This month’s film of the month is   (starring   and   ), released in theaters on April 8th, 2013. It’s an edge-of-your-seat thriller written and directed by   and produced by   . F9 has received mixed reviews, but generally has been praised for its refreshingly original and engaging story.

F9 is an American science fiction action film written and directed by Christopher Landon, and starring Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Yeoh. It is based on the novel of the same name by Steve Alten.

F9 is a South Korean movie that just finished its theatrical run in South Korea, China and other Asian countries and will be released in the USA and Canada in 2018. The film is a science fiction thriller about a genius programmer who is hired by the South Korean government to create a new brain-computer interface system that will enable users to access the internet through thought. F9 is directed by Jang Hun, who previously made the South Korean sci-fi flick The Host.

F9

Director: Justin Lin

Duration: 145 minutes

There’s an episode of the sitcom Happy Days in which Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler), with his signature green haircut and leather jacket, literally jumps a shark on water skis. Even for a decade as gloriously surreal as the 1970s, this is the kind of absurd, scripted choice that only network TV technicians would be able to convince that they embody any sense of cool. In the language of cultural criticism and archival television trophies, then, Jump the Shark refers to the moment when an established media property reaches its internal nadir and begins a steep decline in quality that betrays a lack of ingenuity to an audience all too aware that the property has long since passed its peak. Recent examples include the last few seasons of Game of Thrones, Skywalker Rising, and every episode of The Simpsons after 1997.

With that in mind, I’m not particularly thrilled that F9 – the ninth film in the recently renamed Fast and Furious saga and the tenth film in the billion-dollar Fast franchise – has been run so far ahead of its time that it almost comes across as an intentional self-parody. Almost. For most of its two-and-a-half-hour running time, this mindless film practically jumps into the realm of absurdity as spectacle, replacing water-skiing stunts with street-racing superheroes, magnetic macguffins, a makeshift rocket ship and an obscene $200 million budget.

At the beginning of the film, we see young Dominic Toretto (Vinny Bennett) working the pit crew with his younger brother Jacob (Finn Cole) and helping his father Jack (J.D. Pardo) finish the race. Those familiar with the title film in the franchise already know what’s going on. Soon Jack crashes into the runway and is burned alive, while Jacob and a moderately suffering Dom watch helplessly and horrified as this happens. It’s a moment of personal tragedy that’s already well entrenched in the franchise’s history, but which the film returns to often, making awkward moves for character drama and narrative stakes.

We move to the present and continue the events of Fate of the Furious (2017). Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) live a quiet, isolated life while raising Dom’s son, Brian. But when Dom’s team – Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Natalie Emmanuel) – arrives and asks for Dom and Letty’s help in rescuing M… Nobody (Kurt Russell) suddenly throws the team back into the fray, pursuing a group of thugs led by mercenary Jacob (John Cina) across middle America in search of the evil Cipher (Charlize Theron) and a doomsday machine codenamed Aries, which is a crypto-hacker’s dream.

Although the plot is classic enough to be comfortable with most of the heist movie elements and heavy action scenes that have dominated the franchise since 2011, starting with Fast and Furious 5, plot and pacing problems appear early on. The first act of F9 unfolds like all previous installments in the franchise: Replicas, expensive cars, cavalcades of bullets and explosions, and a ridiculous escape stunt (already ruined by the trailers and a delayed theatrical release) that literally defies logic and the laws of physics. Once this incident is worked out, the film decides to slow down again and returns to 1989 for the backstory of young Dom and Jacob.

In the 20-year history of the franchise, director Justin Lin has probably had the most influence. He took the wheel from Tokyo Drift (2006) to Fast and Furious 6 (2013). His return in F9 was quite masterful and self-contained, with small character moments that went easily and quietly, and then quickly building to the madness of the big scenes. The film’s biggest problem, however, has to do with questionable writing choices. In addition to Lin, writers Alfredo Botello and Daniel Casey are also new to the franchise and are expected to replace Chris Morgan, who is responsible for the entire Fast and Furious storyline, which spans seven films and 15 years.

The lack of a guide for Morgan is noticeable in the way the film relies on a non-linear narrative to explain not only Jacob’s existence and motivations, as well as Dom’s obvious dislike of him, but also why other peripheral characters keep popping up. F9 is full of scenes where the actors have to explain to each other – via flashbacks or tedious expositions – why this or that one is alive, bad or good, and it often feels confusing and uncoordinated with the kinetic energy of the film’s action.

Some cameo roles in the film make for some very funny moments. Theron plays Cypher again, and Helen Mirren plays Queenie Shaw’s thief Madame Magdalene. Others are just weird. Sean Boswell (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Bow Wow) and Earl Hu (Jason Tobin), who all starred in Tokyo Drift, return to London as unexplained rocket men because the script demands it. Cardi B shows up to save Dom in a small role where Wikipedia had to figure out who she is and why she’s there. And thanks to Diesel’s behind-the-scenes machinations and ego, the film is sadly devoid of Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) (aside from the inclusion of the odd post-credit scene).

It’s no surprise, then, that a franchise built on an ever-expanding cast of diverse characters and the central theme of La Familia has acquired its own mythology. At 53, Vin Diesel is still playing Dom, an East L.A. street racer with a granite expression, even when he’s being dropped by government cargo planes abroad or performing Christ-like heroics. And of course, looking at the individual assignments, it’s easy to brush aside the more outrageous elements. But F9 seems deadly aware of the insanity of the commitment to this team of former mechanics and hackers, and explains it openly to the audience in an obvious attempt at metafictional humor.

The result, however, is an utterly inarticulate tone and execution, with most of the laughs during my viewing not due to character lines or one-sentence jokes. Instead, I and others laughed when the team managed to pull the car through the building with a super magnet that would have made even the biggest ICP fan scratch his head. Or when the team flips an 18-wheeler with a magnet and drives it down a hill. Or when Tej and Roman go into space and drive a car into a satellite, and then back to the ISS. (Guys, I can’t stress this enough, but you really can’t make this shit up). Instead of being a successful installment in the franchise, F9 feels like kids playing with Hot Wheels and action figures, mixing everything up and repeating the plot.

As I mentioned in my review of the Hobbs and Shaw spin-off (2019), the Fast and the Furious movies are well aware that they are big, dumb and loud. And even if it’s been that way for years, honesty can only get you so far. F9 goes too far because it knows its audience does, and it’s only too happy to waste that goodwill with a bad script, bland villains, and a completely muddled story. One more movie in the Fast and Furious saga and space is over. I’m patiently waiting for FX so Dom and the team can float to the moon and save the solar system from ….. from… Ride or die.

May:

How do you load…F9 is an Eastern language film directed by Bong Joon-Ho ( The Host ) and released in 2012. The story is about a man who has a chance to win the lottery, but he has to buy a lottery ticket from a kiosk. The film stars Song Kang-Ho, Ahn Seo-Hyang, Lee Jung-Gi , Doo-Joon , and Bae Sung-Won . The main cast includes Bae Sung-Won ( The Chaser , K-Town Barista ) and Lee Jung-Gi ( The Woman in the Dunes , The Crucifier ).. Read more about fast and furious 9 cast and let us know what you think.

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