Fast and the Furious has had quite a lot of solid films throughout the series. It started out a bit slow but kept on getting better by the 5th film. By this point we’re back on the way down a bit since there aren’t any Hobbs or Shaw characters to help keep things going. I think after you’ve been with those characters for so long it’s hard to go back to not having them around anymore. This is still a good film but you don’t feel like it’s quite on the level that they used to be at.
The movie starts off with a flashback about Dom and his brother Jakob as they were watching his father in a race before he was unfortunately obliterated in a big explosion. Dom find out that Jakob seemingly sabotaged the car and banishes him from the family. Jakob then went on to become one of the world’s greatest intelligence agents and works for many different villains on really difficult missions. Now he has captured Cipher and has access to some of the most powerful weapons imaginable. The gang are forced to call Dominick Toretto back into action but he refuses since he’s retired. The choice is taken out of his hands when his wife Letty agrees to help though so he tags along. Can they take Jakob down or has this man grown too powerful to be stopped?
I like the idea of Jakob more than the actual character. So you’ve got the long lost brother who is super skilled in a car and can match Toretto blow for blow. I mean that’s pretty cool right off the bat and I can even overlook how he just wasn’t mentioned all these years even if that is rather odd. No my main problem is that his character arc felt really rushed by the end and we didn’t get the satisfying clash with Toretto that I was waiting for. When Hobbs first showed up we had a great confrontation with Toretto that absolutely lived up to everything you could have hoped for. When Shaw appeared he also got a great clash. Jakob though? Nah not really. They get to talk and we learn more about the past but outside of a quick race and confrontation later on it isn’t nearly as grand. I feel like they fumbled this character a bit.
If anything Jakob’s best scene was when he was talking tough to Cipher. She tried to psycho analyze him and he just wasn’t having it. He had good comebacks for all her insults and just walked off. That’s exactly how you have to handle these manipulative villains or else you will always be in trouble. They could have probably shortened the flashbacks to when they were kids as well to be honest since those scenes weren’t as exciting. I think you could have condensed that really easily.
Now lets go back to the positives for a moment. One thing the series has always done well and continues to do well is delivering on a ton of nonstop action. The fights just keep on coming here and there are explosions around every corner. I think it’s safe to say that all action fans should be really satisfied while watching the movie. While the story may be more forgettable, all of the characters get their moments and that’s impressive because the cast is absolutely massive here! That also means the group splits up real fast so they aren’t all united until the end of the film.
The after credits scene here is also a lot of fun. A character that I had been wanting to show up at least gets a small cameo this way. I would have still liked more content out of him but I’ll take what I can get. He’s still a very powerful fighter after all so I expect he can beat anyone who gets in his way so the group is lucky that he’s basically a hero now. Perhaps one who is still very extreme and will crush anyone in his way but an ally all the same. The series continues its streak of great endings with this.
As always Toretto is a good main character. I really don’t blame him for wanting to get out of the business either. It’s a dangerous line of work to be taking on countries and such and now that he has a kid to think about he shouldn’t be taking extra risks. Once he’s on the mission he does use all of his resources to get to the bottom of it though. He does nothing halfhearted and that’s what I like about him. Letty also looks really good here as she was the one who was proactive about helping out from the start. She’s always ready to fight and isn’t afraid of taking the lead on these missions.
Roman and Tej mainly get the comic relief plots here. Roman does tend to really take down a lot of enemies when it counts though so you have to give him a lot of props there. He always pulls through and then Tej has the tech aspects on point. Ramsey is also important for helping on that end so the hero group really has a whole lot of talent now. Even Mia steps in to help out and it’s been a while since that happened. Now a big controversy before the film came out was Han showing up since we saw him die rather clearly. I will say that the explanation they gave here wasn’t very good at all. Like almost anything else would have been a better explanation. What would I have done? I would have had the cops run to the wreck and find Han alive in the explosion because he had some kind of sci-fi suit materialize over him at the last instant. That would have absolutely been more convincing if you ask me.
It is nice to see Han back of course but they could have tried a bit harder there. As for Cipher, it was nice to see her return. She’s easily the most personal villain of the group with what she did to Toretto in the past and I actually wasn’t expecting to see her again so that was a welcome surprise. The films are great at expanding the cast a whole lot but even then this one went the extra mile with a bunch of other characters showing up too. I actually don’t think Cipher is getting a redemption arc anytime soon so this is one character who is going to stay bad to the bone the whole time.
The film has a lot of music going on as the characters run around the planet and it works pretty well. The variety of the songs is good and most of these did land. I appreciated the throwbacks to Tokyo Drift as well. I would have liked it if the old protagonist there could have actually fought a bit more with the team though. He was a solid racer in that movie after all so I feel like he could have really contributed even though he hasn’t been in the game for a while. That’s just how good he should be when he’s behind the wheel since you never really lose those skills. They just stick with you through thick and thin.
Overall, F9 is a pretty good movie. It just feels a bit more forgettable than the others. Maybe it needed to pick a plot and focus on it more like the rivalry with Jakob. There’s a whole lot of untapped potential there. We find out some twists about the past of course but at the end of the day I wouldn’t say it makes Jakob look all that great anyway. Maybe the next film will help me like him more but with how his character arc went he’s already going to be rather different this time around. If you’ve watched the previous titles then you definitely need to check this out and I would still recommend it to the average movie viewer who isn’t into the series yet. It may not be the best one but it’s pretty fun and at the end of the day what more do you need than that right?