Wednesday, June 23, 2021

F9 The Fast Saga - Movie Review

The Movie: F9

The Director: Justin Lin

The Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, with Helen Mirren, with Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron

The Story: No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past. 

The Story:
You ever have that one friend who, every single time, takes it too far. Whatever it is, whatever they are doing, they go just past the point where they should have stopped. That's this movie. I have enjoyed the excesses of the franchise as the creators at times defy logic and physics and actual reality although this type of entertainment should still have some sort of boundaries or rules to follow. Remember that scene in Batman where Michael Keaton is yelling at The Joker "You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!!"? That's how I picture director Justin Lin during every shot of every scene while making this movie.

The first thing I noticed about the movie that I didn't like is how everything is really glossy with saturated colors and the whole thing looks like a really long, drawn out video game cut scene. Maybe this aesthetic was installed because of the massive amount of crazy special effects shots so it would all blend together but it just looks weird, especially when it's just people standing around talking. Also, we get several scenes throughout the movie of a young Dom which make up a sort of origin story and all of these scenes look even more exaggerated than everything else for some reason. The only times I felt comfortable looking at this movie were when ridiculously over the top action was happening.

The second thing I noticed about this movie that I didn't like was the absolutely atrocious dialog and I mean all of it. Every time someone said anything, the audience would either cringe, or laugh, or both. Yes, I know this franchise isn't ever going to win awards for this type of stuff but holy unintentional comedy Batman, this movie takes it to new lows. Vin Diesel in particular was just awful and his performance would best be compared to a video game non-player character. I also got the impression that Charlize Theron knew exactly how ridiculous this movie is and also the words she was asked to speak into existence. John Cena was actually not terrible which was nice.

A few of the other characters I have to acknowledge for better or worse include the teaming up of Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, and Nathalie Emmanuel's characters into a triple threat of bad comic relief in a movie that is basically all comic relief. Roman and Tej have been reduced to hollow caricatures of what were once fun and interesting characters that emphasized each of their personalities. Emmanuel's Ramsey has been reduced to the nerdy computer specialist who can literally solve any problem with just a few key strokes of her gadgety looking devices. There are a lot of other recurring and returning characters, prime example being Han played by Sung Kang and, while it was cool to see him again, the way they explain away his previous death is just as silly as everything else.

What I do like about the movie is that it is absolutely a big, popcorn bucket filled, tanker of soda, summer blockbuster type of movie filled with so many famous faces it's hard to keep track of them all. There's even a couple points where I was thinking things are so crazy, Paul Walker might even show up somehow but alas, that's not really in the cards. At least not yet. I mean this story is so convoluted anything could happen. Speaking of convoluted, I really didn't like how the movie and it's creators have decided to 100% acknowledge how ridiculous everything is by going full meta and making fun of how ridiculous everything is. I mean, it's kind of entertaining but it wears thin really fast and gets ruined by excessive overuse just like everything else.

The Verdict:
F9 drives full speed ahead into extreme absurdity while giving up on any sense of logic or maintaining any grasp on physics or reality. Your tolerance of this type of storytelling will determine how much of this glorious mess you can handle.

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