F9: The Fast Saga

F9: The Fast Saga

2021, PG-13, 145 min. Directed by Justin Lin. Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Finn Cole, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Don Omar.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 25, 2021

So there I was, all, like, What the efff?! Where the hell am I? How did my 88-inch Samsung QLED get so freaking huge? And why isn’t the screen its usual backdrop mirror image of my living room? Bill Hicks told me all those shrooms we took way back in the Eighties absolutely wouldn’t result in tragicomic flashbacks thirty years down the road. Dude you lied: The doors of perception are super-wicked ajar right about now. Then realization dawned, albeit slowly because the lighting was dim and shadowy figures murmured at least six feet from me in every direction and, y’know, maybe they had nunchucks, right? After 426 days – that’s 36,806,400 seconds on the odometer, you gearhead – I was back in a theatre, with other humans mostly maskless, anxiously waiting for my first true moviegoing experience in 14-plus months to kickstart my heart with the motley crew of Team Toretto. As far as riotously over-the-top, rip-roaring automotive mayhem and the sternum-shattering sound design of a modded-out, 6.2-liter, V-8-powered 1968 Dodge Charger Hellcat sporting a 426 Mopar Crate Hemi deathgasm engine goes, F9: The Fast Saga is a perfect example of why movie theatres are so necessary for films of this type. Maybe you can watch (pick any mumblecore indie outing) on your home theatre screen or even your smartphone and come away satisfied, but that’ll never be the case with the best Saturday afternoon popcorn genre films like Universal’s $6 billion dollar-grossing Fast and the Furious mega-franchise.

That said, F9 isn’t a very good piece of filmmaking, even in the context of the franchise. It's overstuffed with all the actors wasting both the viewers’ and the movie’s running time by actually speaking dialogue when we all know that what audiences really want to see is outrageous vehicular slamslaughter. (And explosions. BIG ones.) F9 delivers on all of that and more, tossing in everything from the proverbial kitchen sink to the International Space Station and more globe-hopping set pieces than your favorite 007 escapade. It’s big, dumb fun cobbled together with the series overarching emphasis on the importance of “family,” dammit. Need I even go into the plot? It’s painful to imagine what a newbie to the F&F omniverse might expect dare they enter the nine-film – plus television series, video games, Universal Studios Hollywood attraction, ad nauseam – via this particular, ahem vehicle.

Suffice it to say the Dominic Toretto’s (Diesel) United Colors of Benetton gang of shady greasemonkeys-turned-good guys (and dolls—series stalwart Rodriguez always looks like she’s having the time of her life, and both newcomer Sawai and the totally unknown neophyte Mirren prove far more interesting than their musclebound male counterparts) are chasing a MacGuffin that resembles nothing so much as one of Loki’s cast-off whatsits. Chaos, comedy, and multiple shocking reveals ensue. So, y’know, it’s a Fast and the Furious film but this time clunkier, minus much of the snappy gutter panache of 2001’s original.

There is one wholly original but unfulfilled tease in a sequence where Roman (Gibson) questions his compatriots about the fact that none of the core members of Toretto and Co. ever truly get hurt despite enduring two decades of hyper-stylized grievous bodily harm. “Seriously,” he asks, pointing at the bullet holes in his shirt, “we always walk away with barely a scratch.” Fast & Furious 10 is already on its way and Roman’s fair query feels like it came from somewhere in M. Night Shyamalan’s unbreakable wheelhouse, or maybe the MCU’s “super soldiers” story. Who knows? Team Toretto versus the Avengers? I’d pay to see that.

Showtimes

AMC Dine-In Tech Ridge 10

12625 N. I-35, 512/640-1533, www.amctheatres.com

Sun., July 25

CC/DVS 2:20, 6:10

Mon., July 26

CC/DVS 4:00, 7:40

Tue., July 27

CC/DVS 6:20

Wed., July 28

CC/DVS 6:20

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 Capital of Texas Hwy. S., 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Sun., July 25

