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Film Review: At Best Absurd and Conventional, “F9: The Fast Saga” Is No Doubt a Film for the Action Junkie

Written by: Adam Vaughn | June 24th, 2021

Film poster: “F9: The Fast Saga”

F9: The Fast Saga (Justin Lin, 2021) 1½ out of 4 stars.

Once again we find ourselves hustling to theaters to witness the newest, biggest, and loudest of the Fast and Furious franchise, which now feels more like a James Bond-inspired parody full of action, wanton destruction and fight sequences. It’s no secret that the franchise has deviated from its original roots of cool cars, loveable characters and a well-blended mix of action and drama. But with the newest installment, F9: The Fast Saga, we witness the epitome of unrealistic outcomes, lazy dialogue, and one-liner humor that the series has become today.

Admittedly, I enjoyed F9’s opening sequence, as we see Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) finally get a chance to lay low and be at peace with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his newly introduced son (played by Diesel’s son Vincent Sinclair). Along with the opening as heartfelt look at happiness for Dom and his team, director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) introduces us to a series of flashbacks that, while overused throughout the film, still give us an interesting analysis of Dom and his brother, Jakob (John Cena, Bumblebee), an important part of developing the love-hate dynamic between two brothers pitted against each other.

l-r: Vin Diesel and John Cena in F9: THE FAST SAGA ©Universal Pictures

Unfortunately, any and all attempts at big-picture ideas in this film are interrupted by scenes of ridiculous car chases, which at this point do not even begin to adhere to the laws of physics, a concept ironically mentioned by characters Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) as they are about to launch into space via a Pontiac with a jetpack. Yeah, right! Long gone are the days where fantastic, even iconic car races and chases were grounded in some form of logic, augmented by the latest in visual effects. Now, what we are left with is an aesthetic and storyline straight out of an Avengers film, yet somehow attempting to come across as hyper-realistic through the choices in location and visual design.

Nevertheless, F9 does little to build on the Fast and Furious lore, but rather stands as a money-grabbing stretch to the finish line, the end being whatever final installment the producers choose to end the franchise on. If you are a moviegoer looking for a big-screen, big-sound spectacle, you have found the next big thing to gratify your action/adventure needs. But for any viewer looking for a film with deeper meaning and cinematic value, your search comes to a screeching halt after witnessing F9: The Fast Saga. I would love to one day see the franchise, whose original installments broke creative rocks with believable character arcs and visual effects, one day return to the basics and do something monumental, but there appears little hope in that ever happening.

l-r: Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson in F9: THE FAST SAGA ©Universal Pictures

Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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