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Riley Utley

F9: Six Thoughts I Had While Watching The 2021 Fast And Furious Movie For The First Time

Michelle Rodriguez in the passenger seat and Vin Diesel driving in F9.

Boys, we’re back! I’m overjoyed to report that we have reached the end of this nearly six-month journey through the first nine (plus Hobbs and Shaw) Fast and Furious movies, and we ended with a doozy. F9: The Fast Saga was a campy, over-the-top movie that saw the crew on a journey to stop Dom’s brother Jakob, and I loved it, which I realize is a hot take. Between going to space, some much-needed dramatic moments and an incredibly creative magnet car chase, I really enjoyed this movie, and would rank it fairly high among the other Fast films. However, I think what's most important is F9 was such a fun way to cap off this saga before we all see Fast X

(Image credit: Universal)

Tej And Roman Going To Space Was Legendary

Throughout this entire series, I’ve written a lot about how much I wanted to see a car fly, which is abundantly clear if you’ve read my thoughts on Furious 7. Not only did my dreams come true with this movie, but how they made said car fly surpassed all expectations I had, as they sent Tej and Roman into space.

While I still don’t fully understand why the crew felt the need to go to space, it was by far one of my favorite moments in the franchise’s history. Part of the reason is that they sent the comedic and chaotic duo, Tej and Roman, up there. However, it also showed how willing the franchise is to lean into the ridiculousness of the saga and make creative decisions that are impossible in reality, but oh so much fun to watch on screen. 

(Image credit: Universal)

We Finally Saw Some Genuinely Good Female Representation 

Over the last nine movies, one of my biggest qualms has been the lack of female representation and the hyper-masculine nature ingrained in every movie. While F9 was still hyper-masculine, this was the first one that really felt like it was giving Letty, Mia and the other women in the franchise their time to shine. By pairing Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster together for the Tokyo storyline, and by introducing Anna Sawai as Elle, Han’s kickass friend, the women were given an epic, and important storyline, and it was so refreshing to see.  

(Image credit: Universal)

The Magnets Sequence Was Not Only Cool, But Incredibly Creative

We’ve seen tanks, and cars falling out of planes, but we’ve never seen a chase that relies on magnets to take down an enemy. I was blown away by this impossible stunt, and thought the way the movie used the magnets throughout was incredibly creative. 

Sadly, this stunt is very much not possible, as astrophysicist Aaron White explained to IGN

So unless Vin Diesel here is an alchemist and he can magically change the structure of these trucks just through the force of his will, I don't think he could possibly do this.

While explaining all the science behind how metals attract to one another, and at what point magnets can’t attract and pull other metals, he noted that some of what happened is “beyond what is impossible,” but also “not totally absurd.” However, I’d posit that it’s these totally absurd stunts that make these movies so fun. 

(Image credit: Universal)

Basically, Everything Roman Said In The Movie Was Out Of This World 

While Roman has always been great comedic relief in these movies, they took it to a new level with his dialogue in F9

It’s safe to say Rome is the relative voice of reason in these movies, compared to the other characters, and for a while now he’s always been the one understandably freaking out and questioning the absurdness of the shenanigans the family gets up to. This movie took that idea to a whole new level, not only by upping the funny reactions from Tyrese Gibson’s character, but also by having him actually start to question if the crew is invincible. I thought it was actually hilarious that he's the only one who has seemed to realize that it’s really weird that there haven’t been many serious injuries or deaths among the crew who has been finding themselves in death-defying situations for the last 20 years.  

(Image credit: Universal)

The Flashbacks And Young Actors Playing Dom And Jakob Added A Much Needed Dramatic Weight To The Movie 

I feel like it’s imperative for me to address right off the bat that I know young Dom and Jakob really convolute the Fast and Furious timeline. While they’re supposed to be quite a bit younger than the actors playing them, I must admit Vinnie Bennett, who played Young Dom, and Finn Cole, who played Young Jakob, brought a lot of depth to their characters, and really carried the movie dramatically.

Admittedly, I came in with some bias here, because as a big Peaky Blinders fan I was so excited to see Cole, who plays Michael on that show, in F9. His casting, along with the genuinely good performances from the two young actors really helped ground Dom and Jakob’s story, and is a big reason why I enjoyed this movie so much. And, I say this because we finally got a bigger reason as to why family is important beyond the crew just saying the word all the time. 

(Image credit: Universal)

I Need To Talk About Han And How He Came Back To Life 

Knowing that Sung Kang returned to the Fast franchise before watching F9 had me hypothesizing for weeks about how they’d explain his comeback, because he seemed pretty dead after Tokyo Drift. In my opinion, the explanation was not logical at all; it was basically just like “because Mr. Nobody said so,” and they left it at that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so happy Han is back, however, there was absolutely no reasonable way to bring him back to life (lowkey a second time). I’m willing to overlook the illogical explanation about how he survived that explosion, however, when talking about this movie, it’s a topic we absolutely had to discuss. 

For some reason, they keep coming back to killing Han in Tokyo Drift, and it’s clear it’s also going to impact Fast X with Han and Shaw meeting up during the F9 ending. I don’t know why they keep harping on this plot point, and keep trying to justify why it didn’t actually happen, but it is entertaining to see all their kind of bonkers explanations as to how the fan-favorite character is still alive. 

Other Thoughts 

  • Please give me a spinoff of Cardi B and her crew of agents. 
  • Sean, Bow Wow, and the rocket men were a hilarious addition to the movie, that I loved. 
  • Helen Mirren deserves her own Fast spinoff. 
  • Time is a loose, possibly non-existent concept in this franchise, and I’m working really hard to accept this. 
  • The homage to Brian and Paul Walker at the very end was sweet. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed F9; it was camp, extra, and over the top, which is everything I love about the Fast franchise. After two rough entries in the saga, I was ready to go back to form and be engulfed in the ridiculous world of Dominic Toretto’s family, and this did exactly that. Plus, it made me all the more excited to see the 2023 movie schedule entry, Fast X, when it finally zooms into theaters on May 19.

Before you go see the highly anticipated Fast X in theaters, you can stream F9 with an HBO Max subscription

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