This series has officially jumped the shark, all the way into outer space!
Well, the world is slowly crawling back to normal, and Oscar season is over. So what better time is there than now to damage brain cells with the very latest film of the Fast and the Furious series, now officially known as The Fast Saga. No matter what people prefer to call this franchise, it is possibly the most fascinating one. What started off as a simple auto-themed version of Point Break has bloomed into a franchise of street racers performing heists and saving the world while promoting the importance of family. Each film in the series contains ludicrous (ahem!) dialogue, action scenes with bewildering physics, and characters dying and coming back like soap opera leads, all while doing tasks that no underground street racer would be qualified to do. What is fascinating is that even though there is a certain amount of fun in the action, the series takes itself a little too seriously. So it almost makes one wonder how aware the filmmakers are of how looney these films turn out
Any ordinary film with these qualities would be laughed at by the public and forgotten about instantaneously. The Fast and Furious franchise, however, is anything but ordinary, and audiences have flocked in packs to see these films, making it rival Star Wars and the MCU as a box-office empire. Not even the confusing timelines and inconsistent titles can take down this franchise. With the Fast and Furious saga, anything can happen, and it will still be a success! After introducing flying cars, submarines, and Dwayne Johnson muscling out of an arm cast, where else could this series possibly go from here? Well, buckle up!
Following the events in (the awfully titled) The Fate of the Furious, Dominic Toretto and his wife Letty are living a quiet life with their child, Brian. Their peace is interrupted by their friends Tej, Roman, and Ramsey, who ask for their help in recovering an object that has the potential to override anything using code. Also after this device is Cypher, the villain from Fate, who has recruited Dominic’s estranged brother, Jacob, who is supposedly responsible for the death of his and Dom’s father. Now, Dom, his crew, along with a few returning faces, must arm themselves, pull out, and try to stop Cypher and Jacob from obtaining this device and achieving world domination.
Knowing how fascinatingly berserk this franchise is, how can one properly discuss this entry? Supposedly, one can judge it by the quality of its action scenes, or the camerawork. The fact that the director is Justin Lin, who helmed entries 3-6, is a plus, because his history with the series gives him a familiar hand with constructing the action set pieces. As expected, he films the action with crisp and clean camerawork with a slight frantic edge to them, and for the most part, they manage to entertain.
It is almost dangerous to criticize the logic in any of these films, because it is likely that the filmmakers will double-down with the next film. The action scenes, while fun, seem to get crazier with each entry. In Fate, a character was able to lean out of a car and divert a speeding torpedo with his hands, on the ice no less. Someone at Universal must have heard someone’s criticism of that scene, and responded by including the following: a car swinging across cliffs by a bridge rope hooked on one of it’s wheels, a truck with a super magnet catching any metal objects (that are convenient for the plot.), and Dame Helen Mirren speeding down the narrow streets on London while making conversation with Vin Diesel. Just mentioning these may have just inspired the scenes for the next entry! Maybe they will drive their cars into a erupting volcano…and live!
As for the film’s dialogue, it is gloriously abysmal. In addition to the corny one liners and statements about family one would come to expect from this franchise, there are some awkward references to Star Wars, as if this money making franchise truly needs help from another. The standout line, by far, is said when Cypher compares one of her henchmen to Yoda. One can’t help but admire the filmmakers for being brave enough to allow this line of dialogue to be delivered by an actress as talented as Charlize Theron, and included in a film to be seen by millions of people. Mainstream Hollywood movies are known for terrible dialogue, but the dialogue in these films are not even worthy of a second draft of a screenplay.
In regards to the story, the inclusion of Dominic’s younger brother can’t help but feel like a desperate attempt to add an extra boost of nitrous into this franchise’s engine. Granted, audiences have not seen much of Dom’s past before, so introducing other Toretto family members is not completely unheard of. It is amazing, though, how Dom had kept his brother a secret for so long, and how Jacob is just as capable of doing things like zip lining across London without anyone noticing. Again, it is probably best not to question the logic of a film where people cushion their high falls with car hoods or crash cars without suffering any whiplash.
Speaking of which, the dialogue becomes even more ridiculous when the characters bring up their invincibility. One character asks another how he doesn’t have a scratch on him after being shot at, surviving an exploding grenade, and being nearly crushed by a tank, only to be greeted with no response, which only seems fitting. While one can say that it is nice for this series to be self-aware how invincible these characters are, it feels like a pointless question after 10 films.
Anyone who has seen the trailer will know that certain characters will be returning, and fans of the franchise will be pleased to see them back, as long as all of the logical flaws are overlooked. Also shows in the trailer is possibility of the characters going into space. Without describing too much what happens, It is equal parts glorious and insane, and must be seen to be believed. There is a whole laundry list of everything that is wrong with the sequence, but for the Fast and Furious franchise, does it even matter? The answer is no.
In the end, whether or not F9 is a good movie is a pointless question to ask. Ultimately, like many current cinematic universes, one’s enjoyment of a new entry will depend on their investment in the previous ones. Fans of the franchise will most likely get what they are looking for, including absurdly fun action scenes and a sense of pure Hollywood escapism. Those who are not familiar with the characters or the franchise’s history, however, are not going to feel as invested in this film, and will have no problem saying that this is awful. To put it simply, it is for the fans.
The only real question to ask is how this film fits in the ranking of the entire series. Well, F9 is not as fun as Fast Five or Furious 7, but it is also not as boring as Fast and Furious or Fate of the Furious. So F9 supposedly fits somewhere in the middle. It is nice having Justin Lynn back as director, but the franchise has gotten so ridiculous to this point, that it has gone beyond self-parody.
What can we expect from the next film? The more appropriate question is what should we not expect from the next film? Supposedly we’ll find out in “F10,” or “FX,” or “Fast and Furious: As the Tire Turns”, or whatever title the studio decides on.