Movie Review: F9

It had to happen eventually. Even if in the franchise’s reality-defying world cars never seem to refuel, in real life; utterly ridiculous movie franchises which fail to call it quits when the ovation is loudest can only run so much on the fumes of past successes before they descend into ultra-annoying ignominy.

Truth be told; the Fast & the Furious franchise should have ended two sequels back. It pretty much reached its peak speed with 2011’s Fast Five. With the momentum gained from that instalment coupled with the fumes of Paul Walker’s tragic death, it should have coasted home to the finish line with 2017’s The Fate of the Furious.

But given Hollywood’s knack for squeezing every bit of penny from any successful franchise, this souped-up, muscle-bound race car franchise of ridiculousness had to have its pedal pressed to the metal until its engines disintegrate into incongruous ridiculousness and overcompensating implausibility.

As with previous instalments, F9 revved it heavy with the franchise formula:

Incongruous storyline: check.

Implausible plot twists: check.

Family feud and reconciliation: check.

Obligatory former pro wrestler cameo spot: check.

Tongue-in-cheek cheesy jokes: check.

it’s-your-turn-to-say-grace yada yada: check.

Patented one-dimensional Vin Diesel I’m-a-bad-ass almost-smirk: check.

Ultra-ridiculous and over-compensating stunts and action sequences: triple check

Throw all these components of the franchise formula in the mix and what you get in F9 is a 2-plus hour mostly annoying-and-nowhere-near-enjoyable big-budget ridiculous-fest. It was as predictably silly as it was pointlessly unnecessary to make in the first place.

Back in 2017, I ended my review of that year’s instalment, The Fate of the Furious, thus:

“…seeing as the franchise has seemingly conquered all terrains on terra firma, the only terrain left for it to explore in advancing the franchise is space. With all the improbable and impossible storyline and stunt sequences we have had to endure (albeit enjoyably) from the franchise, there is literally space enough (pun intended) to rev up that souped-up engine, engage the gears and aim fast and furiously for the stars.”

Almost as if the producers had read my review and had an epiphany, F9 had to up the notch in its ridiculousness with a venture into space. A mid-end credit scene suggests a 10th instalment is in the offing. I don’t know and I don’t care if the 10th instalment is going to do for the franchise what 2011’s Fast Five did for it but F9 gets multiple disappointed eye-rolls for effort and an F9 for result. 2.5/10

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Esosa Omo-Usoh

Lawyer, movie reviewer, music lover, one time regular writer of unhappy poems inspired by Rock songs, daydreamer and people watcher… in that order.