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Fast and Furious 9 movie review: Vin Diesel stars in the most ridiculous movie of 2021

There is a moment in F9 when Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), believing his younger brother Jakob (John Cena) to be the reason for their father’s death, demands, “Tell me, why did you kill dad?” Before Jakob can answer, Dom says, “Now, let’s race”.

 

Fast and Furious 9 movie cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Charlize Theron
Fast and Furious 9 movie director: Justin Lin
Fast and Furious 9 movie rating: 1 star

There is a moment in F9 when Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), believing his younger brother Jakob (John Cena) to be the reason for their father’s death, demands, “Tell me, why did you kill dad?” Before Jakob can answer, Dom says, “Now, let’s race”.

This moment, I think, nicely sums up this entire Justin Lin movie. It has little time to do any meaningful character work and treats most of the conversation as an obligatory interlude between, well, car races.

The film opens with a flashback. Dom and the previously never mentioned brother Jakob are seeing off their father Jack Toretto (J. D. Pardo) in a race. A rival’s car hits Jack’s car, which explodes after striking a wall. Post the incident, Dom is imprisoned after nearly beating the said rival to death.

Cut to the present. After the events of The Fate of the Furious, Dom has retired and settled into a quiet life with their wife Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) and son Brian. He is brought back to the life of… whatever he used to do by the extended members of the famous ‘family’. Apparently, his long-lost brother is involved in a plot concerning a device with which wicked elements of society can control the world. It hacks into things or some such. The reason Jakob went evil? His elder brother was mean to him.

#EveryActionMovieEver.

F9’s plot is so banal that for a while it appeared the movie was lampooning its genre, and being self-referential. The third act will certainly subvert expectations, I thought. But no, it was all very serious, right till the end.

Characters spout platitudes like “No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past” with a straight face. It is highly likely that the dialogues you hear in this movie have already been ridiculed in viral memes.

Acting is pretty bad too. A bad script could have been saved to an extent by a good lead actor. Vin Diesel is not by any stretch of the imagination a good actor. His attempts to emote and look threatening are equally comical. John Cena, who was superb in James Gunn’s recent The Suicide Squad, is made to play a villain so generic that it is out of place even in a Fast and Furious movie.

What about the stunts? Well, they are very much there. One sequence has Tej and Roman sitting in a car fitted with a rocket engine and propellers to launch it into orbit in order to destroy a satellite.

You accept you are going to have to completely suspend disbelief when you are watching a Fast and Furious movie, but, jeez, nothing in F9 makes sense.

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