‘F9’ is a comedy – The Atlantic
With F9, the Fast and furious the franchise shows that she always knows how to entertain. But he never got so much out of the Looney Tunes play book.
All Fast and furious the film puts credulity to the test, but F9 breaks it so completely that even the characters in the production noticed it. In the ninth main installment of one of Universal’s most enduring film franchises, Dominic Toretto (played by Vin Diesel) and his loyal group of former drag racing inmates are so indestructible they ride bullets, space mines. (I repeat: outer space.) No wonder crew member Roman (Tyrese Gibson) starts to wonder if they are immortal. “We are not OrdinaryHe says at one point, brandishing his bullet-rimmed shirt as proof.
It is not wrong to be disturbed: F9the ridiculously choreographed sets cement the Quickly franchise as a farce in its own right. The rampant action scenes aren’t just outrageous; they set up punchlines. At the start of the film, Roman’s first near-death experience – his car seems to run over him – is played for a laugh. One of the car chases – arguably the cogs of a franchise about fast, angry vehicles – relies on a character’s comedic inability to drive. And just watch the way the characters move through the Quickly-verse now: Dom and his teammates fly through the air, bounce off the roofs of cars, and recover from crashes like Wile E. Coyote.
After nine films, a spin-off, and two decades of raising the bar for physics-defying stunts, it’s perhaps natural that the Quickly the saga starts to look like Looney Tunes in his embrace of physical comedy. Of course, the Quickly movies have always been a bit silly – could there have been a sequel called 2 Fast 2 Furious if they weren’t? – but this is the one during which I laughed the most.
F9The backbone of comedy comes at a cost: it’s hard to have stakes when no one is really in danger. Fan favorite character Han (Sung Kang) returns from the dead in F9, and while it’s a welcome sight, it hardly takes the story into account. He makes a grand entrance, participates in barely reasoned flashbacks that explain his survival, and provides the crew with the next step in their mission. He only adds to the story halfway through the credits. The previous resurrection of the franchise and of course Quickly had more than one resurrection – brought back Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty as an amnesiac working for a rival team, a twist that sowed the seed for the movies to become a story of loyalty. Han’s return offers little more than a handful of jokes and a setup for a sequel. It is not fair to Han.
F9The insistence on lightness is only more visible for the emotional resonance of the plot. Dom’s never-mentioned brother Jakob (John Cena) works with cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron) to find a device that can hack – sorry, that part of the plot doesn’t matter. What matters is that Jakob has been hurt by Dom’s abandonment, reminding audiences that Dom can be hypocritical when it comes to his sacred family code, and maybe even cruel. These ideas – of brotherhood and its supposedly indestructible bonds – form the emotional foundation of the Quickly franchise and were constantly explored and questioned even when the movies started aiming higher with stunts. Yet Jakob spends more time during F9It’s about two and a half hours of being toasted by Cipher and dodging the high tech magnets to confront Dom.
Quickly isn’t the only franchise whose conscious comedy overshadows its emotional stakes. Godzilla vs. Kong presented its climax with a punchline, a far cry from the film series’ entrenched debut. the Jurassic World movies highlight their characters’ comedic reactions to dinosaur attacks more than they do the pride of mankind, like the original jurassic park the movies did. same Impossible mission, a lauded franchise for filming practical stunts, began to nod at its absurd nature. Maybe Marvel is the culprit – its films have long accentuated action scenes with jokes and jokes. Or maybe, with a large following on the internet, mainstream entertainment is doing it for memes.
Yet what previous set Quickly films apart was their versatility: from Fast Five beyond that, these films trained their storytelling to focus on the importance of a found family, even as cars began to navigate between turns and fall from planes. The warmth of chemistry experienced by the actors, along with the joy of the daring sets first introduced by director Justin Lin, form a unique combination. These sequels were not without humor, but their jokes served to emphasize the camaraderie of the crew. F9The exaggerated nonsense of, including a random zinger on Roman and Tej (Ludacris) looking like Minions, is little more than a blank nod to the audience.
Perhaps there is no better indicator of the franchise’s absurd route than the treatment of its once-revered cars. The first three films have fetishized them; heist-centric sequels made them personality extensions of key characters. When Dom threw them through the windows of the skyscrapers, he at least felt a little bad. But in F9, cars are largely props for visual gags. They are devices to be crushed, exploded or sent into the atmosphere. A franchise of car fanatics that no longer cares about its cars? This is perhaps the film’s most revealing joke.