The breakneck adventures of Dom, Letty and Co are now entering their ninth round. But no matter how sophisticated – in the truest sense of the word – the car escapades of the well-known crew aka “family” become in this part, in FAST & FURIOUS 9 It all feels surprisingly effortful. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: F9 (USA/THA/CAN 2021)
No matter how fast you go, the past will always catch up with you. Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) has retreated to a remote area to look after his son with his wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). When they are confronted with an extremely dangerous assassin from Dom’s past (John Cena), he must once again bring his crew together to protect the people he loves most, but most importantly himself.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise is now a nine-part film series that has managed over the years to completely fulfill its original focus as a largely down-to-earth car action series in which just a few cool guys cruise around in their souped-up cars put it aside and acquired a completely new image. At least since a runway scene in “Fast & Furious 6” became a meme because, based on the laws of physics, the runway would have to be 45 (in words: forty-five) kilometers long for the scene to still make any sense, they said Those responsible have completely broken away from the original interpretation. In the films that followed, not only was a submarine (!) included in the “family’s” action stunts, Dom and his partner also jumped from one high-rise to the next in a Lycan (!!) or allowed themselves to be hacked by all sorts of things, Chasing the remote-controlled (!!!) cars of her opponent Cipher (Charlize Theron) across New York’s 7th Avenue. No question: the creators of the series (or as it is so pathetically called in the USA: saga) have the Hollywood sequel idea “Higher faster further!” not just perfected, they live it! And that’s why, in our eyes, it was completely logical that the crew would have to go into space at some point. In “Fast & Furious 9” the time has actually come. But the problem with this isn’t the physical impossibility of this stunt, because, with all due respect: the series hasn’t focused on physics for a long time and that’s completely okay in this film universe. No, the problem is of a different nature: the madness celebrated on the screen now seems all too routine, so that even something as crazy as this space stunt seems like a necessity in order to achieve what has already been quoted “Higher faster further!” to be fair at all.
Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Mia (Jordana Brewster) enjoy the reunion.
There is a scene in “Fast & Furious 9” that perfectly sums up the character of the film – and with it the excessive ego show of the main actor Vin Diesel (“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage”) aka Dominic Toretto has always been in the movies; And not only beforebut also behind the camera when he once again talks about the masterpiece status and possible Oscar suitability of the “Fast” films. In this very scene, Dom falls from a great height into the water and gradually sinks deeper and deeper until the screen around him is bathed in bright light. We see flashbacks from previous parts that pass by like a film. And director Justin Lin, who returned to the series after “Fast & Furious 6,” enjoys this all-too-familiar “the soul leaves the body” death scene, so that you soon come to terms with the fact that Vin Diesel is in “Fast & Furious 9.” actually retired from the series. But anyone who has followed in the past what significance the “Fast” saga now has in Vin Diesel’s life will ultimately be unlikely to be led down the wrong path. The series has always been tailor-made for a figure like Dominic Toretto. And so in “Fast & Furious 9” not only are Vin Diesel once again responsible for the coolest stunts, he also dominates the series so much with his own “We are a family!”-Pathos that the step to parody is only a very small one. “Fast & Furious 9” is not necessarily saturated with testosterone (but there are now enough interesting female characters on both the good and bad guys’ sides, even if the script, true to the genre, has little of them, but also of the male characters knows how to get it out), but it’s soaked in vin-diesel through and through. For a film that constantly reinforces the “family” sense of togetherness, such a one-man show is counterproductive.
“’Fast & Furious 9′ isn’t necessarily soaked in testosterone, but it is soaked in vin diesel through and through. For a film that constantly reinforces the “family” sense of togetherness, such a one-man show is counterproductive.”