CC 1:25, 4:40, 8:10, 10:10
CC/DVS 1:25, 4:40, 8:10, 10:10

Mon., July 26

CC 1:20, 4:40, 8:10
CC/DVS 1:20, 4:40, 8:10

Tue., July 27

CC 1:20, 4:40, 8:10
CC/DVS 1:20, 4:40, 8:10

Wed., July 28

CC 1:20, 4:40, 8:10
CC/DVS 1:20, 4:40, 8:10

Thu., July 29

CC 2:00, 5:20
CC/DVS 2:00, 5:20

Blue Starlite Downtown

300 San Antonio, 707/787-5072, www.bluestarlitedrivein.com

Tue., July 27

8:50

Wed., July 28

8:50

Thu., July 29

8:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Sun., July 25

digital 10:30am, 6:45, 10:05

Mon., July 26

digital 12:05, 3:25, 6:45, 10:05

Tue., July 27

digital 12:05, 3:25, 10:05

Wed., July 28

digital 10:05

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Sun., July 25

digital 11:20am, 6:00, 9:20

Mon., July 26

digital 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30, 9:50

Tue., July 27

digital 11:50am, 3:10

Thu., July 29

digital 11:50am, 3:10

Sun., July 25

digital 6:10

Mon., July 26

digital 3:55, 7:20

Tue., July 27

digital 3:00

Wed., July 28

digital 7:15

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Sun., July 25

digital 11:10am, 6:30

Mon., July 26

digital 2:55, 6:30

Tue., July 27

digital 2:55

Wed., July 28

digital 2:55, 6:30

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., July 25

digital 11:05am, 9:05

Mon., July 26

digital 1:25, 5:00, 8:30

Tue., July 27

digital 1:25

Wed., July 28

digital 1:25

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Sun., July 25

digital 2:40, 6:00

Mon., July 26

digital 4:00, 7:00

Tue., July 27

digital 4:00, 7:00

Wed., July 28

digital 4:00, 7:00

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Sun., July 25

1:05, 4:10, 7:15

Mon., July 26

1:05, 4:10, 7:15

Tue., July 27

1:05, 4:10, 7:15

Wed., July 28

1:05, 4:10, 7:15

Evo Cinemas Belterra

166 Hargraves Ste. A-100, 512/457-0700, www.evocinemas.com/drippingsprings

Sun., July 25

3:45, 7:45

Mon., July 26

12:30, 4:00, 7:30

Tue., July 27

12:30, 4:00, 7:30

Wed., July 28

12:45, 4:00, 7:30

Thu., July 29

12:30, 4:00

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Sun., July 25

12:15, 3:30, 6:45, 10:00

Mon., July 26

12:15, 3:30, 6:45

Tue., July 27

12:15, 3:30, 6:45

Wed., July 28

12:15, 3:30, 6:45

Thu., July 29

12:15, 3:30

Film Alley Bastrop

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, bastrop.filmalley.net/

Sun., July 25

11:25am, 3:00, 6:40

Mon., July 26

11:25am, 3:00, 6:40

Tue., July 27

12:45, 4:05, 7:50

Wed., July 28

12:20, 4:05, 7:50

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Sun., July 25

11:00am, 1:30, 4:30, 7:30

Mon., July 26

2:45, 6:30

Tue., July 27

2:45, 6:30

Wed., July 28

11:00am, 1:30, 4:30, 6:00

Thu., July 29

4:45

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Sun., July 25

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Mon., July 26

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Tue., July 27

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Wed., July 28

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 10:00

Thu., July 29

CC 12:00, 3:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., July 25

CC 12:00, 3:30, 6:55, 10:15
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:30, 6:55, 10:15

Mon., July 26

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55

Tue., July 27

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55

Wed., July 28

CC 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55

Thu., July 29

CC 12:00, 3:10
CC/DVS 12:00, 3:10

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Sun., July 25

CC/DVS 2:40, 6:20

Mon., July 26

CC/DVS 3:30, 7:10

Tue., July 27

CC/DVS 3:30, 7:10

Wed., July 28

CC/DVS 3:30, 7:10

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., July 25

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30, 9:50

Mon., July 26

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30

Tue., July 27

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30

Wed., July 28

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30

Thu., July 29

CC/DVS 11:50am, 3:10, 6:30

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research #1500, 512/291-3158, www.southwesttheaters.com

$6.50 children and senior tickets (all-day), $5 Tuesdays (all tickets), Bargain Matinees before 5pm daily.

Sun., July 25

12:00, 3:20, 6:40

Mon., July 26

12:00, 3:20, 6:40

Tue., July 27

12:00, 3:20, 6:40

Wed., July 28

3:30, 6:40

Thu., July 29

12:00, 3:20, 6:40

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Sun., July 25

CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45, 6:30, 9:55

Mon., July 26

CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45, 6:30, 9:55

Tue., July 27

CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45, 6:30, 9:55

Wed., July 28

CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45, 6:30, 9:55

Thu., July 29

CC/DVS 12:45, 3:45

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

F9: The Fast Saga, Justin Lin, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Finn Cole, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black, Shad Moss, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Don Omar

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