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FAST & FURIOUS 9 gets 6/10 Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads


Directed by Justin Lin

Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena

6/10

The saga has certainly moved a long way from its street crime “Point Break with cars” roots, delving into the superspy genre, and making itself one of the best action film franchises around. Fast & Furious 9 feels like it moves the series towards the endgame, setting the series up for what is rumoured to be the last two films in this iteration, and reaching for new heights of speed and breathtaking stunt work.

As Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew attempt to rescue their handler, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), from a downed plane in the jungle, they encounter a face from Dom’s past. Soon the team finds themselves racing against a younger Toretto brother, Jakob (John Cena), to locate a doomsday weapon, with the mysterious Cipher (Charlize Theron) waiting in the wings.

This is a film that almost collapses under the weight of its own backstory, attempting to link the narrative threads of the previous eight films in the franchise into a cohesive whole. Fast & Furious 9 paints an overcomplicated, and overwrought tapestry of families and crew, drawing from the series, and adding a few new faces for good measure. Hence it bloats out to almost two and a half hours, but let’s face it, by this stage in the franchise you know how you feel about FF.

If you’re “ride or die,” this film has your back, providing a spectacular sequence of pure fantasy. Gone is any pretense of realism, as the characters actively wonder if they are superheroes, and lampshade the ridiculous physics behind the franchise. Accept that, and just go along for the ride, as director Justin Lin veers from action sequence to action sequence, leaving in his wake scores of burnt out wrecks. There is nothing a fast car can’t outrun; explosions, magnetism, even gravity itself, all fall into the distance in the rear vision mirror.

So we’re left with a situation where the quality of the film doesn’t reflect the enjoyment value of it. On an objective level Fast & Furious 9 is a deeply average movie, drawn out by its attempts to retcon the series past, and to coalesce these events into a cohesive whole, and let down by some clunky emotional drama. Yet, if you can shift your brain into neutral and enjoy the fast paced action, beautiful cars, and impressive stunts, you’re going to have a blast, as the franchise attempts to top itself, by quite literally dialing things up to eleven.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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