‘F9’ Ain’t Worth the Time

by Christian Ramos on June 23, 2021

in Print Reviews,Reviews

In theaters June 24.

[Rating: Rock Fist Way Down]

I have not been to an in-person screening in over a year. The first one I decide to go to is of a series that is celebrating its 20th anniversary and its ninth film in the franchise. Audiences will flock to this film in huge amounts and give this film a box office total we haven’t seen in nearly two years. This is F9: The Fast Saga (directed by Justin Lin) or: how I gaslit myself into thinking I’d care. I don’t care. 

I have seen the series before, but I remember nothing about them. The first film is one I have seen more than three times for whatever reason, and each time I think I’ll give it a chance, and I’m left wanting to gouge my eyes out. I recently watched the eighth installment in this tired franchise and reader, I just don’t get it. 

I don’t get what “fans” of this franchise see in these films. Is it the fast cars? Half the time this series doesn’t even focus on cars, and they’re just there to move the characters along. Is it the ridiculous impossible stunts? Tell me what in the known universe is Vin Diesel driving a car off a cliff, NO SEATBELT, latching on to a rope, and SURVIVING THE CRASH WITH NO BRUISES? Why the fuck are there nine of these? 

Plotwise, the film is also idiotic. Dom Toretto (Diesel) and his pals head out on their adventures to rescue Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell in a cameo appearance) has possession of a device that will destroy satellites and hack into nuclear codes, as one would naturally just have. Cipher from the last film (Charlize Theron) is probably the one who has possession of this thing, and wants her grand revenge on Dom. However, we must add a glorified celebrity installment into the movie in the form of John Cena as Dom’s brother Jakob, who has a secret background of his own and is working alongside Cipher to obtain possession of this device. Dom and the team including Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), and Mia (Jordana Brewster) set out to retrieve the device and get into more shit that is probably illegal in every country around the world. 

But do we care about a plot? A majority of the audience cheered at some of the shit that goes down in the movie. I will admit there’s a great moment with a magnetic car that is terrifically fun, but after that the film goes nowhere fast. Whoever writes these things pulls the most ludacris shit out of their asses. This includes a moment in the movie where Dom has some weird Deus ex machina in which he sees the truth behind his father’s death. BUT HOW DOES HE KNOW!? Who told him? Are audiences of this film simple minded enough to think that’s cool, because it makes no sense how Dom would know things he’s never seen or been told before?

I hate that there’s an entire subplot of Roman and Tej going to space in a car as if there is any logic in that. I hate Theron being reduced to a glorified cameo at best. I hate that Helen Mirren wants any part of this franchise. I hate there’s so much unneeded product placement from cars to the goddamn Minions characters. I hate so much that these characters still acknowledge Brian (the late Paul Walker) is alive in this universe. I get this series is about “family” but that is a slap in the face to keep alluding he’s alive and not wanting to participate in the shit they all go through.

I guess I’ll add some positives. There aren’t a lot. The stunts in this film are wow factors and I will admit despite being bonkers, I was shook at every one. The backstory of Dom and Jakob is presented well enough. Roman has a great scene in which his character analyzes literally what has been happening in every film that got to me. Why do they go through everything and come out alive? It’s a question that will never be answered. And kudos to the audience for laughing at Cena’s attempt at acting and making a serious face.

I’m sure for fans out there, they’ll love this popcorn flick for taking them out of their homes and bringing them back to the theaters. For others, it’s yet another film to not care about. Nothing about this movie matters and you need to know what happened in movies 1-8 to understand what happens here.

To quote one of my favorite drag queens, Alyssa Edwards, to sum up this movie, “Mama, this is garbage!”

Christian Ramos is a classic film fan, having had the dream to host Turner Classic Movies for years now. He also has a large amount of Oscar trivia in his head, remembers dressing as Groucho Marx one Halloween, and cherishes the moment Julianne Moore liked his tweet.


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