I just really like going to the movies, OK?

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.


  1. microraptor says

    My understanding of the Fast & Furious movies was that at some point, an executive thought it would be a really good idea to change it from a movie series about street racing to the MCU with cars.

  2. says

    So one of the writers are Cracked.com mused about a crossover between the F&F series and Jurassic Park and all I can picture is Vin Diesel riding a T-Rex. Don’t try to tell me this isn’t the best idea ever.

  3. HidariMak says

    In one of the earlier movies (F7?), the good guys confused the bad guys, by having the woman they were looking for change cars by crawling through the car windows. This was as the cars were speeding past each other at top speed, of course.

    The final scene in the Fast & Furious video game had the hero catch up to an ICBM missile which was flying only feet over the ground, by driving very fast behind it and catching up. This was so that they could hop onto the ICBM mid-flight to de-act9vate it.

    For the most recent movie, I heard that around half the scenes either have the crucifix prominently displayed, or they’re talking about God and Christ.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    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.

    Yes, F&F is a “franchise”, and I hate it when that happens. Even worse is when a thing gets so big they don’t call it a franchise any more, they call it a “universe.”. Examples include Star Wars and the Marvel movies.

  5. hemidactylus says

    I saw the first installment in the franchise. The cars are cool (modded mostly Japanese vintage). Before that hot rod movies were heavy on American steel. But there’s a whole group of subcultures based on four-bangers— Honda, Toyota, Mazda, VW…

    The only redeeming quality for any of the movies is bad girl Michelle Rodriguez (from the Lost tail section across the island fame). Not enough a draw though to get me to watch any of the franchise. Seems really stupid as movies go.

    I prefer car garage shows where they highlight what goes into renovating or modding cars. There was a show exclusively about JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) cars. Another Car vs. America showed drifting (weird) and H2Oi: https://jalopnik.com/the-most-ticketed-car-show-in-america-was-even-crazier-1819118450

    I was driving behind some weirdly tilted wheels (camber?) car last week. It was extremely lowered and had a laser light show going on underneath. The tilted wheel thing perplexed me. Why drive on the edges of your tires???

    My generation lowered pickup trucks and introduced competition bass. The kids these days are riding on the edges of their tires and listening to mumble rap. WTF?

  6. Matt G says

    I saw one of these movies, or possibly fewer. Painful. Ten is eleven too many.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    The only cool films with Vin Diesel are the first and the last Riddick films. He really gets to channel his inner menacing antihero.
    For challenging but very very good films I would suggest two films by Andrei Tarkovsky:
    “Solaris” and “Stalker”*.
    *the latter name was chosen by Tarkovsky due to a translation error. A more correct name would be “sneaker” as It involves sneaking into a förbunden zone.

    Solaris has a very long highway scene, during which there is important exposition going on. The sequence -filmed in Tokyo- was added to justify a trip to Japan by the film crew. The Soviet Union was a bizarre place.

  8. blf says

    the damn thing expected me to have absorbed all the lore of previous entries in the franchise

    Which is one of the main reason I don’t go to the cinema anymore. As far as I can recall, I last went to the cinema in Ireland, at about the beginning of the this millennium, to watch either the first installment of LoTR, or A Clockwork Orange.

    Obviously, “the first installment of LoTR” may seem contradictory to the problem of “franchise movies”, albeit unlike most “franchises”, it was well-known there would be three movies. I tend to see that three-installment movie series as “one very long movie”, not unlike the six(?) installment series of Last Omens (which itself is, maybe, now suffering from the “franchise effect” due to the forthcoming(?) “2nd season”, albeit Neil Gaiman has said it’s based on a draft(? idea?) he and Terry Pratchett cooked-up years ago).

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Important actors in a ‘box’- you should pick the one where the protagonist turns out to be a dismembered body wired up to life support,
    while exploring different time branches of the multiverse borrowing the body of a train passenger to stop a terrorist attack.
    The physics managed to be ‘plausible’ if you accept multiverse theory.

  10. lakitha tolbert says

    #2 Ray Ceeya

    I have always been of the opinion, that there is no movie so bad that it cannot be made more fun with the addition of dinosaurs, and/or ninjas!

