We have a lovely classy little movie theater in town, it was closed for a year and a half due to the pandemic, and now that it’s open again, I can’t resist. I have to spend one evening in a cozy air-conditioned theater with a mob of people watching whatever is showing that week, no matter how awful it is, which is how I ended up suffering through F9: The Fast Saga last night. I was not prepared — I might have seen bits and pieces of the Fast & Furious franchise on television before, but they were forgettable and left a minimal impression. Cars? Explosions? That was about it. But now I know better. This is quite possibly the worst movie I have ever seen, and I am a glutton for bad movies.
It was incredibly stupid. To my great shame, I didn’t understand half of what was going on, because the damn thing expected me to have absorbed all the lore of previous entries in the franchise.
For instance, Charlize Theron has a “role” in the story. She is, apparently, some evil mastermind everyone fears — we are not told why — and she’s introduced as a gorgeous woman caged in an isolated transparent box surrounded by mysterious glowing poles, like a laser warning or defense system, that had to be turned off before anyone could approach. This box was totally empty, except for the very well dressed Ms Hannibal Lecter, and I had to wonder through most of the movie…how did she go to the bathroom? She has a different outfit in every scene…how? These were the questions that dominated my thoughts about the movie, because she was so thoroughly irrelevant to the plot — so irrelevant that later, she’s shown to have been released from her box and is now running the whole bad guy operation. None of it makes any difference.
Otherwise, it’s just a whole lot of cars driving around fast with people shooting machine guns out of them. They have one wild twist in that they acquire these superpowerful electromagnets that the good guys install in their cars, and so with a twist of a dial they can yank guns out of people’s hands, or lift an entire street full of cars…which are somehow not drawn to the car with the supermagnet, but to bad guy’s cars, conveniently. Also, it doesn’t matter how much mass the supermagnet car is manipulating, it itself experiences no force. The violations of simple physics are numerous and offensive.
There’s also a rocket car they drive into a satellite.
One amusing moment: a character notes of John Cena and Vin Diesel that they figured out they were brothers because of the family resemblance. That jarred me right out of my musings about Charlize Theron’s privacy problem because what was that based on? Entirely on the diameters of their necks?
The stupidity of this movie can be summarized in one fact: this is apparently the tenth movie in the franchise, but they couldn’t count that high, so it was named F9.
Oh, well. The summer promises to be full of bad movies, so I guess it’s convenient that early on a floor has been set. It can only get better from here on out, right? If it doesn’t, maybe I’ll finally be cured of my movie-going habit.