Here we are, on the 20th anniversary of the release of the very first in the Fast and Furious franchise comes the ninth instalment. It’s given us some dreadful lows and some exceptional highs, with one thing that leaves no doubt, is the phenomenal stunts in its car chase sequences are something to behold. The question is can a 2 hour plus film live on stunts alone, the answer is an unequivocal no.
Insanity is the focal point in this “families” latest jaunt that includes a trip into space for Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) as the gang aim to spoil the plot, of well, I think it was some kind of data takeover – I can’t quite be sure. The onus is certainly placed on the car-slinging action rather than a plausible plot, decent acting or even a funny line or two.
The main focal point of this paper-thin storyline is the rivalry between Dom (Vin Diesel) and his unknown younger brother Jakob (John Cena) – come on now, how have we come this far and not one single one of this ragtag group of ‘Spies’ not known that Dom had a brother? Filled with flashback sequences to their youth to explain how these two came to fall out so drastically it takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to have been any budget left over for the de-ageing process two younger actors have been brought in to play the teenage brothers. Lacking any resemblance Vinnie Bennett puts in a rousing performance as a young Dom and British actor Finn Cole to play a young Jakob.
9 is certainly homage to their escapades from the past with old faces popping up from an underused Charlize Theron’s villain Cipher who takes it upon herself to show up this instalments bad guy, to a fleeting moment with Helen Mirren’s Queenie who declares she has a soft spot for Dom. To top that all off, the man who died a couple of times, Han (Sung Kang), in fact, never died, it was all a rouse for a bigger job.
You can’t fault director Justin Lin for his tremendous eye for stunning locations and intricate stunt shots but when you are lacking any sort of charm or charisma it’s surely time to finally take this franchise to the scrap yard and let Hobbs and Shaw do all the talking.
The film is out in cinemas June 24th.