Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Charlize Theron and John Cena
There aren’t many film series that last over 20 years, especially with a regular output and the same returning cast members. With 9 instalments so far, plus a spin off, Fast and Furious is still going strong. The gang are back in F9, to stop a global terrorist attack from Dom Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) brother Jacob, played by series newcomer John Cena.
As with all of the sequels in this series, the craziness is ramped up even further. The Fast and Furious series, much like the Mission: Impossible series, is designed around always showing bigger, more extreme stunts. Sure there may not be real life danger to the cast, such as with Cruise in the MI franchise, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t entertaining. This time the stunts and spectacle are beyond over the top. A car swings across a chasm by rope; Indiana Jones style, a car makes a jump and attaches to a magnet on the bottom of a plane and we get to see a car launched into orbit. It’s insane, dumb and extremely entertaining.
All of this without any of the main cast getting so much as a scratch. It’s even a running joke/plot point from Roman (Gibson) that they are invincible. With all of the crazy stuff they’ve gone through over the course of 9 movies and the fake deaths of a couple of characters, it’s easy enough to agree with him. These films are like roller coasters, thrilling in the moment and not much more than that, and they aren’t trying to be anything but. That’s what makes them so great. F9 is unapologetically silly, over the top nonsense and that’s why it’s so entertaining. If you don’t like the series or action-comedy films then this isn’t for you and F9 is in no way trying to win anybody over who isn’t already in their lane. With how extreme it is, God knows how they are going to top it in the sequel.
On top of the thrilling stunts, car chases and shoot outs we do have a core group of characters that we’ve grown to love over the course of 9 movies. The lives of Dom and Letty have moved forward, and they start F9 living on a farm, with Dom teaching his son how to fix a tractor. There are loads of character driven moments throughout that will be rewarding for long time fans of the series. We also get a series of flash-backs throughout that go deeper into Dom’s past showing a scene that was first referenced way back in the first film. It’s nice to see it and there is a real great touch that when we are in the 1980s there is a grainy tint to the screen and subtitles, making the footage look older.
F9 has also received a 4DX release, which is where the seats move during the film to match the action, along side smoke machines, rain and flashing lights. This is the way to see something like this. It makes a thrilling film even more fun. If you have a 4DX screen near you, then it’s worth the price to go and see it. It feels like a theme park attraction, and I mean that as the biggest compliment.
Justin Lin perfectly directs F9, making every action sequence feel real and thrilling on the big screen. This is a masterclass action film. It’s fun, tense, thrilling and the effects are so great. Lin has managed, once again, to add another excellent sequel to the Fast and Furious franchise. It’s hard to imagine how we got here from such humble and small-scale beginnings and it’s even harder to imagine where Lin is going to take us next.