Next: The Moon
(also known as F9: The Fast Saga)
Stars: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron
Director: Justin Lin
Scriptwriters: Justin Lin and Daniel Casey
Composer: Brian Tyler
Cinematography: Stephen F. Windon
Original Film/ Perfect Storm Entertainment/Universal Pictures
Rating: PG 13 for action and violence
Running Length: 145 Minutes
Since this film is longer than usual, get concession food early and have much of it. Each film in this franchise, that began in 2003, has come closer and closer to outer space. Well, they almost make it here, so what is next on the agenda? Vin Diesel on the moon? He has already been in outer space ("Pitch Black") so why not try it with a car? In the meantime, along with this film opening is action actor LIam Neeson's film, "The Ice Run," which is about long-haul ice truckers in the north country, coming to the rescue of trapped miners. So, if you like your cars varied or with 18 wheels on ice, this is the summer for you. Enjoy.
Back to "F9." There is a plethora of actors in the film, most of them fan favorites such as Diesel, Brewster, Rodriguez, Gibson and Bridges. John Cena plays Diesel's brother, Jakob, and since there are flashbacks explaining things, there is Vinnie Bennett who plays Vin's younger self, and Finn Cole, who plays John Cena's younger self. Now to the basic story, that begins in 1989, when Dominic (Vin Diesel) and his brother, Jakob (John Cena) work with their father in auto racing. Dad is killed in a crash and Dominic blames his brother and breaks family ties. Present day, and Dom has retired with his own family and a relaxing life. However, an old foe/friend, Cipher (Charlize Theron) is in trouble caused by Mr. Nobody (Kirk Russell.) What to do? Well, go to her aide and in the meantime, find out that Jakob is behind this. The chase is now on around the world and above, as Dom and his team track down Jakob and find out what he has been up to these past years. Favorite actors such as Helen Mirren, pop up for a few minutes and then go away, presumably to wait for the next film. What the team is looking for is an electromagnetic device that is terribly important to security. The audience has a few seconds in-between action sequences---and there are many---to figure out a plot of sorts, What you thought was right may not be, and those who were thought to be long gone, may or may not be, and this is the reason to have extra concession food handy.
The action stunts make the film. You are holding your breath in some and wondering, "What else can they do?" and then it happens. The cast say their lines, do their poses and the fans are happy. When Dom says "family," he means it and to be invited into the inner circle is a privilege. You don't need dialogue when muscles do the talking, The plot is there, enhanced by fast cars, witty dialogue (Helen Mirren), Charlize Theron's stare, and hoping there is enough plot for the next film on the list, which is sure to come. What is of particular interest, is taking a Pontiac Fiero onboard a plane and having a rocket engine nearby. Happily munch along with the film and enjoy watching cars do their thing. In fact, you begin to wonder if actors are needed at all? Just turn the cars loose.
Years ago, after a critics screening of the first "Fast and the Furious" movie, a fellow critic, now deceased, wondered aloud if his Volkswagen Beetle could get up to 30 mph leaving the parking lot. Who knows, the next film may have just that, a VW on the moon.
Copyright 2021 Marie Asner