Ninth Fast & Furious film gives off a bit of a déjà vu vibe
FILM REVIEW: FAST & FURIOUS 9 (12A)
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CAST: VIN DIESEL, JOHN CENA, MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, TYRESE GIBSON, CHRIS ‘LUDACRIS’ BRIDGES, SUNG KANG, CHARLIZE THERON, NATHALIE EMMANUEL, ANNA SAWAI, LUCAS BLACK, SHAD MOSS, THUE ERSTED RASMUSSEN, SHEA WHIGHAM, VINNIE BENNETT, FINN COLE, MICHAEL ROOKER, JD PARDO, HELEN MIRREN & KURT RUSSELL
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 25 MINS
DIRECTOR: JUSTIN LIN
While it felt good to have a proper Summer blockbuster back at the cinema – there was a bit of a deja vu feel to the ninth instalment in the The Fast Saga.
Even though the storyline was more ludicrous – quite literally as Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges’ Tej And Tyrese Gibson’s Roman end up in space (yep you heard that right) – it just seemed like a mish-mash of every race/action scene from the franchise. But arguably not quite as exhilarating with a distinct feeling of ‘seen it all before’ – four years since Vin Diesel’s Dom and the crew hit the big screen.
One thing this supposed start of a trilogy storyline arc does is try and change it up, by introducing a Dom Toretto ‘back story’.
The movie starts with Mr Nobody’s (Kurt Russell in a brief cameo) plane being brought down with Charlize Theron’s villainous Cipher – who was left defeated but escaped at the end of Fast 8 – being captured as the prized cargo, with Dom’s jealous younger brother Jakob (former WWE wrestler turned actor John Cena) as the mastermind behind it.
Through multiple flashbacks – with a young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) and Jakob (Finn Cole) – the start of a sibling rivalry is revealed with Jakob’s apparent compliance in the death of their father Jack (JD Pardo), which plays the main ‘meat’ of the storyline.
This serviceable main plotline is aided by such secondary side dishes, as the return of Sung Kang’s Han and Jordana Brewster’s Mia – which adds to ‘fan service’ – even if the film opens with the ultra-formulaic plot device of Dom and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), with Dom’s son Brian, living an idyllic life in the middle of nowhere with no intentions of returning back to their ‘old life’. Which of course quickly unravelled to be nonsense. Can’t they think of another way to start a film?
That said, the Dom/Jakob plot line – with Cipher menacingly in the background – proves to be adequate, and this ends up doing exactly what it ‘says on the tin’ – even with a little bit of ‘staleness’ creeping in.
Sadly it did miss Fast Five’s breakout character, with The Rock’s Hobbs, and more importantly the presence of the late Paul Walker.
His dynamic with Diesel was the heartbeat of the franchise, but even though it has dropped back through the gears a bit since instalments 5, 6 and 7 – this still proved to be a welcome return for the big-budget summer popcorn-cruncher after the recent pandemic lockdown.
By Gavin Miller