Directed by Justin Lin, the latest installment in the iconic street racing series delivers fans a high-speed adventure that’s literally out of this world, yet surprisingly down to Earth with its themes of family, forgiveness, and overcoming the past.
Taking place several years after The Fate of the Furious (2017), F9: The Fast Saga opens up with two iconic characters, Letty Ortiz and Dom Toretto, living a quaint countryside life with their newest addition to the family: Brian Marcos. As the plot unfolds and familiar faces show up, the crew reassembles for another mission to save the world against an unlikely adversary that hits way too close to home.
One of the series’ cinematic strong points that continues to carry over to F9 is its dedication to featuring its older characters. Whether it’s fan favorite Roman Pearce from 2 Fast 2 Furious, newest addition Ramsey from Furious 7, or returning veteran Mia Toretto, each one is given a chance in the spotlight. That said, this inclination sometimes comes at the expense of the film’s newer characters. Perhaps the most shocking return was Lucas Black’s character Sean Boswell, whose last appearance in the series was back in The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006). Despite this large ensemble, what stays consistent throughout the film is the strong chemistry that the crew shares, with the cast members themselves emphasizing what it really means to be family.
The main villain of F9 is revealed to be Otto, a rogue covert operative who is looking for Project Aries, a device that gives one control of the world’s military systems. Cyberterrorist Cipher also returns from the previous film, with actress Charlize Theron delivering yet another excellent performance of the sinister criminal. While the plan is somewhat generic, the biggest plot point for the film is the introduction of Jakob Toretto, Dom and Mia’s brother who was exiled from the family for reasons that go back to when their father was alive. Played by John Cena, while the actor’s portrayal is somewhat stiff, the tension between the siblings is tangible enough on-screen. The movie also reveals more about the Toretto legacy through flashbacks, further developing Vin Diesel’s character while also letting audiences sympathize with the events that took place. Overall, Jakob’s character development is a welcomed storyline, even though some liberties are taken with continuity to fit him into the saga.
While the story delivers exciting over the top stunts that’ll make any kid go “Woah,” another impressive component of F9 are the locals, with the action taking the crew all around the world. From the vast fields of South America or the neoclassical architecture of Edinburgh, to the narrow bustling streets of Tokyo, viewers will be treated to exciting shots that elevates the filmography further from its predecessors.
Compared to the earlier films, there is less of an emphasis on showcasing the cars; a trend that started around Fast & Furious (2009). For many automotive enthusiasts, the Fast & Furious series has impacted car culture significantly during the early 2000s, pushing heavily modified cars to the mainstream. While this charm has become diluted over time, that nostalgia still exists through its characters and stunts. Manufacturer Speedkore had a hand in designing many of the vehicles driven by the characters, perhaps the most impressive car being Dom Toretto’s mid-engine 1968 Dodge Charger.
Fast & Furious 9 is a sizable movie that spans over 2 hours. While there is a good ratio between car chases and fight scenes, the film also makes room to have characters interact and gives viewers a room to breathe.
By the end of the film, F9: The Fast Saga delivers another fast-paced adventure that stays true to its message of family and making amends with the past. As a date has already been confirmed for Fast & Furious 10 as well as a couple of spin-off films, the series seems to have enough nitro saved up for a big finish. With Cipher still being a threat, much remains to be seen about how Dom and the crew will face against what looks to be their most sinister enemy yet.
F9: The Fast Saga can be viewed on sites such as Hulu and Amazon for $19.99.