F9 Review: Is The Finish Line In Sight?

For as much as Vin Diesel talks about the past catching up to his character Dom, we’re getting further and further away from the roots of this franchise catching up to where we stand. Going on ten movies total as a franchise, does F9 bring something new to the table? Well, it does put John Cena behind the wheel, and the Wipeout host hops his way from car to car like it’s an obstacle course. No spoilers, but almost every base has been covered after F9, so where can the franchise go from here? Some sequences are pretty out of this world, but it does bring up the question of what Dom and his family can go.

You may be asking yourself, “What is the plot of F9?” You follow Dom and his crew, who are chasing Jacob (Cena), and they go on a globe-trotting cat-and-mouse game. Seem vague? That is about the extent of the plot in F9. Interstellar was a headache if the science was thought about too hard, and F9 brings a similar effect but only if you try and keep up with where the story is taking place. It’s like watching the beginning of Safe with Jason Statham, which jumps around three times in the first five minutes, but F9 keeps that pacing going for two and a half hours.

As the trailers showed, Han (Kang) and Mia (Brewster) return to the fold. It’s great to have Han back, but was yet another retcon of his death needed? They keep showing different perspectives of his death scene like it is Bad Times at the El Royale, but we will have to wait another movie to truly understand it. Charlize Theron returns as the villainous Cipher, though it feels as though all her scenes were shot in a day as she spends her scenes in one location.

Just bear with the movie anytime it feels like it’s trying to be serious, it will return to its usual programming soon with a gigantic set piece filled with explosions and people being caught with cars is sure to save the day. The action is bigger in scale than ever, and the movie likes to remind you in a very tongue in cheek way that the team seems invincible. Yet no matter how much they joke about it, they continue to further prove it. Even Tyrese gets a scene where he survives soldiers that have stormtrooper-like aim and takes them all out by spraying a gun like that one kid in every Call of Duty lobby. It’s understandable that these movies are purely spectacle, but I do hope that the tenth and eleventh installments can bring some stakes into the movies. Otherwise, you get F9, which simultaneously attempts to make you believe the franchise is ending but also feels like just another episode in the series. The storyline between Dom and Cena goes down exactly how you likely imagine it will and ramping up the amount of action isn’t enough to compensate for the lack of creativity.

In the end, F9 is exactly what the fans of this franchise want. It’s obviously not “high-brow” cinema, but it has enough action scenes to hold your attention. It does go a bit too far for me at times, like when cars swinging off cliffs like Spider-Man, but a theater full of people cheering makes the moments feel way more special than they have any right being. Maybe the franchise is running on fumes, but fans of the franchise can buckle in and enjoy this quarter mile ride to the finish line as it (hopefully) wraps up.

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