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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews F9: The Fast Saga (Fast 9)

June 28th, 2021 by Marc Comments

Fast 9: The Fast Saga (12)
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, John Cena and Charlize Theron
Running time: 2h 25min

Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom’s younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.

Originally due to come out last May, Fast 9 is, apart from Ghostbusters: Afterlife, my most anticipated movie of the year… but does it hold up?


Ok, look, ongoing into this, I knew exactly what to expect… the Fast Saga hasn’t exactly been subtle to this point, so I was excited about the first big event movie post-pandemic and I got it.


Nine movies in (ten if you include Hobbs & Shaw, eleven if you include Better Luck Tomorrow), this is the first time the franchise has really showed signs of fatigue as we meet a whole new character in Jakob Torretto (Cena), the unknown brother of lead character Dom (Diesel). For a franchise that has been all about family for the last twenty years, Dom having a brother we have never heard of seems so very improbable.

On top of this, the absence of the series’ long time writer Chris Morgan certain is felt as the movie seems out of balance with the rest of the series, throwing in one improbable situation after another, in the hope that if enough things happen fast enough, you won’t realise that not very much is happening. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this franchise more than even the action, is the characters who we have come to actually care about and the world-building that has been masterfully done so far by Morgan is gone here, replaced with what feel like cameos for the sake of cameos… hey, remember this character from Fast 2 and 5? Well, here he is again! Remember Shaw’s mum? Here she is again!

I don’t really know what else to say here; the movie feels empty compared to its past entries, like it’s trying hard to be Fast & Furious but. Not. Quite. Getting. There. Which is odd because it’s co-written by Justice Lin, director of several of the movies and a man whose name excites me when I know he’s behind the camera with these movies and, behind the camera he excels, sadly, writing isn’t his forte.

Overall, the action scenes are masterfully handled here but once you recognise that these characters are not going to die or even get hurt – this is a running ‘joke’ in the movie – the excitement soon dies out… there’s no thrill when there’s no risk.

And sadly, that’s a metaphor for the whole movie. The direction is fine, the performances are on a par with the past entires but sadly, it just never comes together in a way that has us waiting for more like the last three of four in the franchise did.

So, overall, it’s fun and it’s silly but it’s just not up to the legacy that these characters and stories, as preposterous as they are, have earned over the last two decades BUT it’s certainly watchable and there are some fun nods but it also mishandles some of the big moments – look, I get what it as going with whe it came to explaining Han’s returns and it has some big balls for trying it but, sadly, as much as I love having him back, it just didn’t ring true).

Anyway, if you have a couple of hours to kill, this is a fun little outing but don’t expect to be left gasping for more on this outing. But there’s two more movies to come and let’s hope this is just a bump on the road because I’m expecting this franchise to go out with a real bang. And I’m still optimistic that it will.

2 out of 5 Nerds

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….