F9 (aka F9: The Fast Saga) goes full Moonraker by literally sending a couple members of the unfazed-by-physics crew to…outer space. In a ’84 Pontiac Fiero. Modified.

Cena, John Cena

Justin Lin directs the furiously fast gang for the fifth time, co-writing with Daniel Casey. Vin Diesel’s apparently unkillable ‘Dominic Torreto’ brings most of the pack back from previous adventures. Noticeably missing is Dwayne Johnson, but a new injection of testosterone comes from John Cena, born for this kind of fanciful mayhem. He plays Dom’s estranged brother ‘Jakob’: they have issues to settle. Returning to re-bad their asses: Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell and Helen Mirren.

The action franchise drug of topping every previous top eventually runs afoul of the law of diminishing returns and this 9th installment didn’t do as well as earlier runs (five of the nine pulled more cash), but still ranked 5th in the States in 2021, taking $173,000,000, 3rd place globally, reaching $726,200,000. The numbers had to be astronomical to cover the minuum $225,000,000 spent to wreak absurd, amusing havoc on locations in Scotland, England, Thailand, Georgia (the country) and bad ‘ol La La.

At 143 minutes, the longest of the fun runs, this one cuts down on the female pulchritude aspect (flashed model bods barely present) and amps up the impossible action scenes to laughable levels. Still, for fans (I can’t believe I became one, but 4 thru 8 won me over: some of my friends have considered intervention) it delivers the goods. Not everything has to be Hamlet.

With work for Thue Ersted Rasmussen (you gotta be confident to bring that handle to a casting call), Anna Sawai, Michael Rooker, Vinnie Bennett, Finn Cole, Shea Wigham, J.D. Pardo and Cardi B (cuz, yo).

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