F9: The Fast Saga (USA, 2021)

Dominic Toretto and the gang face an all-new threat in the form of someone from his past in this ninth installment of the action franchise.

Now retired and living in the boonies with his love Letty and son Brian, Dominic Toretto teaches Brian the ways of becoming a great mechanic. However, he gets a visit from his old crew of Roman, Tej, and Ramsey. They inform Dom that Cipher, the one who manipulated him and had killed Brian’s mother, had finally been captured but en route the aircraft was attacked and Mr. Nobody, the agent in charge, has disappeared but it is believed a hacking device known as Ares is on the plane.

Dom reluctantly agrees to join the team on the mission, which is located in the middle of a military-occupied area. They retrieve Ares and are attacked by the military. However, a mysterious man arrives and steals Ares out of their hands. The mystery man in question is Jakob, Dom’s younger brother, who became a rogue assassin who has now become in the employment of the revenge-seeking Cipher. Dom knows he is in serious trouble and in order to stop Cipher and Jakob, he is going to get help from the most unexpected of all places as some old friends along with Dom’s sister Mia return to help Dom on his most dangerous mission yet.

It seems like to many, since Fast and Furious, the fourth installment of the racing action franchise, things tend to be a bit redundant in terms of the story in which Vin Diesel’s Dom and his gang have to stop an enemy from retrieving some sort of device. However, let’s face it. The franchise is like a massive car wreck not in the way that it is executed. But you might not want to see it, but you have to! Because it seems like with each installment, there introduces new or returning characters to the franchise and it can go either way.

While it is safe to say Dwayne Johnson is no longer going to be involved with the main franchise (a sequel to the spinoff Hobbs and Shaw is in development), a suitable replacement comes in the form of John Cena. However, Cena is one of the central villains, but the shocking twist comes in the form of Jakob Toretto being Dom’s rogue brother. Charlize Theron makes a welcome return as the returning Cipher, who is oozing with vengeance against Dom and his team. Who better than to use Dom’s own brother to try to take him down?

However, if you’ve seen the trailer, it comes as no surprise that the arrival of a returning face screamed “welcome back”. And it is none other than Sung Kang, who makes a triumphant return as Han, who was supposedly killed in Tokyo Drift (the third installment). However, another shocker comes in the form of not one, but two returnees from Tokyo Drift. Lucas Black, who led that film, makes his return to the franchise as Sean Boswell (perhaps the contender to replace the late Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor) and Jason Tobin as Tokyo’s version of Tej, Earl.  There is a completely insane plan in the third act to stop Cipher and Jakob from using Ares and while it may seem ridiculous, what do you expect in a Fast and Furious film? Ridiculously hyped-up action sequences and this film is full of them!

F9: The Fast Saga mostly offers what we usually see in the franchise, but the nice twist of “family” as both a metaphor and real-life does come into motion quite well.

WFG RATING: B+

A Universal Pictures production in association with One Race and Perfect Storm Entertainment. Director: Justin Lin. Producers: Vin Diesel, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum, Justin Lin, Neal H. Moritz, Joe Roth, Samantha Vincent, and Clayton Townsend. Writers: Daniel Casey and Justin Lin; story by Lin, Casey, and Alfredo Botello; based on characters created by Gary Scott Thompson. Cinematography: Stephen F. Windon. Editing: Greg D’Auria, Dylan Highsmith, and Kelly Matsumoto.

Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Charlize Theron, Sung Kang, Lucas Black, Jason Tobin, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell.

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