"Redemptive Story Marred by Too Many Flashbacks and Obscenities"
What You Need To Know:
F9 literally takes the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise to new heights. Dom and his wife, Letty, are taken from their isolated family life for a new mission. They and their team learn Dom’s estranged brother, Jakob, is working for a wealthy foreign oligarch trying to steal a dangerous computer hard drive system. The system will be uploaded to a newly launched satellite to hack into all satellites and control all the world’s electronic and military devices. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal how Dom and Jakob’s father died and why Dom blames his brother.
As usual, F9 has some great FAST AND FURIOUS action sequences and emotionally powerful moments. This is also one of the funniest entries in the franchise. That said, the movie is hindered by too many flashbacks and some corny moments. The good news is that F9 has some of the strongest moral, redemptive content yet. It extols sacrifice, family, belief in God, prayer, forgiveness, reconciliation, and good overcoming evil, with few deviations. Despite this, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for excessive foul language and lots of action violence and mayhem in F9.
F9 literally takes the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise to new heights, with a story about Dom Toretto’s estranged younger brother, Jakob, working for a wealthy foreign oligarch trying to steal a dangerous computer hard drive system that will be uploaded to a newly launched satellite to hack into all satellites and run all the world’s electronic and military devices and systems. As usual, F9 has some great action sequences, peppered with many funny moments and positive Christian, redemptive, moral elements extolling God, prayer, family, sacrifice, and thwarting evildoers, but it’s hindered by too many flashbacks about Dom and Jakob’s past, and some corny moments, plus excessive foul language.
The movie’s opening finds Dom Toretto and his wife, Letty, living off the grid on an isolated farm with Dom’s young son, Brian. To protect his family from his enemies, Dom has decided to retire from the spy agency that recruited him several years ago. Letty, however, isn’t quite ready to retire to a sedentary life.
Their peace and quiet is broken when their friends, Roman and Tej, arrive with the female computer expert, Ramsey, who worked with them previously. The plane for the head of the spy agency, the mysterious Mr. Nobody, has crashed in the jungles of a Central American country with a military government. Mr. Nobody has asked them to get to the crashed plane and retrieve an important device before the local military gets there. Dom would rather stay on his farm to protect his young son, Brian, named after his best friend. However, Letty decides to go with the team, so Dom goes with them anyway.
In the jungle, they retrieve the device, but learn that the plane was also carrying Dom’s evil female nemesis, Cipher, in a portable cell. The cell with Cipher appears to be missing, however.
With the local military hot on their trail, the team tries to escape in the military vehicle and the two cars they brought with them. Not only do they have to dodge the military, they also dodge some land mines. In addition, another fast car shows up, and Dom sees that it’s being driven by his estranged brother, Jakob. So, the team, has to dodge Jakob too.
The team escapes in spectacular FAST AND FURIOUS fashion. Eventually, they learn that the device they’re carrying is one-half of a powerful computer hard drive. They also find out that Jakob’s working with a super-wealthy, criminal foreign oligarch who wants to assemble the two halves of the device and launch his own satellite into space. This villain wants to link the satellite to the device, located on the ground. By doing this, he can control every country’s satellite including connections to nuclear missiles, and all government and private electronic devices in space and on earth. To do that, however, Jakob has promised to help him get the half of the hard drive device Dom’s team has, snatch the second half of the hard drive and find the mysterious “key” that controls the device. Naturally, Dom’s team must stop them from doing all this. To top it off, it turns out that Jakob managed to snatch the enclosed cell in which Mr. Nobody was transporting Cipher. Although Cipher’s still trapped in the cell, she would like nothing better than to escape the cell and control the computer device on her own.
Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal why Dom hates his brother, Jakob, and wants nothing to do with him, even though family is one of Dom’s highest priorities, if not his highest priority, next to his Christian faith. It all has to deal with the accidental death of their father in 1989 during a big professional car race on a famous oval track.
As usual, F9 has some great FAST AND FURIOUS action sequences and emotionally powerful moments. This is also one of the funniest entries in the franchise, not only in the dialogue or some of the character relationships, but also in the action sequences. That said, the movie is hindered by too many flashback sequences, especially in the first half. One flashback sequence in the second half explains how a character is able to return to the franchise, but that sequence is exciting and kept short, sweet and to the point. The movie is also hurt by a couple corny moments that generated some derisive laughter in the screening MOVIEGUIDE® attended. The FAST AND FURIOUS movies have always worn their heart on their sleeves, but this time it sometimes seems a little too forced and awkwardly presented.
The good news, however, is that F9 has some of the strongest, best structured moral, redemptive content in the franchise. The movie opens with Dom focused on protecting Letty and his son, Brian, from the enemies he’s accumulated over the years. Later, [SPOILERS FOLLOW] Dom and viewers find out that Dom’s father sacrificed his life to protect his own family. The plot extols sacrifice elsewhere too. Also, at one point, Dom’s little boy asks him where God is, and Dom tells him God is in his heart. At the end, Dom invites the boy to lead grace over a meal with family and friends. Finally, of course, Dom’s team is again fighting evildoers who want to control the world, attack liberty and/or undermine peace.
MOVIEGIDE® advises extreme caution for excessive foul language (though there are fewer obscenities and profanities than in the last few movies) and lots of action violence and mayhem in F9. Also, there’s a scene where the evil oligarch is having a massive party at his large mansion with lots of beautiful women in fancy dresses. Dom goes there to talk to his brother, and the oligarch pridefully tells him all the women are on his payroll as “high class” call girls or prostitutes for wealthy people. Dom is clearly not impressed, however.