Fast & Furious 9: The Review
My review of the latest instalment of The Fast Saga.
With the iconic franchise turning 20 years old just a few weeks ago, the world was eagerly awaiting the ninth instalment of this series, which like most blockbusters, had to be delayed over a year thanks to COVID-19 and being a guy whose grown with and adored this series ever since the first instalment in 2001, I was extremely excited to get to the cinema to see this. Fast 9 certainly had all the fantastic ingredients; the return of series regular Justin Lin in the director's chair after two movies away, a crazy plot involving a never-before-seen brother of Dominic Toretto, and multiple twists and turns that only The Fast Saga could pull off.
Now before I go any further, while I'll try my very best to avoid any spoilers I will be giving a reaction to certain parts of the movie, so if you have not seen Fast 9 yet and would rather go in blind and see it for yourself, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! I also want to note that these opinions are completely my own and they should not be taken into account when and if you go to see it for yourself.
Firstly, while The Fate of the Furious was a fantastic movie, I fully admit I did not enjoy it as much as previous instalments, so I really wanted to go in and enjoy this one, but as hard as I tried, I'm afraid I didn't enjoy it as much as the other sequels.
Now don't get me wrong, Fast 9 is a brilliant film, and one that continues the trend of The Fast Saga of giving us heart-stopping blockbuster movies full of fast cars, badass stand-offs and physics-defying stunts. However, with each movie of the series getting bigger and bigger, it was inevitable that the series itself would lose some steam and fall a bit flat in its efforts, and I'm afraid this is beginning to happen with Fast 9.
Without giving away any major details, the plot involves Dom (Vin Diesel), and his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) living off-the-grid with Dom's son, Brian after the events of The Fate of the Furious, until a stress call from former ally Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) gets the team once again involved in the madness, this time against a thief named Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) who happens to be in cahoots with the team's former enemy Cipher (Charlize Theron) and Dom's long-lost brother, Jakob (John Cena).
This story is intertwined with a number of flashback sequences from 1989, which actually is the story Dom tells Brian in the first movie while showing him his father's 69 Dodge Charger. This part of the movie was done exceptionally well, right down to Dom's recollection of rival racer Kenny Linder smashing Dom's father into the wall and killing him as well as Dom assaulting Linder and going to prison for it, although we learn how Jakob fits into this story and why Dom's father's death was the reason that Jakob essentially was outcast from the family.
While this part was a nice throwback to one of the more serious scenes of The Fast Saga, other flashbacks involving characters were not pulled off as successfully. Take Han's return for example. I thought it was incredibly clever how Lin interpreted Han's death in Tokyo Drift to involve antagonist Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) at the end of Fast Six to set up the next sequel, but it unfortunately wasn't so successfully done this time to show how Han actually survived the accident.
The whole thing was done in a rather rushed and unsatisfying way and while it's fantastic to see Han and actor Sung Kang back in the series, a much-loved character, and while I had imagined a number of ways to overcome this scenario, it was neither what I hoped for or thought how it would play out, in the end. it was a disappointing way to bring back an iconic character. I also felt this way for the return of Tokyo Drift's Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) who appears in the movie alongside Earl (Jason Tobin) and Twinkie (Bow Wow). Again, great to see these characters back, but they neither are involved in nor are barely like those characters we left in Tokyo Drift.
Finally, in the sense that I am now going to drop a slight spoiler so again DON'T READ if you didn't see the movie or hear about this, but yes, they do go into space. For one, I love mad stunts in a Fast movie, but this just seemed bizarre and too much out there, and it was something that made me lose a little interest if I'm honest.
The movie as a whole seemed a little too quickly paced and sometimes hard to keep up with, as I found the plot also a little hard to keep up with, despite this movie being well over the two-hour mark, it just always felt rushed, and sometimes you can be left with not really knowing what's going on if you don't keep up with it.
As always with a Fast movie, the soundtrack is absolutely bang on, while actors such as the brilliant Michael Rooker and Helen Mirren pop up throughout the course of the movie in small, but important roles. Just don't mind the Cardi B cameo, because it doesn't really make sense.
In the end, Fast 9 is a really good film and it is definitely one that does what it says in the description, it's a typical Fast movie. I'm just disappointed with the return of Lin, who perfected the series from the chair between Tokyo Drift and Fast 6, I expected more in terms of the overall story flashbacks and I was slightly disappointed with how certain things were handled, knowing this series inside-out after following it for its 20 years of existence.
Of course, Lin has confirmed that the series will finish up with a two-part story with Fast 10 and 11 in the coming years, and I am confident that when the time comes, given his stellar efforts with Fast movies of the past, that he can give us a satififying ending to our fast-car loving family. But I'm afraid, being a hardcore fan since the very first movie, I feel a little let down and disappointed with the latest installment.