Fast And Furious 9 Review: A Fast Ride On A Familiar Lane
As fans of Fast and Furious 9: The Saga gear up globally for its official release, Guardian Life is proud to be part of the exclusive guests to see the movie over the weekend.
There was an advance screening of Fast and Furious 9 organised by Silverbird Film Distribution at Silverbird Cinema. The private screening was attended by press correspondents, influencers, some members of the Mercedes club, and other selected guests, was held in preparation for the official release on the 25th of June, across all cinemas in Nigeria.
If you are a Fast and Furious franchise lover like myself, you must have been eagerly awaiting the release of the ninth instalment of the film. Remember that the writers and producers played with the idea of “What if Dom went bad?” in Fast and Furious 8. Well, in Fast & Furious 9, which goes the route of ‘What if Dom had a long-lost brother?’. Yes, Dom having a younger brother is shocking considering he has never been mentioned before but that is not the only thing that would make you blink while watching F9!
It is not a bad idea in itself to delve into the backstory of characters although, for this, it felt like a soap opera blended with dramatic conflict. We see a faceoff between the Toretto brothers Dom (Vin Diesel) and Jakob (John Cena) over some Coronas. Dom and his wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) are just trying to live a quiet life but when their old friends Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson), Tej Parker (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) show up to request their help to solve a mystery involving their old employer, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and this sees him drawn back into the world of the furious.
This storyline is not surprising as it sounds too familiar to what we have been seeing from the franchise, the Fast & Furious crew after some technological MacGuffin. The twist this time is that it’s a “weapon so dangerous it shouldn’t exist for another half-century” according to Cipher (Charlize Theron).
Depending on your view of things, you could easily consider the F9 a doubling down or a doubling up of the franchise. While there is an escalation in the action of the film with more taste taken into consideration than the last installment with the submarine, there is still a stale feel it leaves you with plot-wise. There is that unshakeable feeling of ‘been there, done that. One would almost wish that much more effort had been put into the plot as was put into the outlandish stunts we see throughout the movie. If we thought we had seen it all in the previous instalments, director Justin Lin who is behind the fourth to sixth films takes the series to utterly impossible death-defying stunts.
The flashbacks only slow down the action of the film as there were no major revelations, only pointers to the fact that Dom and Jakob may be at loggerheads because of gearhead daddy issues. This can be seen in good light as it is a subtle reminder to the audience what the fast and furious story has always been about. After all, the story started as that of a guy who got into illicit street racing after getting banned from the legal kind after almost killing the guy who caused the crash that killed his father.
There is also the return of main characters in the course of the film and while it was easy to navigate the return of some characters, a particular character’s return might leave you with questions that you may never be able to get a satisfying answer. Thankfully, the film is not blind to the invisibility of its characters and the tropes and cliches it plays with. We even get a scene where jokes are made about this. I mean, it is not every day we get to see a car hovering precariously over a landmine or slip the surly bonds of Earth and head into space.
Newcomer to the franchise, John Cena gets his moments on screen as he gets to flex some muscles and show us what action moves he has got. We see him zip-wiring around Edinburgh as Dom gives chase on rooftops is one of the subtlest action beats in the movie.
With all said and done, F9 will leave you with questions after you are done watching. You would ponder just how much further the storyline will deviate from the car racing film that came out twenty years ago. Whether the lack of realism is a good thing or a bad thing will also leave you with more questions so it is up to you to decide whether it was well worth the hype.