F9: The Fast Saga

F9: The Fast Saga

F9: The Fast Saga

Cipher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom’s younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.

Justin Lin returns to direct the ninth entry of this long-running franchise with . Dominic Toretto () has been spending the last few years living a quiet and reclusive life with his wife Letty Ortiz ( ) and young son Brian. However, Dom and Letty are visited by their old team of Roman Pearce (), Tej Parker (Chris “” Bridges), and Ramsey (), who shows them a distress call they received from CIA operative Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell), who was attacked by a rogue agent shortly after capturing Cipher (). It soon turns out that the rogue agent is in fact Dom's estranged younger brother Jacob (), who is planning to unleash a weapons system called Ares, with the help of his wealthy associate Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen).

With the franchise celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, F9: The Fast Saga sees the return of director and co-writer Justin Lin, following a two-film absence. This latest entry of the Fast and Furious series focuses on the estranged relationship between Dominic Toretto and his brother Jacob, the latter of whom Dom blamed for the death of their father. The return of Jacob into Dominic's life also results in the return of their sister Mia () to the fold, after previously retiring for domestic life. While looking into the Ares device that Jacob stole, a connection is discovered to their long-thought-dead associate Han (), who is found in Tokyo to be alive and well with his ward Elle (Anna Sawai).

It was way back in 2001 when director Rob Cohen made an action film called The Fast and the Furious that was little more than a street racing-focused remake of Point Break. Fast forward two decades, and “The Fast Saga” has become the primary franchise for Vin Diesel and his growing supporting cast. A decade ago, this series has become of the rare franchises to achieve a resurgence in popularity with the 2011 release of Fast Five, which was helped in no small part by the addition of as Luke Hobbs. However, Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel would eventually go on to having a public falling out during the making of 2017's The Fate of the Furious, which lead to Dwayne Johnson leaving the main franchise for his 2019 spinoff Hobbs and Shaw and essentially being replaced in F9: The Fast Saga by fellow wrestler John Cena.

While the longevity and continued popularity of this franchise is something to be applauded, I am afraid that F9: The Fast Saga officially marks the point where this franchise jumps the shark or should I say, in reference to one of the key set-pieces of the film, “rockets the car?” While the stunts in this series have increasingly stretched the line of believability, F9: The Fast Saga almost heads into science fiction territory with some of its action scenes. Also, while I understand that he's a fan-favorite character and there have been increasing calls for his character to get some justice, I have to note that Justin Lin brings back the character of Han with probably one of the most convoluted scenes of retconned exposition.

I also have to add that I just didn't find the very soap opera-esque backstory between Dominic Torretto and Jacob, which seems to be just a way to explain why Dom now has a brother that we have never heard about until now. However, I do have to note that John Cena was fine enough in the role of Jacob, despite not having much to do other than scowling at Dom through the window of his car.

There are supposedly supposed to be at least another two films to round out this franchise, however, I do have to say that I thought that F9: The Fast Saga sees this series really starting to wear out its welcome and greatly hammer home the fact that the franchise should have ended with Furious 7 and its very emotional goodbye to Paul Walker, whose character of Brian O'Conner is repeatedly referenced in the film, despite it being impossible for us to ever see him again (without exploiting Paul Walker's memory that is).

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.