Fast & Furious 9 is the latest installment in the series of films that started with the original Fast & Furious in 2001. It was originally supposed to be released in theaters in 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic.
Following a short flashback scene that shows Dom growing up on a race track with his family, F9 (a shortened moniker for the film) picks up some time after the ending of F8: The Fate of the Furious. Several years I would guess, since baby Brian is now walking and talking.
The team has scattered with Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and Brian living on a secluded farm, trying to live a quieter life.
They are interrupted by the arrival of Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), who inform them that a plane carrying their former handler Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) who was transporting the villain from F8, Cipher (Charlize Theron), was brought down and Cipher has been captured by other forces.
Letty immediately gets ready to rejoin the Fast family on a search and rescue mission, but Dom refuses at first. He changes his mind once he realizes, via a video sent by Mr. Nobody during the crash, that the guy who took Cipher is none other than his estranged brother, Jakob (John Cena).
From there, the characters jump into action, jetting around the world to stop Jakob and his partners from capturing the pieces of an extremely dangerous electronic weapon.
As we’ve come to expect from The Fast Saga, there are lots of insane car chases, huge crash sequences, near death experiences, and pretty much non-stop action.
And if you’re wondering how they top the submarine chase in F8, all I can say the biggest over-the-top action sequence in F9 is completely out of this world…though there’s an action sequence in the jungle involving a broken bridge that had physics holding its hands over its eyes.
The movie also goes into flashback mode several times during the present day scenes, as we learn how young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) and Jakob (Finn Cole) grew apart following a family tragedy.
This is the first time we’ve learned much about any of the series’s characters prior to when they first appeared in the films. I found it a nice touch, especially since one of the primary themes of the series is the power and love of family.
I also enjoyed how F9 brings back past characters from other installments as cameos. Among the characters popping up during the story are Magdalene “Queenie” Shaw (a badass Helen Mirren), her son Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), the trio of Sean (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Bow Wow), and Earl (Jason Tobin) from F3: Tokyo Drift, and Gisele (Gal Gadot) via a flashback.
They even manage to have a plausible explanation for the reappearance of Han Lue (Sung Kang), after he was supposedly killed at the end of F6. I enjoyed Han being back in the mix with the Fast family, and I’m glad he’ll continue to be a part of it all.
The movie also made a good choice in not using the popular CGI de-aging trick, but choosing actual actors that could resemble the younger versions of Dom and Jakob.
I’ll be honest…this movie requires a huge (and I mean HUGE) amount of leeway in the laws of physics, and occasionally a complete suspension of disbelief. But it’s the best kind of big-budget popcorn movie…it’s full of action, it’s funny in the right spots, the characters are likeable, the women are just as badass as the men, and there’s even a nice subplot on the power of redemption.
If you’re in the mood for some mindless action-packed fun in your summer movies, F9 will definitely hit the bill. I really enjoyed it. More than I thought I would because I wasn’t a fan of F8.
I’m giving Fast & Furious 9 a 4 out of 5 stars. It debuts in U.S. theaters today,June 25, 2021. There’s also a mid-credits scene, so don’t be in a rush to leave the theater.
[photos courtesy Universal Pictures]
FAST & FURIOUS 9 (2021)
Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron, Vinnie Bennett, Finn Cole, Jason Statham, Lucas Black, Anna Sawai
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