Julian Reviews: ‘F9’ Is A Nonsensical Cartoon

Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez in F9

Massive Spoiler Warning!!!

Hello again! Here we are discussing the nature of “family” in F9: The Fast Saga directed by Justin Lin.

The new chapter of The Fast and The Furious franchise follows Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his wife Letty Ortiz Toretto (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman Pierce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), and Ramsay (Nathalie Emmanuel), along with his sister and wife of Brian O’Connor Mia (Jordana Brewster), and the resurgence of Han Hue (Sung Kang) on a new ridiculous spy quest involving the resurfacing of Dom’s younger brother Jakob (John Cena).

Thanks to this new information from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), Dom is forced to come out of his quiet lifestyle and stop his brother from launching a plot McGuffin called the Aries Project, which can threaten the entire world. All the while, the group meets with various characters who have existed over the years like Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Bow Wow), Earl (Jason Tobin) from Tokyo Drift, and recently new ones like Elle (Anna Sawai), Buddy (Michael Rooker), Cipher (Charlize Theron), and Queenie (Helen Mirren). There’s also a dual storyline involving the relationship between the two Toretto brothers. The plot sounds fairly decent when it is written on paper. Nothing comes close as to how it is actually executed on screen. 

Ludacris and Tyrese in F9 (Universal)
Ludacris and Tyrese in F9 (Universal)

I will tell you this: Logic, reasoning, physics, and science has no place in this franchise since the first movie. It starts off normal with a flashback to how Dom’s father Jack died on the racetrack as told to O’Connor in the first movie. Flash forward to the present day, it immediately gets ridiculous the moment they have to go on their mission. I will have to admit, the action scenes and stunt work are pretty good. But it feels like I’ve already seen this in past movies as a rinse and repeat process. They try to find new ways to top themselves above the movies before them. At the same time, I could not help but turn my brain back on to think about how these characters could have potentially died and don’t experience any kind of consequences doing these life-threatening missions.

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For example, in the first action/chase scene in the fictional Central American region of Montequinto, Pierce’s life was threatened three times when he was cornered by isolationist soldiers and killed them all while taking gunfire, almost got killed by a landmine while trying to escape from his armored vehicle and almost got smashed by it. Then, Pierce, Ramsay, and Parker were driving on a very insecure wooden bridge where the weight of the car caused the bridge to collapse, when in reality the car should have just fallen along with it, but they somehow survived. Lastly, Dom and Letty drove and swung their car from the rope of the broken bridge over to the opposite end of a cliff like Tarzan. It’s ridiculous. 

There are plenty of other wildly improbable moments in the film, but without these bonkers stunts and action sequences, the film is relatively boring with the cast doing merely okay. Gibson was the most self-aware cast member in this movie, and I appreciate that. Cena did a decent job, but his character was predictable like clockwork. In almost every Fast and Furious movie, the main bad guy is played by an actor fans really like and want to see eventually become a good guy, and that’s how it happened with Cena. Charlize Theron, on the other hand, was underused, with scenes taking place in a glass box and later in a drone simulator, contributing nothing to the plot.

The other bad guy, Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) I could have done without. He’s just there so we can have a titular evil rich guy and he does nothing but tries to act like he’s a bigshot when he’s clearly not. Mirren, Gibson, Ludacris, and Emmanuel are the only people who are having more fun than everyone else in this movie. Almost all the main cast are too serious in a franchise that has become so silly. Admittedly, I am missing Dwayne Johnson in this movie, but his Hobbs & Shaw partner Jason Statham does show up in a post-credits scene. But that scene has no impact. 

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Sung Kang and Vin Diesel in F9 (Universal)
Sung Kang and Vin Diesel in F9 (Universal)

F9: The Fast Saga is a borderline mediocre movie where it seems the franchise is slowly but surely running its course.  It’s not unwatchable but having watched a lot of movies with CGI and a lack of realism, such as seeing cars using magnets to swing, people not actually suffering from life-or-death situations, and shooting cars into space, can make that a viewer’s willingness to suspend disbelief waver.

In addition, the script is just there to provide wilder hijinks with cars and have characters speak dialogue that no other human being would say or do. What will they do next? Somehow magically collide with the Jurassic World franchise? If that ever happens, I would become very indifferent to how these franchises progressively turned into billion-dollar cartoon network shows. (In fact, Universal has cartoon shows on Netflix called Fast and Furious: Spy Racers and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. I’ve never watched any of them because the movies were already cartoon shows before they decided to make actual cartoon shows.) With that being said, I am still suspiciously curious as to how the last two movies are going to turn out without Dwayne Johnson in them, but I’ll have to watch them to see just how defiant those movies will become.

Rating: 2/5

Julian Jones is a University of Alabama at Birmingham graduate with a degree in Sociology and minor in Public Health. He is applying for a job for ScreenRant. When he is not watching films, he is an Assistant to Ashley M Jones, Poet Laureate of the State of Alabama. Let him know what you thought of his review by leaving a comment below!

If you want to learn more about Helen Mirren’s romance subplot with Vin Diesel in the next Fast and Furious movie, go to https://collider.com/helen-mirren-would-kiss-vin-diesel-fast-9-comments/ and https://collider.com/helen-mirren-vin-diesel-photo-venice-fashion-show/ to learn more.

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