‘F9: The Fast Saga’ rushes to destroy audience’s brain cells | Entertainment
When Universal doesn’t release its latest franchise film to critics on IMAX, you should already be starting to anticipate the worst. For a decade (counting “Hobbs & Shaw”), audiences were either amused by these brainless action sequels or repelled by their lack of restraint for the absurd.
The muscular star of the franchise Vin Diesel, who has already left the series, insisted that Dwayne Johnson was not involved in the latest installment. Diesel has struggled his entire career to be more than the “Fast & Furious” guy, settling into reality around the movie five that Dominic Toretto is the extent of his acting abilities.
Director Justin Lin, who helmed Furious Three through Six, returns for the Ninth Edition, which expects audiences to know about sequels seven and eight. These films are a mess in their dissociation from reality, their laughable game and storyline, and their inability to finalize anything.
Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) pay a surprise visit to Dominic (Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who barged in on their farm looking like Mark and Patricia McCloskey with guns at fire. News is broke that Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) is missing, Cipher (Charlize Theron) has been cleared, and a looming danger exists that only an aging street racing crew can fight.
Flashback scenes make up a backstory and sibling for Dominic and Mia (Jordana Brewster). The reappearance of Jakob Toretto (John Cena) brings back painful memories of the past for Dominic as Letty tries to keep him focused on his son and the future.
The crew travel the world defying gravity and all odds, which Roman continually emphasizes, picking up pieces of a weapon and a puzzle that suggest a cyber weapon that can cause mass destruction.
In these movies, just because you die in one sequel doesn’t mean you die in the next. Gravity is again challenged; a special magnet is used throughout the film which can instantly choose what it wants to attract. You already know how to turn off your brain with your cell phone during these movies.
“F9” will challenge even the franchise’s most ardent defender as it pushes the boundaries of the absurdity that can be tolerated. The characters in a scene want to take over the world and seconds later to side with the good guys, which is silly in itself, but this franchise has gotten so recycled that even bad guys who get good are a running theme.
Around Fast Five (2011), Diesel got married professionally to the franchise, and he stopped focusing on racing and began to evolve into a “Tomb Raider,” “Mission Impossible,” mystery-solving stunt .
The biggest achievement of “F9” is how it can make so many crazy action sequences and stunts so dull. The inevitable “race cars in space” becomes a reality in this sequel, as director and screenwriter Lin goes far beyond what many viewers, maybe even fans, will tolerate.
Trying to outdo what they did in the first, eight times, we ended up with something unlike where the franchise started and what initially attracted audiences. There’s a joke on the duct tape, but the franchise feels virtually stuck with stunts, characters joining the cast just because the movie can and inviting stars like Oscar winners Helen Mirren and Theron. to create the illusion of prestige.
Final thought: you can almost feel the brain cells die while you watch.
Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor at Texas Art & Film, based in Galveston. Visit texasartfilm.com.