Reliably over the top
At this point anyone who watches a Fast and Furious film probably knows exactly what to expect from it: insane action held together by the smallest smidgen of realism, the entertaining team dynamic of Dom Torretto’s team, whoever the latest action star to be added to the cast is and of course the underlining moral lesson of family. And Fast 9 brings all of that in spades exactly as expected. But it also adds in some nuance to its overall message and a healthy dose of self-awareness that makes it more than entertaining enough to be a great addition to the franchise.
Fast 9 picks up with Dom and Letty living off the grid, with Dom’s son Brian, still reeling from the effects of the last installment’s villain Cypher(played by returning Charlize Theron), and unfortunately it doesn’t take long for Dom, Letty and the rest of the crew to be tangled up in another international high tech espionage mission as Cypher’s actions have seemingly led to family ally Mr Nobody going MIA.
This all gets heightened once in the opening action sequence we learn of Dom’s brother Jakob being the main antagonist of this entry too, played by the now near-ubiquitous John Cena. The plot like any recent Fast and Furious movie mixes a good dose of humor, levity and character dynamics with the crazy action the series has become known for, with director Justin Lin seemingly finding infinitely new ways to use cars as combative objects without just straight up attaching guns to them. The fight scenes here have also gone the usual expansive route, with now essentially everyone in the franchise capable of handling their own in a fight. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris’s Roman and Tej respectively have some impressive physical showcases, all while still remaining the comedic core of the film as well. In fact they also become the running theme of a running gag the movie finally brings up, which is the absurdity of it all. Fast 9 finally brings a direct level of self-awareness that’s essentially a direct wink at the audience that even the characters know what they’re doing should be impossible and makes no sense, but they roll with it the same way the audience does because at this point there’s really no benefit in stopping. It adds to some the funniest moments in the movie and hopefully it can be used in the upcoming tenth film as well.
Beyond Tyrese and Ludacris however, the whole cast pulls their weight in what continues to be a very star-studded ensemble franchise. Vin Diesel’s Dom shows some growth beyond just being the strong patriarch, especially in an entry that has him question the history of his family as he fights his own brother, even seeming hesitant to go out of hiding because he would much rather be with his son in hiding. Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty also remains the now steadfast core of the team, often being the only person to check Dom when it comes to the conflict with Jakob, who’s played convincingly by Cena and is obviously coming back for the tenth and final instalment as well. Add in reliable performance from Natalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, and even some returning Fast and Furious : Tokyo Drift stars(a franchise that mainly existed as a spinoff once) and you have an actually very large cast that still manages to be balanced and done justice in a very bombastic movie. The only area this doesn’t completely hold is with two returning fan favorites: Jordana Brewster’s Mia and the very much anticipated Han played by Sung Kang. The former is easier to sum up, everyone was happy to see Mia, but it always brings up the question of Paul Walker’s Brian, something which of course can’t actually be fixed by any amount of writing or directing, and can be forgiven when all things are considered.
Han however is a little harder to justify. Let me actually go on record here to say Han is my favorite character of the franchise with Brian coming in a close second, and when I saw him in the trailer, like many other fans, I was beyond excited and intrigued as to how he’s still alive. Unfortunately, while Han’s return is welcome, it doesn’t exactly pay off in the way that some people would like and that’s probably because another sub-plot is added to the mix as a way to explain his prolonged disappearance as well. This subplot both adds and clashes with the main conflict and it essentially sours a bit of what should just be fanfare for a returning character. That being said Kang definitely plays his part well enough and even shows some growth to Han that extends beyond being “cool”.
This review was sponsored by Ster-Kinekor Zimbabwe, the best place to watch the latest and greatest movies on the big screen. Movie time is back, with an amazing slate of films this year ranging from all your favourite superheroes, to romcoms, action animated features and drama and horror with everything else in-between. Ster-Kinekor will be open during this partial lockdown and is taking is taking health and safety measures such as lower cinema numbers and health-precautioned seating to ensure the cinema is as safe as it is fun for you. Visit us at Ster-Kinekor Joina City, Sam Levy, or Bulawayo and keep reading for a chance to win an free tickets to your next movie.
We already mentioned the actions scenes (and probably used the word action to often in this review) but there’s still a little more to be said about them. In fact, there’s actually one word: Magnets. An IGN interview I watched earlier this year had the cast and director laughing every time a fan or interviewer brought up the word magnets when talking about the trailers and you get why. In their own way they’re the movie’s best gimmick but a running gag in their own right as well. It’s both funny and awe-inspiring when they’re used even if it does border on repetitive. In fact it could be said that the Fast and Furious universe has it’s logic held together by the power of family and magnets now.
And really that last joke is kind of the best way to sum up F9. It’s a solid penultimate installment held together by flimsy logic and a stronger sense of heart. In fact its lesson on family here is probably portrayed best as it talks about the flawed nature of families but how their perseverance despite that is what makes them special. Jumble that together with a movie clearly made for the cinema and full of crowd-pleasing moments (whether they’ll make you laugh, applaud or roll your eyes) and if you’ve been a fan of fast so far , you’ll definitely enjoy this one too. Definitely catch the movie as it releases this week and keep an eye out for one of our competitions below, you might just snag a free ticket or two!
It’s competition time again! We got to watch F9 at Ster-Kinekor’s special screening this week but we now it’s time you guys got in on the fun! Win 2 free tickets from Ster-Kinekor and TZP by simply answering the question and following instructions in our Instagram competition below:
- Share the competition post on your story and tag us (@perspectivezim_official) and @sterkinekorzim in it.Make sure you follow both to do so successfully.
2. Tag who you would wish to go to the movies with
3. Answer the weekly competition question.
Question: What did we say holds together the fast and furious universe especially in #F9?
Enter on Instagram(or check out our Facebook competition in our Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard review to win more tickets too) and you’ll get your 2 movie tickets for next week’s movies. Good Luck!