Ah well, they can’t all be winners.
Let me start by acknowledging that I am a huge fan of the Fast & Furious flicks, easily my favorite modern action franchise. I ranted about my love for the series here. But after ten movies (including the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off) and an animated series, the odd lesser effort is inevitable. Fast & Furious 9, or Fast 9, or F9: The Fast Saga, or whatever they’re calling it in your neck of the woods, is one.
Really, it’s not markedly different from its predecessors, dealing with themes of family and loyalty, invoking its own increasingly convoluted mythology (I may not be able to map the Saw franchise’s metaplot, but I’m all over the Toretto family history), and being packed with increasingly ludicrous but hugely enjoyable action set pieces. The cast is all great, and that’s as it should be: they’ve been doing this for a while now and can slip into their roles like they’re pulling on an old coat. It ticks every old box but sadly doesn’t fill in any new ones. The Fast & the Furious has been on a steady upward trajectory since the fourth installment when it really figured out what kind of series it was going to be, but with this latest episode, it becomes apparent that the fuel load may need to be reformulated if we’re going to keep accelerating (I’ll try to keep these puns to a minimum in case I embarrass myself — folks, I don’t even drive).