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Ray Ceera @ 2, lakhita tolbert @ 10

    Reminds me of the fan-based parody of 1980s media, with the laser raptors and Norse gods.
    Can we get a live-action Dragon Ball Z film with Freeza and Perfect Cell working for Koch Industries?

    Joe Biden can be Mr Satan*, the MMA fighter that steals the credit from the real heroes (Merican TV renamed him “Hercule” because yellow chickens).

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Turkish Star Wars!
    Turkish Superman!
    Kaiju films: Big Man Japan!
    Any ‘Gamera’ film at all ( all are aimed at pre-adolescents)
    And -for a genuine mindf*ck- “Strange Highways” by David Lynch. It is different from the others because quality, but you will get just as bewildered.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    The first movie I plan to go back to seeing will be a Rifftrax show in August. Then I am waiting until October for the release of the new Dune adaptation. I’m hoping to catch that one on an IMAX screen.

  14. chrislawson says


    Vin Diesel is the voice of the Iron Giant, which will always be his best movie no matter what else he does.

    And personally? I like the second Riddick movie for its ridiculous space opera setting and its fantastic cast. The third film was a great little survival thriller for the first half, but then other characters turn up and the movie suddenly turns Riddick into a creepy sex fiend. Yes, his sneaking around could be justified as necessary for survival, but not when he relishes revealing to the female lead that he has violated her privacy and enjoys seeing her upset by it. This is not presented as a flaw. This is presented as cool, and the first step in their romantic relationship.

  15. says

    @12 birgerjohansson
    You’re talking about Kung Fury. Supposedly Sanderson is turning that into a feature length film. I think everything is delayed because of COVID. But I love it. He really nailed it even though it’s only like 30 minutes long. Sanderson BTW specializes in music videos so it all makes sense. The world needs some over the top WTF? right now. I was really hoping Godzilla vs. Kong was going to be a romantic comedy but reality just can’t stop disappointing me.

  16. says

    Die Hard is one of the greatest action movies of all time and one of the most grounded I’ve ever seen, almost realistic compared to most. I’m glad they didn’t make any sequels otherwise those too would get more and more ridiculous with each passing movie.

    Not that ridiculousness is a bad thing. Another all time great action movie is John Wick but it was already so out there with impossible action that the sequels don’t leave you wondering how they got here from there.

  17. Hairhead, Still Learning at 59 says

    I did watch the first F&F movie. A not-bad action flick with cool cars. Then it got stupider and stupider. I bailed out on F5, when the following happened:

    1) Vin’s ex-girlfriend is mad at him, so from about 20 feet away, she SHOOTS HIM in the shoulder. Vin grunts. After she leaves, he takes his wifebeater off over his head without any trouble. Then he pulls the bullet out with a pair of needlnose pliers. There’s no blood to speak of, and he is fully UNimpaired for the rest of movie. Anybody who has worked with shoulder injuries and/or bullet wounds know that’s utterly ridiculous bullshit.

    2) At one point in the movie, Vin leaps out of car travelling about 70 mph, catches a woman flying toward him in the the air at a like rate of speed, they then smash into the windshield of yet another car racing towards them down the road. Safe in his arms, she asks, “How did you know the car would break our fall?” (BREAK OUR FALL? CARS BREAK YOU!)

    3) All of the F&F films laud “family”. I.e. all of our destruction, murder (the amount of destruction their stunts do and the number of bullets they fire mean that lots and lots of people have been killed and injured) and theft is fine because we have cookouts.

    And the following films were even worse. Brainless AND stupid? Not what I would pay money for; real life provides me with too many examples, for FREE!

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Ray Ceeya
    Godzilla and Kong could at least set up a club for Kaiju that are into disco (the floor will need the kind of reinforcement they have at the road bringing the space shuttle to Launch Pad 39).
    I would not be against bringing Deadpool into that narrative universe. Self-repairing protagonists are crucial.
    And we need a sarcastic commenter inside to deflate the ego of the baddies.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Chrislawson @ 15
    Yes, if they make a fourth Riddick film, they need to lose the perv aspect.
    Or let his character get a kick in the crotch from the female lead.

