Looking back now, it’s funny how the fast and furious franchise actually starts from an illegal street racing and realistic heist. But now, the film has evolved into vault dragging, crashing an airplane, jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper, and escaping from a submarine; all involving cars. I wouldn’t actually be surprised anymore if they managed to go into space. My point is that even if the franchise had lost its own root, it actually never failed to ludicrously entertain me with its over-the-top imaginative action sequences that left me wanting more. Entering the 9th entry of the franchise, it seems that they haven’t shown signs of hitting the brake even when it seems to run out of its course.
The series is helmed again by Justin Lin, who contributes on expanding the franchise previously. James Wan and F. Gary Gray might deliver consistency of the franchise in their installment, but no director could match the sheer, stylistic energy that Justin Lin had. Sure, he’s not a prolific director like Chad Stahelski with clear vision of the action sequences. However, he’s the one that understands this franchise so much that I enjoy the film much more than the two previous installments.
As I said before, I came here for its ridiculous action scenes. And guess what, they really deliver in the most gravity-defying way while (shockingly) still able to enter us into the suspension of disbelief. These filmmakers are crazy motherf*ckers toying with every thinkable object or technology. Magnets, rockets, satellites, you name it. Everything combined and you got massive chaos of cars and street destruction. It does make me laugh, but surprisingly still makes my jaw-dropped for its awe of action sequences.
Justin Lin is finally back helming the franchise. As a person who previously contributed to expanding the franchise into a brand, he’s a director that really understands what Fast & Furious is all about. And you might be surprised by how well he dug the relationship of Dom with his brother, Jakob into an extent of some emotional family drama. In addition, Lin also put on some great artistic direction by using a grim, grainy look of the flashback that made the movie seem to be shot on film. Kudos to that Lin.
Yet aside from its exaggerated action and Dom’s character arc, there’s not a single moment that I really care about. All of the spy stories and saving the world heroic actions didn’t really enter my mind as soon as I left the theater. With the running time of 145 minutes, the film just dragged too long with its uninteresting (yet necessary) build-up and exchanges of mundane dialogue. At the very least the action sequences partially cover that flaw.
F9 is everything that you would expect from a blockbuster and the Fast & Furious franchise itself. I certainly enjoy every catastrophe moment of its unclear law of physics and car destruction. The 10th and 11th installment had been confirmed and if they could ever get past this madness, I would really applaud the insane mind of the man behind these wheels.