F9 — Movie Review

by KJ Proulx

Promotional Artwork for ‘F9’ [Credit: Universal Studios]

I have been a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise since the release of the original film in 2001. I enjoyed 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, but it seemed like the franchise had more than fizzled out at that point. In 2009 the series made a comeback with the original cast and again I was back on board. I like these characters and will always watch a new film with them all in it. After the fourth installment, everyone knows how the series took off. Five and Six are easily the best two films in the franchise, but then again, losing Paul Walker seemed to drain it all once again. This series has been a roller coaster for me, but I’ve had a blast with every installment to varying degrees. F9 is now in theatres, and sadly, this was the first film in the franchise (although still enjoyable) that I’m very torn on. Here is why I believe this is the weakest in the franchise.

This franchise began with illegal street racing and now they're basically superheroes without calling themselves that. F9 begins with the team needing to track down Cipher (Charlize Theron) once again, but Dom (Vin Diesel) soon realizes that his younger brother Jakob (John Cena) is working with her. Having devised a plot that will in turn cause global destruction, the team must find a way to disarm a satellite in space. On top of that, the film brings Han back (Sung Kang) back as one of the main characters and the action is more than over the top. It’s hard for me to describe this movie without wanting to chuckle.

What I admired about this film is that it wanted to expand on Dom’s backstory and we receive many flashbacks to younger versions of these characters. The fact that Dom’s speech from the first film now has some visual context was kind of nice. Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) are once again enjoyable when they are teamed up, but their subplot here was pretty much the end of the very long line this franchise has been stretching. To say the very least, this film just goes way too far. John Cena is fine as Dom’s brother, but the fact that it took nine movies to introduce the brother of your main character, made me not care. Fast & Furious has basically become a high-action soap opera and it has worked every time until now. Again, this is coming from someone who loves this franchise.

It goes without saying that the laws of physics being played with are what made these films so much fun. Pulling bank vaults down the street, tugging a plane out of the sky, and battling a Submarine on ice were all basically not possible in reality, but they still found a way to keep the story grounded and not quite push it too far. This time, not just one, but every single action scene deals with moments that could never physically happen and these people are all human. They poke fun at the fact that they never get injured or die, but that isn’t enough when looking at just how dumb the action is here. From street racers to superheroes, the Fast & Furious franchise is now running on fumes for me, even though I’ll be there for the two-part finale they’re planning.

Overall, F9 is a fun movie to watch on the big screen, but only if you’re able to completely suspend all of your disbelief. If it wasn’t for these characters all being enjoyable, I probably would’ve hated this film. What the most puzzling thing to me is, is the fact that Justin Lin came back to direct and will be doing the next two films as well. He is the one who probably understands this franchise the most and easily made it what it became in Fast Five and Furious 6, but it’s almost like he’s taking too many notes from the ridiculous suggestions on the internet. F9 is the movie everyone joked about when Fast Five was in theatres, but I don’t mean that in a good way. Even if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, I can’t see many people loving this one. F9 is now playing in theatres, however, waiting to rent it is just fine.

Rating: 2.5/5

Check out the trailer below:

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Film Lover First. Critic Second.

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