F9: The Fast Saga

The 521st Film I have seen in theaters…

Vin Diesel vs John Cena! The Fast franchise finally goes to space.

Thirty years ago, Jack Toretto was killed in a car crash during a race at an LA speedway. Dom, Jack’s son, beat the driver who caused the crash, killing him. In prison he discovers that it was no accident, the car was tampered with. This causes a rift in the Toretto family and Dom’s brother Jakob leaves town.

In the present day, Dom and his wife Letty are raising his son, Brian, on a farm. They have left their international spy/adventuring past behind them. After a visit from Roman, Taj, and Ramsey (their old partners) they are dragged back into the game. Cipher, the arch-villain of the last few films has escaped. There is a weapon that can use satellites to commandeer any networked device, on the planet. The bad guys are after it, and leading the charge is none other than Dom’s long lost brother. The team gets back together to get the weapon and save the world. This involves flying a car into space. Also magnets.

Vin Diesel returns as Dominic Toretto, his signature role. He turns out a good performance, as always. Vin is great and going for the deep emotions in the tough guy exterior. Opposed to the inner injuries, Toretto continues the recent trend of being thrown around like a rag doll and suffering no injuries.

Michelle Rodriguez is back as Letty, and continues to be a badass. She has several motorcycle stunts and an outstanding fight scene in Tokyo. She gets a couple of great scene with little Brian as well.

I have no choice but to list them together. Tyrese and Ludacris as Roman and Taj. They have become the comedy relief of the series, and they excel at it. Roman in particular stands out as the voice of reason in this film when he questions how any of them are still alive after all the nonsense of the past films. After this brief consideration of reality, they then rocket off into space in an old ford to destroy a satellite. Amazing.

John Cena joins the fun as Jakob. He is…well… John Cena. He 100% fits into these movies and I am surprised it took this long to get him into one. I anxiously await his eventual scenes with Dwayne Johnson in F10 or 11.

Nathalie Emmanuel is Ramsey, the team’s tech guru/hacker. She actually had one of my favorite gags of the film when it was revealed that her character actually doesn’t know how to drive, as she engages in a car chase.

Jordana Brewster is back as Mia, Dom’s sister. She bowed out of the series following Paul Walker’s death, but it makes sense for her to return for this Toretto centric entry. Speaking of Walker, I like that they are keeping the character alive, living his best life raising the kids offscreen.

You can’t keep a good man down. Sung Kang is back as Han, despite being killed in Tokyo Drift! It’s revealed that he faked his death and went undercover for “Mr Nobody” following the death of Gisele in in F6. It is fantastic seeing him again, he’s a crowd pleaser for sure.

Michael Rooker, one of the best, enters the series as Buddy, a member of Jack Toretto’s pit team. This is another actor that fits this series like a glove.

Dame Hellen Mirren returns as Queenie, Owen and Deckard Shaw’s mother. She has a brief scene, but it is a car chase and she is driving, which I hear she absolutely loves. I adore having her in this series.

Kurt Russell is the biggest plot hole in the film. His plane, carrying Cipher, is attacked and crashes. Cipher is taken, but Mr Nobody is not seen again, aside from some flashbacks. Is he alive? Is he dead? No idea. My guess would be “alive” and back in the next movie, but the film could have been clearer on it.

Charlize Theron is Cipher. They are doing an excellent job setting her up as the “Blofeld” of the series. The finale, F10 & F11, are filming back to back, so I expect a great finish for her character.

Anna Sawai joins the series as Elle, a young woman with the secret to the super weapon. She’s been raised by Han and is a fantastic fighter. I know there is a female centric spin-off coming for this series. My assumption is that she will be that team’s Han.

Shea Whigham returns as Agent Stasiak for a brief scene. His nose, twice broken by Brian in the previous films, is a mangled mess. hilarious.

In my second favorite return, after Han of course, Lucas Black, Bow Wow, and Jason Tobin return from Tokyo Drift as Sean, Twinkie and Earl. It’s really cool to see them as part of the crew, drinking those corona’s at Dom’s cookout. Their reunion with Han was fantastic.

Another review called this “The Godfather II of cartoon car crash movies”. This is 100% accurate. It featured the flashbacks and family drama of Coppola’s sequel, but instead of mood and tension, it provides spectacle and adrenaline. The put a fucking car in SPACE. They then “Hit the NOS” in SPACE!

So, how does this rank up to the rest? A kid I was working with back in the 00’s was big into cars. He loved the first few films as they were racer centric. As it evolved into the super spy adventure series of today, he hated it. I differed.

  1. F9: The Fast Saga
  2. Hobbs & Shaw
  3. Fate of the Furious
  4. Furious 7
  5. Fast & Furious 6
  6. Fast Five
  7. Fast & Furious
  8. Tokyo Drift
  9. The Fast and the Furious
  10. 2 Fast 2 Furious

Yeah, aside from #2, I think F&F has improved with every single entry, spinoff included. That is remarkable, truly. They know exactly how to build this series and deliver excitement with every new film. I’ll be sad to see this series end in 2024, but 23 years is a hell of a run, one quarter mile at a time. 😉

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