Thursday, June 24, 2021


F9 is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. In a theater, on television, on the Internet, or in real life. Even for a mediocre franchise like Fast & Furious that is known primarily for hot cars, hot girls, car chases and explosions, and ham-fisted messages about family, F9 is a really, really dumb movie. Characters return from the dead, never referenced brothers are shoehorned into backstory, characters drive a car in space, a computer device capable of controlling the entire world (which turns out isn't all that well protected) falls into the hands of yet another evil version of our crew, and the only ones who can save the day are Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his friends. Let the insanity commence.

The movie includes a staggering amount of flashbacks and dream sequences (featuring the acting-challenged pair of Vinnie Bennett and Finn Cole) to Dom's past to explain the sudden insertion of a long lost brother (John Cena) who turns out to be nearly as good a racer turned spy as his older brother. But evil! As with other scenes of the film, when the script tries for humor it often falls on its face, and when it attempts to be dramatic it produces some of the most unintentionally hilarious moments of the series.

As we've come to expect, the latest film (released 20 years after the original) brings back several characters including Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Mia (Jordana Brewster), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel). The crew does quite a bit of traveling around (and even over) the globe while, of course, causing all kinds of moving violations. Other familiar faces include the evil Cipher (Charlize Theron), Queenie (Helen Mirren), Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), and Tokyo Drift's Sean Boswell (Lucas Black). We also get the return of the not-so-dead Han (Sung Kang), although his girlfriend has yet to be resurrected in a series where apparently no one stays dead for more than three films. While Paul Walker's Brian is mentioned, he isn't added to the film using CGI as was the case in Furious 7 (a film so forgettable I honestly don't remember anything else about it except it may or may not have been the one with the submarine).

The actions scenes in the latest sequel are a mixed bag. Most of the hand-to-hand combat quickly devolves into quick-cut nightmarish sequences, while the larger road stunts get even more over-the-top this time around thanks to armored vehicles and industrial electromagnets. F9 takes the franchise's loose understanding of logic, physics, common sense, gravity, and reality to new heights (or lows, depending on your perspective). I will give it credit for being so outrageous and ridiculous it is immediately more memorable that either of the last two entries to the franchise (although when you are this bad, is that a good thing?). Since they have now made it to space, I have no idea where the next two planned sequels will go (Hell? Mars?) unless the plans are to link up with the only other franchise that so rebelliously thumbs its nose at understanding how anything works - Michael Bay's Transformers.

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