Remember The Fast And The Furious? The original movie, that is.
That was 2001.
Not only did it rake in over $207 million at the box office, that film was also very influential to car culture. Everyone wanted one of Dom’s or Brian’s cars. They wanted to order a tuna sandwich without the crust. Everyone wanted to date Michelle Rodriguez.
Twenty years later, we are now on the ninth installment of “the saga.” While we tragically lost Paul Walker to a car accident in 2013, the show supposedly had to go on.
Now we have the release of F9. After a couple of delays, we get a chance to see Vin, Michelle, Tyrese, and Ludacris again. They also added a few new additions to the cast. This installment of the F&F Saga features Hellen Mirren, John Cena, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Cardi B, Bow Wow, Don Omar, and so forth.
Wait…who? Oscar winners and nominees – some of the best actors in the film industry – in a F&F movie?!?
My curiosity was piqued, perhaps for different reasons than most. I grew up near the heart of the American film industry and my mom had always been fascinated with it. Therefore, a part of my mind had to ready for anything from this movie.
I was invited by Universal Pictures through a local PR firm for a local screening of the film ahead of its release into theaters and streaming platforms. An accomplice came along to make sure I wasn’t yelling at the screen.
It was an opportunity to view this movie with some film media professionals to see if this ninth installment of the F&F Saga is worth seeing. In particular, to see whether this movie will bring those influenced by it to see this flick.
Before I go any further, if you are looking for a critique of this film by an actual movie critic, please Google the reviews on this film. They would have a better cinematic perspective than I would provide you.
My take will be for you – the automotive enthusiast. The ones who saw the first one and rooted for either Dom or Brian some twenty years ago. You, who saw Brian’s Mitsubishi Eclipse and made mental notes on how to make one into your own.
Like you, I was looking for cultural relevance. Relevance is an important word here.
I would also like to mention that I actually took a few film courses in college. I had to, because they were a part of my attempt at majoring in Radio-Television-Film at California State University Northridge. I will not get into why I ended up transferring out of that major – and into another CSU campus after a few years away from said institution.
In terms of whether the franchise has held up since Brian uttered the words, "tuna, no crust," it’s baffling. You see the cars, right? Dom is equipped with MOPAR’s finest from Stellantis. However, F&F began where the plot centered on domestic criminal activity surrounded by modded-up-the-you-know-where cars. Those are the cars that brought you into the franchise in the first place?
Where this ninth installment of the saga will take you is another issue entirely. With that, I offer no spoiler alerts. If you’re curious, spend the theater money and watch it.
This brings me back to the idea of this film in connecting with its fans. In a recent interview, In The Heights lead actor Anthony Ramos proclaimed that his film was for the “(expletive) culture" – the Dominican culture, to be specific. Is F9 a movie for the car culture?
That depends on where you are at along the saga. Again, I offer no spoilers. I also am not encouraging any perspectives based on the film itself. However, I am concerned that those who have seen the original from twenty years ago – and have been influenced by it – will shake their heads as to why it did not end with that film. Or, with Tokyo Drift. Or, upon Paul Walker’s death.
There are plenty of conclusions you will make after watching F9. Mine continues to process. With that, I reserve judgment for the film critics. I’ll stay in my lane as an automotive content creator/journalist.
DISCLAIMER: Logistics for the film event provided by Universal Pictures
All photos courtesy of Universal Pictures