Despite it falling short in comparison to the long running series’ earlier efforts, Fast and Furious 9 still manages to be an excellent summer blockbuster that you should race back to the theatre to see. The stunts remain both ridiculous and uproarious, plus the cast’s comfortable chemistry and undeniable charm is enough to keep you hooked and dying for the next one to come out sooner.

Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are living a quiet life off the grid with their son Brian. However, that peace is short-lived when the rest of the squad arrives at their house. Now the crew must join together to stop an earth shattering plot being led by the most skilled assassin and driver they have ever encountered. This new enemy will make Dom confront the demons of his past because this new enemy just so happens to be his forsaken brother (John Cena).

You can’t see the newest Fast and Furious regular

John Cena’s transition to films has been quite seamless thanks to his likeability and delightful sense of humour. So, his presence as Dom’s estranged brother is welcome. However, he sadly doesn’t fill the void left to us by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Having gotten used to having both of them around, I was sad that they didn’t join the team on their latest adventure. The behind the scenes drama between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson has only intensified and will likely thwart my dream of The Rock returning to the next film.

As for the rest of the cast, everyone was amazing as usual. The chemistry between Ludacris and Tyrese is electric to say the very least and their banter provided lots of laughs. I was also happy to see Nathalie Emmanuel get even more involved in some of the hijinks and have some memorable moments of her own. Finally, Michelle Rodriguez has truly become one with this role and does some of her best work to date. I am eternally grateful that this exceptional cast has a way of elevating even the most mundane entries in the series thanks to their charm and vibe alone.

The reason why we still watch this franchise

Let’s face it, I don’t watch this series expecting an Oscar calibur story and acting. I am here to indulge in the outrageously unrealistic yet hilarious action that somehow always manages to top itself, and the cheesy melodramatic storylines and dialogue that always involve impossibly bringing characters back from the dead and family tension that always gets solved in the knick of time. Thankfully, Fast 9 provides all of that to be a good summer blockbuster to help you achieve some much needed escapism. Justin Lin returns to direct this one and just like with the 5th and 6th movies, he truly makes every scene feel exhilarating. The insane action takes place in the most beautiful exotic locations and involves magnets, along with cars that go to space (you read that last part right). I believe they listen to their die-hard fans and try to make their most adrenaline fueled fantasies come true. I found myself laughing during all of these moments because I was having fun. I especially loved cars being used as cushions to save characters’ lives. The only downside to this crucial element to this franchise is because our main characters have survived everything before, you know everything will turn out ok. So, this takes the element of danger from the movie and has me begging for something to go wrong or a crazy plot twist. This would’ve made the action sequences would’ve been that much more exciting and made the bloated runtime feel earned.

Massive eye-roll

Fast 9 uses flashbacks to explain why Dom’s relationship with his brother Jakob is tense and it ties into what we learn about Dom when we first meet him in the very first Fast and Furious movie. I never enjoyed this aspect due to it feeling unnecessary and it gave me mixed messages about Dom and Jakob’s past. So, a shorter, more precise delivery would’ve made more sense in my humble opinion. Also, the trailers for Fast 9 were hard to miss and sadly, they reveal a pretty big plot twist in them. So, if you could avoid them before watching the movie, it would be better because it simply kills a big reveal. I don’t think anyone expected the Fast and Furious movies to go on for this long and as a result, the story is starting to drag on and feel too thin. Now they are coming up with outlandish ways to connect these films, leaving even its biggest fans scratching their heads due to its leaps in logic being too far-fetched.  

Self-aware because they care

There’s a moment in Fast 9 where Tyrese compares himself and the team to superheroes because he mentions the team surviving things that no other person alive would survive. Other than Dwayne Johnson being the butt of every baby oil joke from Tyrese, this is the first time that the franchise has made some self-aware jokes about how ridiculous everything in this movie actually is. I hope this trend continues and the filmmakers take requests from their fans. This will definitely lead to some even crazier stunts.

The original The Fast and the Furious holds a special place in my heart because a film about cool cars, pretty girls, racing and a little bit of theft was everything 10 year old me liked at the time. Over the years, the franchise turned the corner and decided to ditch the racing in favour of insane action. That decision was pure genius and since Fast Five, I have eagerly anticipated every sequel. The film gave me exactly what I wanted, but hit a few speed bumps along the way that make me hope they end the series with the next one.

CHILL AND WATCH

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