  20. gaparker says

    hemidactylus @5 –
    “I was driving behind some weirdly tilted wheels (camber?) car last week. It was extremely lowered and had a laser light show going on underneath. The tilted wheel thing perplexed me. Why drive on the edges of your tires???”

    That is referred to as a “stanced” car. IMO one of the most ridiculous customizing fads, worse than Donks and Bro-trucks. On the one hand, to each their own; OTOH, it sure looks stupid to me.

  21. steve1 says

    I looked at the movie listing.
    It say the movie is 2 hours and 23 minutes long. A movie like this has no business being that long. I say an hour and thirty tops.

  22. tacitus says

    If you’d have asked how many Fast and Furious movies there were, I would have guess about three…

    I streamed The Tomorrow War last night, Amazon’s “Summer Blockbuster.” Yet another movie script that’s wholly dependent on stupid people doing stupid things. I’m perfectly willing to suspend disbelief for a well plotted movie if they put in the effort to make it somewhat plausible, but when they don’t even try it’s an exercise in frustration.

    The CGI aliens were well realized, at least. More convincing than Chris Pratt in that role…

  23. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I’m lucky that the beautiful art deco theater down the street from me does revivals every Wednesday night, so I can enjoy those this summer! Repo Man! Rear Window! Jazz on a Summer’s Afternoon! Heck, I’m even going to go see Car Wash! :)

  24. wzrd1 says

    @nomdeplume, that’s pretty much all of them.
    Hollywood in a nutshell: cars are impact explosive devices, gasoline is high explosive, good guy guns are death rays, bad guy guns can’t even hit this planet, bullets always “need to come out” and once removed, the injury is about as debilitating as dropping an overcooked and cooled noodle onto one’s steel toed boots. Anything to do with electricity, fire or vectored forces is magic.
    Oh, I nearly forgot, the muscle bound good guy wins the girl who hated him throughout the film.

    OT, Maxwell, of Epstein infamy has asked the judge to dismiss a slew of the most serious charges, due to Cosby.

  25. hemidactylus says

    Vin Diesel is supposed to revamp the Miami Vice franchise. Might have been pandemic delayed.


    Kinda hard to recapture the 80s aesthetic which was retrospectively over the top status signaling or put a buddy cop show into the current context without being too blue lined. And the cars were just for cool background eye candy not to drive the storyline. So no Miami drift.

    And G Gordon Liddy is dead so can’t do the dark arc of the ‘Nam era shady spook who brings tainted heroin to Miami or leads a brutal contra adjacent mercenary unit supported by the Miami elite.

  26. HidariMak says

    hemidactylus @ #30:
    Rob Zombie, the founding member of the heavy metal group “White Zombie” who went on to direct movies like “House of 1,000 Corpses”, has been tasked to do a theater movie release of the old TV sitcom “The Munsters”. Hollywood doesn’t seem as interested in keeping the original flavor as they used to be. https://is.gd/lA3YZq

  27. John Morales says

    I much prefer to watch a movie at home, rather than in a public place.

  28. unclefrogy says

    I am getting old i can’t even watch much TV shows let alone many movies old or new. I discovered a crime mystery drama series a while ago it is Korean and called “Stranger” very intricate plot and keeps you guessing right up to the end. It stars Cho Seung-woo as the “investigator” I watched the first series and started to watch the second but could not pay attention well enough to follow along knowing that it was going to be very convoluted I will try again later for sure. then I saw the next thing he did was streamable.It is called “Sijipeuseu the myth” a kind of si-fy mystery with plenty of over the top chase scenes and action with some strange timey-wimey stuff central to the story.
    I can get all the car action movie stuff I need from watching dash-cam videos on youtube. i think it has helped me drive better much more aware, reinforces defensive driving
    uncle frogy

  29. Ted Lawry says

    Anyone remember the Friday the 13-th series. I saw the first one and maybe a bit of the second. They actually ran it out for the full 13 films. The best thing about it was the advertising slogan for the sixth (?) movie: “Something this evil can never really die.”

  30. birgerjohansson says

    There is a place for crap films…and that place is “God Awful Movies” where awful movies are presented in abridged form by stand-uppers Noah Lugeons, Heath Enwright and Eli Bosnick!