- Directed by Justin Lin
- May 19, 2021 (South Korea) / June 24, 2021 (UK) / June 25, 2021 (US)
Dom must face off against an international terrorist who turns out to be Dom and Mia’s estranged brother. Small world!
I say this on the whole is a better film than the last one. It’s more of an actioner and just more fun. F9, like many of its predecessors, is just fun. It is an entertaining superspy thriller. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but yet still just seriously enough to sell you what it has without it all coming off as bad comedy. With the concept and all the bells and whistles that make it what it is, F9 manages a balancing act between fun and serious in much the same way that the older James Bond films did. This is escapist entertainment at its best.
This time around Dom (Vin Diesel) and the gang must face off against Dom’s previously unmentioned brother Jakob (John Cena) who is a car driving superspy working for some generic Dutch individual (Thue Ersted Rasmussen). Jakob has also managed to liberate Cipher (Charlize Theron) from Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) in a daring airplane raid.
New to the cast is John Cena as the previously unmentioned brother. Think Evil Dom. Previously unmentioned relatives in film and television usually feel like they have come out of left field and take a while to become believed as being possible (if they ever do) yet somehow here within minutes you’re going “OK. I can buy this.”
The action is just as exciting and physics defying as anything that came before it. For example Dom jumps his car over a canyon by swinging his car on a cable like Tarzan. A huge vehicle is rolling out of control down a hill and Dom hops in the driver’s seat and is able to right it and drive off. Magnets are used to capture a car. Not magnets dangling from an aloft vehicle but rather magnets on a truck. They go for the fun in this movie. Reality be damned!
But the most famous logic or physics defying thing they do here is send a car to space. That little bit of logic defying re-introduces Sean Boswell (Lucas Black) from Tokyo Drift back into the series as a larger participant rather than a nice cameo. They went there.
The whole plot centers around a computer device which can take over anything. And part of that plot aside from the device they have to get back or prevent from falling into the hands of the villains involves a satellite in orbit that must be disabled otherwise the villains will still be able to succeed. So two members of Dom’s team are sent up into orbit to take out the satellite by using powerful magnets. What is it with magnets in this movie?! When those magnets fail what they basically do is drive the car into the satellite and then at the very end of everything they wind up at the international space station.
The FF films border on science-fiction and super heroics. At least they do now. Reality is thrown out the door. If you complain about how unrealistic they are then you obviously didn’t take the time out to learn what you were going into before you watched it. These are meant to be fun now. This helps the action is great. They are balls to the wall adrenaline. They get the heart pumping and are exciting to watch. They are modern spy-fi in the best sense of the concept.
Part of the story necessitates reaching back and reframing the incident that landed Dom in jail in his youth. Retconning is tricky business. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not. Often it comes off as rather lazy. Yet they get it to work here. It expands upon what happened.
Not every event in the past of a character or film universe needs to be shown on screen. Keeping specific details vague works better at times. Here they show all of the oft discussed incident along with the consequences. It serves to eliminate the “Dom has anger issues” element which was introduced in the first film but largely ignored until here.
F9 is nothing too serious. Its intent is just to entertain and excite so on that note I highly recommend this most recent installment of the series!