This unnecessary and noisy sequel runs out of gas.
To remind you “Furious 7” should have been the final chapter in every “Fast & Furious” sequel or spin-off review would be derivative. To remind you I think Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris driving on the moon would be going too far would be repetitive. I’m sorry to be derivative and repetitive, but that’s how I’m describing “F9,” and I must say “F this sequel.”
Trying to beat the Marvel Cinematic Universe at their own game, the franchise tries to update itself to cater to a new generation of movie-goers, when the original movies that began in 2001 were about races and crime. This sequel follows the same formula with car crashes, races, and chases, and has to be spiked with magnetic cars and rocket cars. And get this: they have to drive on broken rope bridges or at least swing their cars on the leftovers.
It’s already making money overseas, and I know it’s going to be a hit domestically as well. So, why am I wasting my breathe and energy trying to warn you to see better films than this? Because it’s my job as a film critic, and I know there are others who would agree with me on where the franchise is going.
The movie begins with Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his wife Letty (Rodriguez) raising his boy, and are forced to get back in the car game when Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) goes missing and the cyber villain Cipher (Charlize Theron now with a bad hairstyle) is back to raise Hell. You know why Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw didn’t just kill her just before she jumped with her parachute. I’m speaking to him in the words of Deadpool: “You were droning on!”
Anyway, she has Dom’s little brother Jakob (John Cena) under her wing, and their dastardly plan is to steal and control a deadly virus. Being this is a family thing, their sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), who married Brian with a son, comes in to help, while reconnecting with Letty. And returning from the dead (we can pretty much tell he survived Deckard’s assassination attempt since we didn’t see his carcass), Han (Sung Kang), who has trained a young orphan named Elle (Anna Sawai) to fight.
There’s a subplot involving a young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) and Jakob (Finn Cole) both dealing the tragic demise of their racer father. Michael Rooker appears in both the past and present as their mechanic, who took Jakob, while Dom was serving time, and in the present, he tells Dom his brother is currently in London. Those are the only scenes that don’t rely on all the obligatory updates this movie bestows upon. And Cena does some solid work as the brother when confronted by Dom about his choices. At least, he has a personality and a lot of grit in the dramatic sequences.
My space theory is about to come true, because Jakob is planning to hack a satellite to pull off the diabolical plot, and so Tyrese and Ludacris must go into space to destroy that satellite. How did we not see that coming? Have we been complaining too much that the franchise wanted to annoy us? I’ve said this with “Jupiter Ascending,” and now I’m saying it with “F9.” I wasn’t running out of oxygen; I was running out of patience.
The comedy is also lame. It mostly regards to the good hacker Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) not getting her driver’s license, and has to drive the bad guy’s magnetic van through London. She hits some cars and says: “It’s not my fault” and then “That one was my fault.” And the magnetic car even has to take some cellphones and jewelry, and I’m sitting here saying: “Ho hum.” Like we haven’t seen this before.
If this was the first “Fast & Furious” movie Justin Lin has directed since the sixth film, then he should have done something about the characters, the comedy, and story, which he claims is fresh. But clearly, he’s been watching too many movies, and now he indulging fans with the Sci-Fi genre. And so far, we’re getting two more movies. Richard Roeper said in his “Fate of the Furious” review that they’ll end up in wheel chairs, while I say, if they keep making the series look unrealistic, they’ll, one day, end up in a parallel universe full of talking vehicles, like the one in Pixar’s “Cars,” and race against Lightning McQueen. But then again Disney might buy out Universal Pictures. Let’s hope not.
And when we get to the tenth entry, they should call it “FX.”