F9 – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron
In Irish cinemas June 24th
It is a universally accepted truth that the more sequels a studio try to squeeze out of a franchise, the more the quality diminishes. So you can imagine the groan I omitted when I saw that the seemingly very lucrative Fast and Furious Franchise was now on its ninth direct sequel (the tenth film in the overall franchise). However, after looking at the cast list and there is a fairly decent calibre of actor involved, in amongst all the usual suspects who are returning to expand their pension fund. This made me think that it must have some redeeming qualities?
If you’ve seen the other movies you get the gist of the plot – they have a formula at this stage. There are fast cars, there are rivalries and in this case, they throw in a bit of space travel for good measure (because clearly, physics doesn’t exist in this world). In a nutshell, Dom Toretto (Diesel) is now living a quiet life off the grid with Letty (Rodriguez) and his son. But as always happens when a character goes off-grid a spanner is thrown in the work. In this case, it’s the return of his long lost brother Jakob (Cena) who is a skilled assassin. He has part of a device named Aries, which can hack into any computer weapons system and Dom has to reunite his former crew to stop him from getting his hands on the second half and completing a world-shattering plot.
Sorry, I dropped off halfway through that synopsis. Yes, it really is that formulaic and the cast knows it. There is not one single actor who doesn’t dial it in. At times it feels like some of them are reading from an autocue.
The opening scene is actually pretty impressive and had me thinking it boded well for the film. Alas, it peaks too soon and while there are some impressive action scenes the whole concept is so ludicrous and over the top that even the most ardent fan will be left scratching their heads.
On paper, this probably sounded like a really fun idea. However, the reality is a clunky mess that has completely lost the plot. The most ardent of fans may enjoy this but for anyone else, it will probably seem tedious and bloated. I think it’s time to hang up this franchise once and for all.