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Review Fast & Furious 9 a.k.a. F9 a.k.a. Fast & Furious 9 - The Fast Saga a.k.a. F9: The Fast Saga (2021): How did little Jakob get so huge?

genre: action, adventure, crime

A film having many titles (even when similar) never bodes very well. It's like the marketing people couldn't figure out what to use and if even marketing people can't sell you stuff you know it must be bad. Like real bad!

I am very aware of what this franchise used to be and what it has become. Stories, events, personalities and relationships might have been changing with each movie at least there was one constant. The fun factor. The franchise had some dips and lows but overall speaking the films had managed to gradually infuse more fun over the years even when things got more ridiculous. I was completely on board for all the craziness that was displayed on the screen. Then the spinoff Hobbs & Shaw happened and it demonstrated that if things get too ridiculous it stops being fun. Unfortunately this is also the case for the latest entry in the franchise. Mind you, it does seem toned down in certain places and that is exactly why F9 is so problematic. I never watched these films for the story. But as simplistic as they were they did serve a purpose. They often did made the action and spectacle more thrilling. It's like they have completely forgotten about this since while I understand what they were going for the drama has no impact whatsoever. Why? Because you aren't invested anymore. We know the characters, we like them for the most part, but was I rooting for them? Well, only because that is what you are supposed to do. But did I feel like rooting for them? No, because almost every plot element and event that is a consequence of that makes zero sense. 

Let me talk about the big elephant in the room. Dominic and Mia's long-lost brother. Both Dom and Mia never mentioned a brother let alone that they were conflicted about him emotion wise. Now, as stupid as this plot element was had they at least made it good then I could have appreciated it. The trailer had it right. They set up Jakob (John Cena) as one of the worthiest rivals, if not the rival that could go toe to toe with Dominic. Had they actually shown that he was always one step ahead of everyone that really would have been exciting. Because what would Dom do? Would he be prepared to kill his own brother? And if the brother is important, you have to establish this. The few flashback scenes weren't enough. We don't know anything about the younger brother. Except maybe that he was tiny and smaller than big brother Dom and suddenly has become huge. You need to make your audience invested into them if you are planning to have this any kind of dramatic impact. It's like they didn't even try. " You know what we are about, so just accept things and move on ". That's all fine and dandy but life doesn't work that way. Especially these days you have to do better to impress us. Like I said I don't watch these films for the story but even then why would you spoil almost every twist and turn in the trailers as they have done? And then not offer something that would put things on edge by for example making the whole film seem like one big dream Dominic had. Then zoom out the camera and we see Dominic is stuck in a pod and we find out he has been in The Matrix all this time. Totally ludicrous of course but it's so out there I would be willing to go with it since it plays around with convention the right way. It confirms that they know you know everything is stupid but let us know that they haven't even started yet. I am just trying to point out that even when things are stupid and illogical they have to make sense in this world. Had they done this then yes it's not that harmful to spoil things. 

However the film never ever surprises you with anything else. In that regard those silly twists and turns should have been left out and for us to chew on while we were watching the film. Because in hindsight that at least would have made the audience invested. All of this perhaps would not be that big of a deal had the action and spectacle actually been fun and exciting. I think there was one real good sequence in Tokio and honestly everything else is a blur. Sadly I do remember the bits that came straight out of a cartoon. I really don't want to talk about those because it's just a waste of blank space. 

All I wanted was to have fun since that had been the one constant. Now with that gone I can't see myself getting invested anything Fast and Furious after this unless they do a complete reboot and go back to the roots. 

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