F9 - Spoiler Review

 There has been a running joke that as each Fast and Furious (F&F) film went bigger that eventually they would need to leave earth behind, F9 has finally delivered on what started out as a joke.  F9 has sent a few members of the team (Tyrese and Ludacris) to space, it doesn't sound crazy until they got to space in a Pontiac Fiero outfitted with rocket boosters.  If you are a fan of the series then I think you will enjoy F9, it might be the dumbest film in the series it delivers crazy (physics-defying) action, and a non-sensical plot, but you will have fun if you don't think too hard.  F9 is far from perfect, I will get to more on that later, but I thought my enjoyment outweighed my irritations.  The announcement that there will be two more films has me wondering how they will wrap things up, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson has said he will not appear in the final two films in the series.  In my article where I ranked the F&F films I said that I felt that Paul Walker's absence loomed large over the film.  I think F9 suffered from the same issue, though they film moved at such a fast pace that even though I noticed The Rock's absence, it was not as much as I missed Walker's absence.  

I am going to delve into a conspiracy theory I have, John Cena joins the F&F universe as Dom's brother Jakob in F9.  I wonder if John Cena is meant to be a replacement for The Rock, he is very similar to Rock and he could easily join the team in the last two films.  John Cena is no Rock, he is not as charismatic or as good of an actor.  I will say that I look forward to John Cena lightening up in the next film, I assume his character will be stoic like Dom, but we will see a more fun part of his personality take shape.  There is also the possibility that we see Brian reappear in either or both of the next two films.  Since Paul Walker's death I have also felt the films have lacked his presence, Paul Walker's brother helped them complete Furious 7, I am not sure how they could have a whole film with him in it.  The best way to deal with his absence would be for Fast 10 to kill Brian in the opening scene and have the rest of the film deal with his death.  


The film opens with a flashback (I missed the first few minutes) since I saw it in theatres (yay) we arrived late.  The flashback was to the day that Dom's father died in the race, because I missed the opening, I was a little confused at first.  The film then jumped to the present where we Dom living on a farm with Letty and Brian (Dom's son).  Dom seems happy with this life, but we find out later that Letty is missing the adventure and excitement.  Tej, Roman and Ramsey arrive to ask for Dom's help, Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) was transporting Cipher (Charlize Theron) when a rogue agent turned and took Cipher.  Mr. Nobody's plan crashed in the jungle, and he wants Dom's team to help him recover an essential item left on the plane.  Dom refuses to go, but Letty joins and tells Dom that this isn't their life.  Dom arrives just before the plane departs, they make it to the plane wreckage, but the local military arrives.  Letty takes the item and leaves on a motorcycle; they are being chased by the military until another car arrives driven by John Cena arrives and he takes the piece.  John Cena is able to escape by jumping off a cliff in a car and being caught by plane using a magnet.  Dom and Letty escape by jumping off a cliff too, but they use a piece of a broken bridge to swing them across.  

Dom reveals that the man who stole the piece is his long-lost brother Jakob, whom Dom made leave after Jakob was partly responsible for their father's death.  Jakob at his base is holding Cipher prisoner, he wants her to give him intel on where to find the other half of the device.  Jakob is working with Otto; Otto's father is rich and powerful so Otto uses that power and wealth to assist Jakob.  Mia arrives and assists the team in stopping Jakob from getting his hands on the missing part of the item.  There is a key to the device, which was also hidden, so Mia and Letty go on the hunt for the key.  Roman and Tej are sent to speak with Sean, Twinkie and Earl (from Tokyo Drift).  Twinkie, Earl and Sean are now building rocket engines, they have placed a rocket booster on a Pontiac Fiero.  Dom heads to London and meets up with Queenie (Helen Mirren) who tells Dom where he can find Jakob.  Dom and Jakob meet, and Jakob tells Dom to leave and never come back.  Letty and Mia find out the key is connected to Han in some way, and they head to Tokyo where they go to an old apartment of Han's.  They are attacked in the apartment by Jakob's men, and they are saved by a young woman and a mysterious sniper.  The sniper is revealed to be a very much alive Han and the young woman is Elle (the daughter of the couple who made the device).  Han was saved by Mr. Nobody, and he has been protecting Elle since her parents were murdered, Elle is the key.  

