F9: THE FAST SAGA
FILM REVIEW: F9: THE FAST SAGA
Release Date: 25th June 2021
Directed by: Justin Lin
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges
Written by: Daniel Casey, Justin Lin
Cinematography: Stephen F. Windon
``complete and utter codswallop``
It would be very easy to be snooty and condescending about F9: The Fast Saga (or “F9: F-This”), so let’s just fire ahead with the snooty condescension.
Through a combination of good circumstance and self-preservation, I have managed to avoid every single one of these Fast & Furious movies until now. I was expecting a bit more bald body builders, dry-humping vulgar wankmobile supercars so beloved of tiny-penised Russian oligarchs. But otherwise F9: The Fast Saga lived up to expectations.
Vin Diesel (a pimento olive on steroids) and John Cena (an anthropomorphic walnut) play warring brothers who drive after each other in many cars. And that’s about it. I’ve seen firework displays with more plot. At one point Cardi B shows up. I presume she’s good at singing, because if she was shot as an actor she’d die innocent.
F9 is broken up into self-contained blocks that could be cut and pasted into any order without making the slightest difference to the plot. Blocks that repeat every 20 minutes. It goes like this: Begin with an establishing drone shot of somewhere like Edinburgh or Tbilisi or Columbia, then move to a soundstage set of a secret underground lair, where Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez and Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson squint intensely at each other and say things like “He was my brother/She was my sister/He was my second cousin by marriage.” And then there’s a car chase.
The most remarkable aspect of F9 is how a car chase can be shoehorned into the most implausible of situations. No matter what the problem, it can be solved through the medium of a car chase. Did your brother kill your father? Car chase. Has a Baltic dictator stolen a super weapon satellite? Car chase.
The action is uniformly ridiculous. Not only does F9 not have even the flimsiest grasp on reality or logic, but it is completely unburdened by physics or gravity. At one point I think John Cena ziplined from Edinburgh to London. The problem with incredulous action sequences that become progressively more incredulous, is that eventually you are left with nowhere to go. It may be tempting to compare this with Mission: Impossible, but the difference is that while you may be aware that Tom Cruise hanging off the side of a plane is daft, it’s never dumb. Mission: Impossible doesn’t insult its audience. F9 most certainly does.
The first big action sequence here is set in the Columbian jungle, which for some reason has a road running right through it. The resulting sequence looks like a live-action Road Runner cartoon. And like a cartoon, there’s no sense of peril or danger. There are no consequences for any of these actions, and eventually you’re just left sitting there thinking, “yeah… so what?” I feel genuine pity for the stunt men and women who worked on this, because it’s a waste of good stuntwork.
The thing about leaving your brain at the door is that eventually you have to pick it up and put it back in, and you’re going to hate yourself in the morning.