F9. F'd Up.

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F9: The Fast Saga

There's a part of me that thinks it simply isn't fair to write a critical review of F9: The Fast Saga. While it's little more than a bunch of action scenes, stitched together loosely with the threads of something resembling a plot, there's also the fact that it never pretends to be anything more than that, that the audience isn't intended to have their minds engaged in solving a mystery but merely to have their adrenal glands engaged through the harrowing automotive special effects.

But I'm going to do it anyway, because I need more word count than just that first paragraph.

Somewhere along the way since its inception, the Fast and Furious franchise has morphed into M.A.S.K. -- a Mission: Impossible team of stunt drivers brought out of retirement for that one last big world-threatening caper. In this situation, it's Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), living the idyllic life in the country with Lefty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his young son. But when a plane goes down carrying Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) and one-half of a Universal-Computer-Decoder-and Takeover-inator (patent pending, Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated), Dom and Lefty have to come out of retirement and join up with the rest of the crew on a globe-trotting chase to find this half -- and the other half -- of this horrible device before Dom's evil brother, Jakob (John Cena) can get his hands on it, launch a satellite, and use to "try to take over the worrrrrld!"

For reasons probably more contractual than plot-required, Jakob has kidnapped Cipher (Charlize Theron) and keeps her in a glass box until she gets out. People getting out of captivity happens a lot in this film, and there's no need to explain how it happens. One minute they're a captive, the next minute they're smashing through crates with the fender of another fast car.

To reiterate, the movie doesn't pretend to be something meaningful. If anything, it goes out of its way to ignore logic while doing crazy/cool stunts. Yes, it's neat to see the Mammoth Car right out of Speed Racer cartoons pulling everything metal off the street because there's a giant electromagnet in it -- but let's ignore that fact that this electromagnet would just as likely yank the vehicle itself off the road and attach it to the side of a building erected with steel i-beams. And then building (and launching) a space-worthy Pontiac Fiero so that Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) can eliminate Jakob's satellite? It's just punching down at this point to criticize that. Thankfully the better parts of this movie are Roman expounding his conspiracy theory that the team members are somehow perhaps gifted with super powers, since they've gone through explosions and hails of bullets without even a scratch.

The film is also peppered with other returning FnF cameos, which probably make a greater impact if you've seen the other eight films.

I'll forgive a film for being little more than "dumb fun" but I need it to at least pretend to know how to put scenes into sequential order and try to tell a story. F9 fails in that regard -- and it'll still rake in money because who doesn't want to see a car leap over a canyon only to get snagged and flown away by a fighter jet?

Heck, I know I do.

2.0 / 5.0