With the exception of the long-lived James Bond film series, which is different in that it has been switching actors and directors over seven decades, it’s not possible to remember a single-title, stable protagonists franchise that reached its ninth feature with the popular strength and box office success of Fast and furious. A saga with a hesitant initial third, but which ended up benefiting precisely from the latest shift of 007 productions to a more serious tone and greater complexity of characters and story, with Daniel Craig as the protagonist, making room for a more spy franchise laid-back and basic, where only fireworks matter and anything goes to blow your mind.
The sixth film, directed by Justin Lin, may have marked the peak of spectacularity in a series that, at times, incorporated stars from action films (from Dwayne Johnson to John Cena, its last link, passing through Jason Statham), surpassed death of one of its iconic faces, Paul Walker, and convinced with a mixture of high budget, autoparodic sense of humor, sumptuousness in the composition of its most important sequels and Hollywood big names in principle alien to this type of product, such as Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren, who return in this Fast & Furious 9, finally released after several delays caused by the pandemic.
Since that sixth chapter, the franchise has not fallen, despite insisting on having exaggerated durations (again, almost two and a half hours), thanks to the work of directors like James Wan and F. Gary Gray and the fusion of mind-blowing directing and editing, engines powerful, camaraderie of the cast and, as here, a script in which the strength of the saga’s legacy in stories close to the family serial serves as the basis for the emotional decision-making of its characters.
Lin, who returns to directing after two films, demonstrates in two long and powerful sequences — on a rocky mountain road and on the streets of Edinburgh — that few film and edit action scenes like he does. And “don’t go away yet, there’s more” reaches an even more delirious level than the flying cars, building to building, in the seventh episode. Where are we going to take them this time, into space? Hold my drink, here we go. And no problem, the public will swallow it.
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