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Non-Review Review: F9 – The Fast Saga

They say “start as you mean to go on.” So it seems appropriate that F9: The Fast Saga opens with a car crash.

The ninth installment in the Fast and Furious franchise arrives at an interesting time in the run of the series. Vin Diesel has announced that it might be time to retire the franchise, following a closing trilogy worthy of the characters. After much internal drama, two of the franchise’s core characters have spun out into their own franchise with Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. The series is also still coming to terms with the passing of Paul Walker, who was the glue that held the franchise together. After all, what are Roman and Tej doing on the team now that Brian is gone?

Back in the ‘burgh.

Perhaps understanding that this is a tumultuous time for the Fast and Furious series, F9 makes a number of obvious plays for safe and familiar ground. Justin Lin returns as writer and co-director, a veteran of the franchise who helmed the four films between Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious 6. Lin directed Fast Five, which is probably the best film in the franchise, existing at the perfect intersection between the series’ origins as a gritty urban western and the bombastic blockbuster behemoth that it would become.

F9 clearly and repeatedly attempts to recapture some of the magic of Fast Five, but only serves to demonstrate that the franchise can’t go home again.

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