Once every two years, Vin Diesel – with his freshly white, undersized, V-neck t-shirts and his silver cross-chain, comes back to produce and star in one of the most highly anticipated blockbusters of the year. A movie with enough explosions, over-the-top stunts, and flaming exhaust pipes to lead us into a banger of a summer. That movie is the 9th installment of one of the top-15 most successful movie franchises of all time, F9: The Fast Saga. With this movie exclusively playing in theaters, is it worth spending your hard-earned dollar to go see this action-packed, testosterone-filled function? I’m here to tell you whether it is or not.
*As usual, Spoilers are below. Come back when you watch it. If you have, enjoy.*
F9 sees the Toreto family in isolation and enjoying their quiet life away from the crew and their past full of world-saving missions. That retirement is quickly disrupted when Roman Pearce, Tej, and Ramsey come to tell Dom and Letty that they need them for one more job. Their former employer sends a distress signal and goes ghost, so the team must go find him to make sure he is still alive and also make sure his recently captured fugitive Cipher (Charlize Theron) doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. By the time the team gets there, they are confronted by soldiers, who we come to find out is led by Dom’s brother Jakob. There is so much more that goes into describing this story, but I have already said enough. I want to get right to how ridiculous this movie is.
I always flipped back and forth on my feelings about the Fast and Furious franchise; specifically how over the top they were becoming with each installment. I knew I liked to turn my brain off and just watch things get shot at and blown up from time to time, but I started to have the same questions everyone else had. “Why are these movies not about races anymore?” “How many movies are they going to make?” I felt that way until I saw The Rock sliding his gigantic feet across a bed of ice and gripping a missile with his bare hand. I laughed my ass off out of pure excitement and being overwhelmed by the ridiculousness of what I just saw – and that’s when I knew that I would be down for any ride the family would take me on. I was worried that this movie wouldn’t top the previous one and how absurd it was, but I can say with pure certainty F9 takes this franchise to another atmosphere.
The team gets right into their first mission within the first 10 minutes of the movie and the distress signal they get from Mr. Nobody looks like something straight from those fake security cameras on the waiting line for a ride at Universal. It’s so silly. Then they go on the mission and everyone is wearing colors to make sure they are blending in with their environment to stay incognito, and Dom is there with his fresh white v-neck and his short-range shotgun. But I do appreciate how dedicated Vin Diesel is to his image and what he and the audience know Dom to look like. I also appreciate that since he produces the movies, he can have the script say whatever he wants it to say – like making him sound as large as the villains when he certainly isn’t. There’s one point where Helen Mirren’s character describes John Cena’s character as “about your height and the same build.” Vin and John are close in height, but to say that they are anywhere close in build is comedy gold.
I loved how self-aware this movie is in comparison to the rest of the Fast films. There’s one point where Roman is surrounded by at least a dozen soldiers and just puts his gun up and starts firing it in random directions and winds up killing every single person around him without getting shot. For the whole rest of the movie, he tries to explain to the team that he believes he is invincible. Everyone that is behind creating these films understands that they are just creating superhero movies at this point, and they are proud to show it. They go as far as to send Tej and Roman into space wearing duct-taped submariner suits, to prove just how invincible they truly are.
The only thing that I can come close to complaining about is the big reveal that was ruined by the trailers – the return of Han. This would have been such an insane surprise in the movie if they would have never shown us Han in the promotion leading up to the release. I know you have to fill butts in seats to make sure you get a return on this $200 million budget, but I feel like this movie would have been successful regardless.
Overall, do I miss the possibility of danger for the team like when their cars would get shot at and their windows would actually blow out? Or when they would actually get cuts and bruises from the fights they would endure? Yes. Have I come to terms with the fact that they will never go back to that and the familia is just super-team at this point? Also, yes. And that is okay. I can’t be mad at Vin Diesel wanting to ring this franchise dry for every single coin that he can because look at how much money it makes. At the time of my writing this, it has already made $500 million worldwide. If I was Vin and could produce a movie that would make me a shit ton of money and a group of people that I’ve been friends with for nearly two decades, then why the hell not? That’s like people complaining about Adam Sandler “trying to find an excuse to make a movie with his friends in Hawaii.” Sounds like an awesome time to me. A man could only dream of one day being able to do the same.
If you’re looking for a “good” movie to watch, I say “ forget about it cuh.” If you’re looking to turn your brain off for two and a half hours and enjoy things getting blown up and a bunch of buff people punching each other, I have the perfect thing for you. As the Dom Toretto family memes go viral across all social media platforms (this is my favorite) and the foreign and domestic box office numbers continue to climb every day – there’s only one way but up for this franchise. Literally. With the next installment already going into production in January of 2022 and the director, Justin Lin, saying “it works” to a possible Jurassic World crossover – I say let’s do it. Let’s see how ridiculous this franchise can get before the last chapter is written. I can’t wait to grab a cold corona, enjoy more of these movies, and buckle up for every ride that the family takes us on.
Elijah Horton is a Long Island born, Orlando-based writer and photographer. Since he was a kid, Elijah has had a deep passion for movies, music, and photography.
That passion led him to Full Sail where he graduated with a film degree and a desire to make a film of his own one day. For now he’s just pretty good at writing about them.