It is only logical that the scenes in which as many crew members as possible can be seen in action at once are among the best. For example, when the group races over a sharp minefield in their cart at the very beginning, then drives up a broken suspension bridge or allows themselves to be thrown from one side to the other in super slow motion. This immediately sets the tone that the stunts have in “Fast & Furious 9”. And as already described at the beginning, the desire for a somewhat plausible explanation for the success of such breakneck actions is likely to evaporate completely this time. Nevertheless, this deliberate gigantomania clashes with the narrative tone. The interpersonal and familial interactions in Dom’s team have at best the below-average qualities of a soap opera, but still take up a lot of space. What’s lacking in emotions here, Vin Diesel’s Dom regularly tries to make up for it with pathetic appeals for solidarity. This is something that can work – after all, the dozens of soaps in the USA evening program also have several million viewers every day. But it denies those responsible various opportunities to adequately enjoy the gigantomania that has been conjured up. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) tries several times in the film to point out the absurdity of all previous events and puts forward the obvious thesis that he and the rest must be something like superheroes (that he survives at the beginning of the film, that a huge car crashes directly into him shows that the creatives are well aware of the idiocy of their film content). Those standing around him acknowledge these assumptions with a laugh – and then that’s it for the self-reference. Certainly: It can be pleasant that a film, despite its outrageous high-concept dimensions, just feels like it not even permeates the cocoa. But since the departure of Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson aka Hobbs and Shaw, the wink within the series has shrunk to a minimum – something that Tyrese Gibson also did (“Black and Blue”) and Ludacris (“Friendship plus”) cannot compensate.
John Cena appears in “Fast & Furious 9” – watch out! – hit the brakes.
Now one would think that with a film length of around two and a half hours, the interpersonal part of “Fast & Furious 9” only takes up a small part. After all, this is primarily an action film. But the screenwriters Justin Lin and Daniel Casey (“Kin”) provide additional story ballast by repeatedly slowing down their film with flashbacks that are intended to explain the relationship between Dom and his feuding brother Jakob. John Cena’s (“Bumblebee”) The gigantic giant becomes an adversary for the completely banal reason of finally moving out of his brother’s shadow with his villainous actions. It is hardly understandable that the makers sacrifice a significant portion of the running time for such a shallow motivation. After all, the action scenes have always been the heart of the “F&F” series – and at least when it comes to staging them, Justin Lin adds a lot of bizarreness compared to the previous parts. In addition to the spectacular minefield scene and the trip into space (not in a rocket, of course, but in a car!), there is also a huge magnet that can be used to throw vehicles through the air at will. And various super jumps from one author to the next, which Dom and Co. now complete with ease, are of course part of the stunt repertoire. But, although the mix of computer effects and hand-made noise is once again really banging, none of this can really come as a surprise. There is now something routine and calculated about the continuous breaking down of the boundaries between “possible” and “impossible”. When the submarine suddenly appeared in “Fast 8,” it left you speechless for a brief moment. Simply because at this moment the one that has been quoted many times Shark jumped became. But the series has now passed this point and everything that comes next seems like a frantic attempt to do the same thing again as we did a few years ago.
“The action scenes have always been the heart of the ‘F&F’ series – and at least when it comes to staging them, Justin Lin adds a lot of bizarreness compared to the previous parts.”
And speaking of cringeworthy, this low-tension routine is best illustrated by John Cena’s performance. The ex-wrestler, who is equipped with excellent comedic timing – can be seen in “Bumblebee” or “Dating Queen”, among others – is never allowed to turn loose in his role of the villain. The combination of the factors “John Cena” and “a ‘Fast & Furious’ film” alone opens up the almost limitless possibilities of how the charismatic actor could leave his very own, tongue-in-cheek scent marks in the film. But it wouldn’t be the first time that a potential fan favorite from the “Fast” franchise had its wings clipped from the outset. The mere fact that Hobbs and Shaw received their own spin-off did not elicit the usual euphoria from alpha animal Vin Diesel. Maybe that’s also the reason why Charlize Theron (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) in “Fast & Furious 9” is reduced to the role of plot summarizer and keyword giver, while only Grande Dame Helen Mirren (“The Woman in Gold”) seems to have really understood that being involved in a film like this should primarily mean simply having an absurd amount of fun – and, above all, giving it to the audience.
Conclusion: As expected, the stunts in “Fast & Furious 9” are first class. But slowly even an absurd idea like a trip into space seems routine and the emphasized seriousness of the series increasingly clashes with the madness that is actually celebrated here.
“Fast & Furious 9” can be seen in USA cinemas from July 15, 2021.