Dom, Ramsey, Tej and Roman attempt to stop Jakob from getting from getting the second half of the device, but he outwits them and takes the piece.  Jakob though is captured by the team during his escape, he is brought to a secret facility that Mr. Nobody used.  Jakob's men arrive and free him, Jakob was the rogue agent who turned on Mr. Nobody and he led his men to the facility.  Jakob escapes with the now fully formed device and Elle, but his men fail to eliminate the crew as they escape.  The crew form a plan, Tej and Roman will journey to space with help from Earl, Twinkie and Sean.  The remaining crew will look to stop Jakob before he is able to activate the device and take control of the world.  Tej and Roman go to space in the Pontiac Fiero that we saw earlier in the film.  Roman and Tej run into difficulty, and they ram the Fiero into the satellite, they used up all their remaining fuel, so they are floating through space until they reach the international space station.  Jakob is betrayed by Otto who is now working with Cipher, Jakob is saved by Dom and Mia.  Jakob then joins the crew, they save Elle, kill Otto and escape.  Cipher though is free and still out for revenge, Jakob and Dom make their peace with Dom accepting that Jakob was not responsible for their dad's death.  

Dom and Mia's house is being rebuilt (after Jason Statham blew it up in Furious 7), they are having a barbecue in the backyard.  Dom is about to say a prayer, but he says someone is missing, Mia says he is on his way and then we see Brian's Nissan Skyline GT-R arrive at the house as credits roll.  There is a post-credits scene involving Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) hitting a punching bag which contains someone inside.  There is a knock at his door and when opens the door he sees Han (whom he thought he killed in Fast 6/Tokyo Drift).  


It was fantastic to be able to watch a film in theatres again, I need to put some of joy at being back in a movie theatre in perspective.  Despite a lot of issues I had with the film, I really had a lot of fun, and I am concerned that my enjoyment at being in a movie theatre has altered my opinion.  The best way to sort through all of this is to analyze the good and the bad of F9.  Let's start with the bad, the first thing that comes to mind is how the series has misused Charlize Theron.  Theron is an amazing talent and for her to be sidelined felt like a missed opportunity.  John Cena was the villain of the film, until he wasn't which was an issue for me.  I did not believe for a second that John Cena would end the film as a villain.  Theron should have been the villain all along, either Cena would be working with/for her, or maybe he was a third party working again both Theron and Dom.  I think Cena was a little uptight and hopefully in the next two films he lightens up.  I do hope that Cipher (Theron) will be the central villain in the next film, I think she could be a great foil if she gets better material and more screen time.  Another issue I had was the very muddled and confusing plot, there were some issues I had with the plot.  We never found out what happened to Mr. Nobody, we never saw or learned more about Jakob's past.  The ridiculous action bothered me, the bridge scene with Dom and Letty made no sense, the Pontiac Fiero rocket ship and the truck at the end of film that flips over and then takes out a drone.  As each film has gotten bigger in scope, the action has gotten bigger, but for me the action was better in the first seven films in the series.  Furious 8 and F9 has had big action, but not great action I hope they bring the action a little closer to reality.  Vin Diesel is shown to be a superhero, it is becoming increasingly frustrating to see Dom be a superhero.  

The good of this film might not outweigh the bad, but this film is incredibly entertaining and that is what I want when going to the movie theatre.  The chemistry between the cast is great (though Vin Diesel is the weakest link), and the film's tone makes for a really enjoyable watch.  The film is over two hours long, but the pace of the film makes time run smoothly.  The film is wildly dumb, but so much fun.  I think this film falls in the lower part of the series; I would rank it seventh out of the ten films in the series.  I will say that I enjoyed the film more than F8, having Mia and Han back helped and even though John Cena was a little boring I see a little potential for him in the next two films.  The tease of a return of Brian and Han combined with the debut of John Cena has me excited for the final two films.  This film has setup the final two films, but I am reviewing the ninth film and I found it lacking.  The action was too over the top, the focus on Dom was a let down due to Vin Diesel's disinterest in being anything other than cool and awesome.  F9 is very entertaining and will be a film that you can enjoy and watch, but there is a reason it is the lowest rated film in the series based on IMDB's rating.  F9 did improve over F8, but it is nowhere near the better films in this series (F5, F6, and F7).  I would give this film a 6/10, I was leaning towards a 7/10 but then I remembered to judge the film based on what I saw rather than my enjoyment at being back at the movies.

I hope you enjoyed my review and let me know what you thought of F9.  With theatres now open expect to see more reviews coming soon.

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