Twenty twenty-one marks the 20th anniversary of the Fast & Furious franchise. That’s 20 years since the 2001 debut of an innocuous little musclehead action movie called The Fast and the Furious, which, while certainly a hit, was in no one’s wildest dreams the start of one of the most enduring movie series in Hollywood history. If this were the tenth entry that would be a nice round number to match the two decades, but there were brief pauses in production here and there, as when they needed to “reboot” way back after the third movie (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), or when there was some consideration that Paul Walker’s death might bring the series to a close, or when there was the Hobbes & Shaw spinoff, which took the slot in the production schedule where another Fast & Furious movie might go, if not technically being a series main entry itself.
We have come to that point in the Fast saga where the road leads us in the direction of the impossible and the unbelievable.
But with star-producer Vin Diesel and former writer-director Justin Lin back in the driver’s seat, fans will not really care if they are, well, taken for a ride – as long as there is scenery to enjoy. And yes, Fast And Furious 9 is packed with plenty of sights and sounds we have never seen before.
Expect more outrageous and exhilarating set pieces, wilder action and hand-on-heart attempts at digging deeper into the theme of family. Charlize Theron reprises her role as cyber-terrorist Cipher, the main villain from Fast And Furious 8, but unfortunately spends almost all her screen time incarcerated in a glass room, glaring at and exchanging barbs with the new bad guy Jakob (John Cena).
Cena does a fine job as the brother who cannot seem to step out of golden boy Dom’s (Diesel) shadow, and the backstory of their strained relationship via multiple flashbacks does keep us engaged. So just when you think the Fast saga has used up everything in its tank, it looks like those wheels will keep on turning to the finish line.
It is over the top, and then some.