Fast & Furious 9 review: A $200 million Itchy & Scratchy cartoon
Vin Diesel and co. are back on the big screen this week.
To paraphrase the theme song to a particularly violent cartoon within a cartoon: "They drive. And fight. And drive and fight and drive. Drive drive drive. Fight fight fight. It is the Dom and Jacob show!"
And so it is, 20 years and nine movies later, we discover that Dom (Vin Diesel) had a brother that was never mentioned before, by him or his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster).
Previous movies that tried to retroactively shoehorn in a previously-unmentioned family member - Scream 3, Spectre, and The Rise of Skywalker all spring immediately to mind - but the difference here is that nobody is taking Fast & Furious too seriously.
Or at least nobody is taking it as seriously as Vin Diesel seems to be.
We've reached the point now that rumours abound that the franchise could soon be cross-pollinated with Jurassic World and nobody really bats an eyelid, and Fast & Furious 9 doubles as a fond farewell to reality. They're in space now. Dead characters continue to no longer really be dead anymore. They're messing with giant magnets. Charlize Theron has gone full Hannibal Lecter. Nothing really matters, which is probably the way it was always supposed to be.
The series' gritty high point of Fast Five, with the chunky action and (relative) realism, is long gone. There is a running conversation between Tej (Ludacris) and Roman (Tyrese Gibson) about how they all should've been killed by now, and that they might be some kind of immortal superheroes.
In any other movie, that might be considered a joke. In the Fast and the Furious movies, it might be a set-up to what is coming in the next movie.
So, yes, sorry, the plot.
Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) sends a distress signal after his plane is shot down while transporting Cypher (Charlize Theron) to prison. Turns out he was also in possession of this movie's McGuffin, a device that has the power to control all electronics on the planet, which is never actually put into use once, so we guess it doesn't matter.
Really, this is about the long-delayed Toretto reunion, with Dom put face to face with Jacob (John Cena), who is holding Cypher captive for... reasons. He also hates Dom because of... other reasons. It doesn't matter because, look, explosions! Car crashes! More magnets!
Returning director Justin Lin does a good job of trying to up the ante on the set-pieces, but there is only so far you can go after endless runways and submarine chases. Here, they play around A LOT with big magnets, which are at the centre of the movie's two biggest action scenes. It is all exactly as BIG and as LOUD as you'd want a ninth Fast and Furious movie to be.
Yes, it has gone beyond the realms of ridiculousness at this point, and so much happens across this movie's monolithic 144-minute run-time that it is practically overflowing - Han (Sung Kang) is back! And so is Sean (Lucas Black) and Twinkie (Bow Wow)! Helen Mirren gets to do her own car chase! And there is Cardi B for some reason! - and you'll be exhausted by the time the mid-credits surprise rolls around.
This is a ridiculously ridiculous film, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Fast & Furious 9 will arrive in Irish cinemas on Thursday, 24 June.
All clips via Universal Ireland