We’ve been trained to expect that in each of its sequels, the Fast & Furious series will appear more bombastic, crazier, more absurd. In The Fate of the Furious (2017), F. Gary Gray fights the impossible, taking Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and the team against an army of “mobile zombies”, then submarines. Fans also wonder, when will they be invited to go to outer space. Because at this point, it feels like it’s the only way to scale. Entering the ninth film, these expectations were fulfilled. Best Movie Site
The idea of bringing Fast & Furious into space has been buzzing since Furious 7 six years ago. And without it, both the eighth film and Hobbs & Shaw as a spin-off, are still able to widen their eyes. That is, the important thing is not only “how impossible”, but how the impossibility is packaged.
What appears in the F9 is actually quite crazy. Which film dares to show Pontiac Fiero floating in the sky? But then again, we’ve been trained to expect madness at its highest. When the outer space scene appeared like a mere insertion of humor, which was more like a parody in an advertisement or a sketch (although there was still an explosion and a kind of speeding action), what emerged was disappointment. Fast & Furious seems to have run out of ideas, then makes a new film based on guesses about what fans expect.
What else could fans expect besides outer space? Of course the resurrection of Han (Sung Kang) from the grave. The “Justice for Han” campaign became one of the driving forces for the film’s marketing. Han is back, and Sung Kang is still as cool as ever, but if you want justice for him, be prepared to be disappointed. The explanation of how he survives shows the laziness of the script by Daniel Casey and Justin Lin (Chris Morgan took a hiatus as writer for the first time since 2 Fast 2 Furious, in favor of working on Hobbs & Shaw), to give proper reasons without sounding plausible. Han was not given the time to shine in the action sequence, and if waiting for justice related to his death at the hands of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), please be patient until the tenth film (the credits scene promises that).
But Han wasn’t the only one who came back. Once again, the makers suspect that audiences love a reunion, when old faces reappear, even if it’s just a glorified cameo. As a result, F9 appears like a group of reunions, which are extended into minutes of scenes, then put together as a 145-minute film. How can that be? Let’s talk about the plot first. Top Movie
The opening scene features a flashback when young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) sees his father’s death on the race track. Justin Lin, who sits in the director’s chair for this series for the fifth time (last in Fast & Furious 6), is able to create intense and bombastic sequences, but more “down to earth” to strengthen the tragic feel of the moment. Memories of the time when Fast & Furious was still purely about racing appear again. Likewise in another flashback, when young Dom challenges his younger brother, Jakob (Finn Cole), to a wild race.
Yes, Dom turns out to have a sister. After being separated for years, Jakob (the adult version played by John Cena) appears again before Dom, this time as an opponent. As usual, the antagonist’s plans still involve sophisticated equipment as MacGuffin, capable of hacking into anything. Ares is his name. Jakob tries to collect the two pieces of Ares, and somehow Cipher (Charlize Theron) gets involved. Although initially hesitant because he has chosen a peaceful life, Dom is finally willing to gather his team again, visiting various countries in the world, for… for what?
London, Edinburgh, Cologne, and Tokyo were visited, because in order to stop Jakob, several things were needed, and these things could only be obtained by visiting some of Dom’s acquaintances scattered in these cities. The majority are old faces who have made cameos in the name of nostalgia, including Queenie, who gave Helen Mirren a chance to show off in the midst of the rush. But overall, unexpectedly, this round-the-world trip was minimal in action.
Every city has a meeting, each meeting is extended through boring chatter, before the audience is taken to the next city, to witness another chat, which is sometimes punctuated with unfunny humor. The duet Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) are still intriguing, but practically the only two of them are able to turn the dry humor of the script into a crisp spectacle.
Every time the long awaited action finally came, Lin and the obvious team had been racking their brains, thinking about what new craze to show. But without Chris Morgan, his exploration seems stagnant. Some are still stunning, namely when Dom and Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) car swings like Spider-Man, when finally Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) finally gets behind the wheel, driving a steel truck filled with electromagnets capable of pulling a car forcibly, or the brief moment when Dom uses extreme means to catch Jakob who is floating in the air.
The rest? Mediocre. It’s a great achievement if it appears in another film, but again, we’ve been trained to expect madness at the highest point in the Fast & Furious series. Although it seems the majority will agree, that John Cena’s potential failed to be utilized. When compared to Dwayne Johnson, Cena’s debut in this franchise is like a lack of testosterone injections. Even her figure is less badass than other debutants, namely Elle (Anna Sawai), who steals the attention both in hand-to-hand combat, and when standing behind a machine gun.
F9 is the weakest film since….. I don’t know, maybe Fast & Furious (2009). It’s hard to remember, because since Fast Five took the series in a new direction a decade ago, each installment has always managed to provide impressive entertainment. At least this time Dom didn’t say “one last ride,” and realized that he would never be able to leave this dangerous life. Well, at least until the eleventh film as the ending is released (the tenth film is still scheduled to be released next year, but don’t be disappointed if you end up dropping out). Movie Review