Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena
Director: Justin Lin
Running Time: 143 mins
F9 is an American film and the ninth in the Fast & Furious saga. After retreating from herowork with his family, Dom Toretto is called back to the front line as a vicious enemy arises, with deep links to his own past.
The Fast & Furious movies have really been on an updated trend recently, with the seventh and eighth editions proving the height of this money-burning, physics-defying blockbuster saga. F9, however, is the first film in the series which takes things just a bit too far.
Let’s preface this by saying that the Fast & Furious movies work best when they’re at their silliest. With the exception of the moving end to Furious 7, the series has really embraced its mad, reality-defying action quirks, and moved away from the rather dull attempt at telling gritty crime stories.
F9 couldn’t be further removed from the humble origins of what was once a franchise about street racing, and had somehow evolved into a sci-fi espionage bonanza where cars can fly and our group of talented drivers are for some reason the people to stop supervillains from taking over the world
The seventh and eighth films managed to balance the pure ridiculousness of the story with some good action and genuinely heartfelt storytelling, but this ninth installment doesn’t really seem to bother, perhaps marking the point where the franchise has really jumped the shark.
At well over two hours long and with a wafer-thin screenplay, F9 can’t merely rely on high-octane stunts and an increasingly repetitive emotional mantra about ‘family’, as it drags on as a really, really boring watch from start to finish.
With the exception of some good moments of comic relief and a rather captivating back story, F9 doesn’t have much more to offer than going back and rewatching some of the past few movies. Its stunts are fairly forgettable, and its cast lacks the charisma and energy of previous installments, which is a real shame to see.
Of course, you don’t go to see a Fast & Furious movie for groundbreaking and original storytelling, but rather for easy-going popcorn entertainment. The issue, however, is that this movie is more of a slog than a bonanza of braindead fun, with a dull screenplay that never manges to hit the high notes of past films. So, that’s why I’m giving F9 a 6.9 overall.