious 4 to see the point when the laws of physics were last vaguely obeyed. This is all before the protagonist travels to space in a car with a rocket strapped to it for practically no reason whatsoever.
The dialogue is incredibly on-the-nose and when partnered with the unapologetically outlandish sequences where nobody ever gets hurt, the audience can be forgiven for questioning what the purpose of this picture is at all. There is an entertaining display of self-awareness for the first time from Roman, who begins to question whether the cast are invincible given that none of them have a single scratch after their countless extreme adventures.
There doesn’t seem to be any question of whether the film series should put the handbrake on and take to keys out the ignition. Comparing their latest release to the first, one might find it hard to believe how far apart they are in substance and story. The brightest glimmers of hope in this latest feature are Finn Cole and Vinnie Bennett, who play young Jakob and Dom respectively. The actors have the chance to display raw emotion in their performances and they have a scene together that resonates with themes found in the initial instalment. The pair would make a terrific prequel together were they given the opportunity.
At the rate they are going, it won’t be long before the Fast and Furious gang team up with the Avengers. Since there is no sign of stopping, each movie can be taken for what it is: an action-filled blockbuster providing mindless fun and entertainment. For those who aren’t fans of the saga and the direction in which it is heading, it might be time to pull over and get out.
Fast and Furious 9: The Fast Saga is released nationwide on 24th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Fast and Furious 9: The Fast Saga here: