Whether you call it F9, Fast 9 or Fast & Furious 9, there’s a logical assumption you know precisely what you’re in for. Technically, this is the tenth instalment in the absurdly popular franchise (factoring in the recent spin-off Hobbs & Shaw) and if you’ve made it this far, then you obviously want more. So the question remains, does it deliver? You bet it does!
There is no denying the longevity and power of the series – with box office takings in excess of six billion dollars and counting, Fast & the Furious has become one of the most successful cinema franchises of all time; a huge feat within the span of just two decades.
First they drag-raced on the urban streets of Los Angeles in 2001 and then they drifted through Tokyo’s neon jungle in 2006. And in the years thereafter, the Fast family would find themselves hooning through abandoned mineshafts, across polar ice caps, and amongst South American rainforests. If it had wheels, they flipped it, and if it had edges, they jumped it. So, what’s left… space!?
Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his partner Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are living a quiet rural life with their son when their past comes knocking (again) and they’re forced to return to a life in the fast lane.
Dom’s estranged brother, Jakob (John Cena) – a highly skilled assassin, thief and mastermind – has kidnapped Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and lures Dom into a game of cat and mouse, which sees his crew trotting all over the globe and destroying everything in their path. Suffice to say, countless cars skid, jump, fly, roll and explode. And yes, they do indeed drive a Pontiac in space!
F9 is so gleefully over the top, it’s hard to resist. This is the kind of big dumb movie that audiences pay to ridicule, and the more outrageous it gets, the louder they cheer. And what makes it all the sweeter is that its creators know precisely how far they’ve jumped the shark. For the first time there’s a sense of reverence and self-deprecation, and an ongoing theme throughout the movie is invincibility.
Tyrese Gibson’s character, Roman, is convinced that they are indestructible and perhaps possess superhuman abilities. He is ridiculed for it and yet he’s consistently proven right. To make his point, he reminds his friends of all the crazy stuff they’ve done by referencing all previous instalments. This reassures us that director Justin Lin is totally onboard with the lunacy.
Suffice to say that F9‘s roll-call is like a celebrity gumbo, with more characters on screen than the film knows what to do with. Jordana Brewster, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel return, while playing on the sidelines are Sung Kang, Lucas Black, Bow-Wow, Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron. New additions to the ensemble include Michael Rooker, JD Pardo, Jim Parrack and Cardi B, amongst others. And of course there’s John Cena, whose character’s complete lack of resemblance to his brother Dom is brushed off with a gag about the family having mixed-blood.
Fast & Furious 9 barrels ahead like an upside down, fully armoured road-train sliding down a mountain at full speed (yep, that actually happens). And just like said road-train, it lands on its wheels and steadies itself before putting the pedal to the metal and charging full throttle towards the next instalment. Stay tuned for F10.
In cinemas: June 17
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena
Directed by: Justin Lin