F9 review: Fast & Furious sequel keeps heart amidst crazed action

Vin Diesel driving a car in Fast and Furious 9.
Vin Diesel as Dom Toretto in F9. Pic credit: Universal Pictures

There has been one thing that has remained constant with the Fast and the Furious franchise over the years, and it was amped to the max in F9.

What started out as a street racing action movie that was a blatant ripoff of Point Break turned into something resembling a superhero movie, but one where all the characters’ powers are extreme stunts.

There is even a mention of this in the movie when Tyrese Gibson’s Roman Pearce has a running conversation about how they have been through crazy things, yet none of them have a scratch on them (of course, with the exception of Gal Gadot’s Gisele, who died in Fast & Furious 6).

He wonders if they are not normal people, and while Ludacris’ Tej Parker asks if they are immortal, it was just a way to poke fun at Roman. However, a falling all-terrain vehicle almost kills Roman in F9 and then he and Tej go into space in a Pontiac Fierro.

Yes, they flew into space in a Ford Fierro with a rocket hooked onto it.

If that is something that hampers your enjoyment of a movie, the Fast & Furious franchise might not be for you.

F9 review

Dom and Ramsey jumping off a car in Fast and Furious 9.
Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Dom (Vin Diesel) in F9. Pic credit: Universal Pictures

The theme of the Fast & Furious movies has always been “family.” Forget about the cars, the heists, and the espionage. Forget about the girls, the need for speed, and the massive fights.

This is a movie about family, and it is about a family that runs deeper than blood.

This movie adds in the “blood” to make the meaning of family even deeper. Dom has a brother and he is back as a bad guy played by John Cena.

F9 sets things up at the start when Dom and Letty have settled down into a country house in the middle of nowhere, hiding from Cipher (Charlize Theron), who escaped in the last movie.

They are with Dom’s son Brian, keeping him safe, yet only Dom seems happy to be there. Letty wants back in action, and she has no patience sitting on the sideline. This made her jump into the fray when Roman, Tej, and Ramsey shows up and asks for help finding Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) after his plane was shot down.

Dom refuses to go, wanting to protect his family, but he gives in when he watches the computer footage and realizes the man who took the plane down was his brother, Jakob.

This is when Dom realizes that Jakob is a bad guy, a spy who plans to take down the entire world with a McGuffin that will wipe out all the Internet and give him access to all nuclear bombs.

There are then several car chases, fist fights, explosions, and everything you could want from a Fast & Furious movie — none of which is even remotely possible in real life.

This is because these are superhero movies now, and they are not ashamed to make note of this.

However, that is not what makes F9 a really good addition to the franchise.

This movie goes back to Dom’s childhood and even brings back Mia (Jordanna Brewster) – something that Michelle Rodriguez demanded to add an influx of female butt-kickers to the mix.

The women fighting in Fast and Furious 9.
Elle (Anna Sawai), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) in F9. Pic credit: Universal Pictures

We got to see Dom and Jakob as teens and learned how their dad died. We also saw how their relationship ended and what Dom did that assured Jakob took the path he did in life. It was a tragedy based on a terrible assumption, and this movie kept the same theme that all Fast & Furious movies take.

What is family and how far would you go to preserve and save it.

With family now including the men and women in Dom’s inner circle as well as the blood relations (with Jakob, sister Mia back, and of course little Brian), that is still the heart and soul that fuels these movies.

F9 final thoughts

John Cena and Vin Diesel  in Fast and Furious 9.
Dom (Vin Diesel) and Jakob (John Cena) in F9. Pic credit: Universal Pictures

There is a good chance you might hate everything about F9. If you are someone who wants these movies to be serious action movies that can only exist in the real world, this entire franchise is not for you, nor has it been since the fifth movie in the series.

However, F9 is a movie that knows what it is and it wears its ridiculous nature on its sleeve as a badge of honor.

An old cast member returns from the dead. Helen Mirren has a ton of fun in her own insane driving and chase scene. There is a plane with a giant magnet on it that can grab a car that flies over a cliff. There is another scene on that same cliff that had people in the theater laughing.

The good news is that the movie was laughing right along with them.

Roman dropped the idea that they were not real people and then DROVE A CAR INTO SPACE with a rocket ship built by the cast of Tokyo Drift.

Roman and Tej going into space in Fast and Furious 9.
(from left) Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) in F9. Pic credit: Universal Pictures

Don’t go in looking for a humorous action movie. Go to the theater expecting to have a great time watching some of the most ridiculous action scenes you never expected to see, and F9 might be the most enjoyable theater trip you could hope for.

F9 hit theaters on June 25.

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