|Directed by||Justin Lin|
by Gary Scott Thompson
|Cinematography||Stephen F. Windon|
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$621.9 million|
F9 (also known as F9: The Fast Saga and Fast & Furious 9) is a 2021 American action film directed by Justin Lin from a screenplay by Daniel Casey and Lin. It is the sequel to The Fate of the Furious (2017), the ninth main installment, and the tenth full-length film in the Fast & Furious franchise. The film stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Michael Rooker, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell, and Charlize Theron. In F9, Dominic Toretto and the team come together to stop a world-shattering plot headed by Toretto's brother, Jakob.
With a ninth and tenth film planned since 2014, Lin was confirmed to be directing F9 in October 2017, returning to the franchise since last directing Fast & Furious 6 (2013). F9 is the first film in the franchise since The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2003) not written by Chris Morgan. The cast was finalized with the addition of Cena in June 2019 and principal photography began that same month and lasted until that November, with filming locations including London, Los Angeles, Tbilisi, and Thailand.
F9 was originally scheduled for a worldwide release by Universal Pictures in April 2020, but was delayed several times, first due to the release of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) and planned release of No Time to Die (2021), and then the COVID-19 pandemic. It premiered in South Korea and was released internationally on May 19, 2021, and in the United States on June 25. The film received mixed reviews with praise for the stunts and Lin's direction, but criticism for its unrealistic action sequences and formulaic script. It has grossed over $621 million worldwide as of July 2021, making it the third-highest-grossing film of 2021, the highest-grossing American film of 2021, and the highest grossing English-language film of 2021. Two sequels are in development.
In 1989, Jack Toretto participates in a race, with his sons Dominic and Jakob in his pit crew. Dom argues with rival racer Kenny Linder about his dirty tactics. As the race resumes, Linder's car clips Jack's bumper and causes the car to hit a wall and explode, killing him. After the crash, Dom is arrested after nearly beating Linder to death. While serving his sentence, he recalls that Jakob had worked on Jack's car the day he died, and concludes that Jakob killed their father. Upon release, Dom confronts and challenges Jakob to a race, forcing him to leave town when he loses.
In the present, two years after the confrontation against cyberterrorist Cipher,[N 1] Dom is retired, raising his son Brian with his wife, Letty Ortiz. Roman Pearce, Tej Parker, and Ramsey arrive with news of Mr. Nobody capturing Cipher, with his plane subsequently being attacked by rogue agents and crashing in Montequinto, a fictional location in Central America. Dom agrees to help them after realizing Jakob is involved. Searching the plane, they find part of a device named Aries, which can hack into any computer-controlled weapons system. The team is then ambushed by a private army led by Jakob, who steals the device. The team rendezvous with Michael Stasiak en route to their safe house. Dom's sister Mia arrives to help, and Dom reluctantly allows her to join them, and leaving their kids for protection with Brian. The team learns that Han Lue is connected to Aries, and Letty and Mia go to Tokyo to investigate.
Meanwhile, Jakob meets with Otto, his associate. Cipher, after failing to sway Jakob, tells him the other half of Aries is in Edinburgh. Dom meets his father's former mechanic, Buddy, who took Jakob in after his exile, and learns that Jakob is in London. Letty and Mia find Han, still alive, along with his ward, Elle. Roman and Tej recruit Sean Boswell, Twinkie, and Earl Hu, who have been working on a "rocket car" at a German air base. In London, Dom meets Queenie Shaw, who gives him Jakob's location. Dom confronts Otto and Jakob, who tells Dom to leave. Otto has Dom arrested, but Leysa, an old friend of Dom, rescues him.
Tej, Roman, and Ramsey join Dom in Edinburgh, where Jakob is using an electromagnet to steal the second Aries device. Tej and Roman find the truck containing the electromagnet; as they fight Otto's men, Ramsey commandeers the truck to chase after Otto. Dom intercepts Jakob, and the two fight throughout the city. Before Otto can extract Jakob, Ramsey runs his car off the road and uses the electromagnet to capture Jakob.
Otto recruits Cipher. At the safe house, Han reveals that he was assigned to protect Elle and Aries, as Elle's DNA is its final component. When one of Mr. Nobody's agents, later revealed to be Jakob, went rogue, they used Deckard Shaw to fake Han's death[N 2] and protect Elle. Otto attacks the safe house and frees Jakob, who reveals that Jack, wanting to escape his debts, instructed Jakob to tamper with his car so he could intentionally throw the race. The plan failed due to Linder's interference. Jakob and Otto kidnap Elle and take the second Aries device.
Otto launches a satellite into orbit, while Jakob has Elle activate Aries. They begin uploading Aries to the satellite, moving throughout Tbilisi in an armored truck. Dom, Letty, Mia, Ramsey, and Han give chase to stop the upload. As Mia and Han try to breach the truck, Otto betrays Jakob, throwing him off the truck. Dom and Mia save Jakob, and he helps Dom access the truck. Using the rocket car, Roman and Tej enter orbit and destroy the satellite, stopping the upload. Cipher, remotely flying a jet, bombs the truck, killing Otto, in an attempt to kill Dom. Dom uses the ricocheting truck to destroy Cipher's plane. Cipher escapes. Dom and Mia reconcile with Jakob, and Dom allows him to escape in his car. Roman and Tej reach the International Space Station and are safely returned to Earth.
The team celebrates their success with a barbecue at Dom's house. While preparing to say grace, Brian O'Conner arrives in his car. In a mid-credits scene, Deckard is surprised when Han arrives at his door.
- Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto, a former criminal and professional street racer who has retired and settled down with his wife, Letty, and his son, Brian Marcos. Diesel's son Vincent Sinclair portrays a young Dominic, while Vinnie Bennett portrays a teenage Dominic.
- Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz, Dom's wife, and a former criminal and professional street racer. Azia Dinea Hale portrays a young Letty.
- Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce, an ex-habitual offender and a member of Dom's team.
- Chris "Ludacris" Bridges as Tej Parker, a mechanic from Miami and a member of Dom's team.
- John Cena as Jakob Toretto, Dom and Mia's brother who is working as a master thief, assassin, and a high-performance driver. Finn Cole portrays a young Jakob.
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey, a British computer hacktivist and a member of Dom's team.
- Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto, Dom and Jakob's sister and a former member of his team who has settled down with her partner, Brian O'Conner, and their two children. Sienna Agudong portrays a young Mia.
- Sung Kang as Han Lue, a former member of Dom's team who was believed to have been killed.
- Michael Rooker as Buddy
- Helen Mirren as Magdalene "Queenie" Shaw, the mother of Dom's former enemies Owen and Deckard.
- Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody, an intelligence operative and the leader of a covert ops team.
- Charlize Theron as Cipher, a criminal mastermind and cyberterrorist.
Additionally, Anna Sawai portrays Elle, Thue Ersted Rasmussen portrays Otto, J. D. Pardo portrays Jack Toretto, Jim Parrack portrays Kenny Linder, Martyn Ford portrays Sue, and Cardi B portrays Leysa, a woman who shares history with Dom. Karson Kern and Igby Rigney portray young versions of Vince and Jesse, respectively.
Lucas Black, Don Omar, and Shea Whigham reprise their respective roles as Sean Boswell, Santos, and Agent Michael Stasiak from previous films, while Bow Wow and Jason Tobin also reprise their roles as Twinkie and Earl, respectively, from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006). Cered and Ozuna portray young versions of Leo and Santos, respectively. Gal Gadot appears as Gisele Yashar, via archive footage of Fast & Furious 6 (2013), and Jason Statham reprises his role as Deckard Shaw in an uncredited cameo appearance during the end credits.
In November 2014, Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley told The Hollywood Reporter that there would be at least three more films in the franchise after Furious 7 (2015). In October 2017, Diesel revealed in a Facebook live video that Justin Lin, who directed every film from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift through Fast & Furious 6, would be returning for the ninth and tenth films. In May 2018, Daniel Casey was hired to write the screenplay after Morgan left due to his work on the Hobbs and Shaw spin-off film.
In April 2017, Diesel and Dwayne Johnson stated that they would return. In October 2017, Jordana Brewster, who portrayed Mia Toretto in five of the franchise's films, was set to reprise her role for the ninth and tenth entries. On April 4, 2018, Johnson stated that he was now unsure if would return for the ninth film due to working on the spin-off, and he confirmed in January 2019 that he would not be appearing in the film.
In June 2019, John Cena was officially cast in the film, after an initial announcement from Diesel in April. In July 2019, Finn Cole, Anna Sawai, and Vinnie Bennett joined the cast of the film. That same month, it was announced Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron would reprise their roles, with Michelle Rodriguez also confirmed to return. Michael Rooker and MMA Fighter Francis Ngannou were added to the cast in August. In October 2019, Ozuna and Cardi B joined the cast of the film.
Principal photography began on June 24, 2019, at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England. Filming took place in Los Angeles, Edinburgh, and London, and also took place in Thailand for the first time, with Krabi, Ko Pha-ngan, and Phuket used as locations. Part of the film was also shot in Tbilisi, Georgia. Filming wrapped on November 11, 2019.
In July 2019, stuntman Joe Watts, who doubled for Diesel, sustained a serious head injury during filming at Leavesden Studios. In September 2020, Michelle Rodriguez confirmed the film would be set in outer space as well, which was teased by Diesel.
On July 31, 2020, a mixtape titled Road to F9 was released, and features music inspired by the film. The mixtape was preceded by the lead single "One Shot" by YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Lil Baby.
The official soundtrack was released on June 17, 2021. The score album, composed by Brian Tyler was released on July 2, 2021.
F9 had its world premiere in South Korea on May 19, 2021, and was released in the United States on June 25. The film had five previous planned release dates in the United States between 2019 and 2021; primarily changed due to the releases of Hobbs & Shaw and No Time to Die as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, before moving to its eventual date.
In the United States and Canada, F9 was projected to gross $55–65 million from 4,179 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $30 million on its first day (including $7.1 million from Thursday night previews), both the best such totals of the pandemic period. It went on to debut to $70 million, the highest-grossing weekend since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($72.4 million) in December 2019. Like previous Fast & Furious films, the audience was diverse (with 37% Hispanic, 35% Caucasian, 16% Black and 8% Asian) and skewed to both younger (51% under the age of 25) and male (57%) crowds. In its second weekend, the film fell 67% to $23 million, remaining atop the box office. With Universal's F9, The Boss Baby: Family Business, and The Forever Purge finishing in the top three spots, it marked the first time a single studio accomplished the feat since February 2005. It also crossed $100 million domestically and $400 million internationally in record time for the COVID-19 pandemic era. The film made $11.4 million but was dethroned by newcomer Black Widow the following weekend, then made $7.6 million in its fourth frame, finishing in fourth.
Over its five-day international opening weekend, beginning May 19, F9 was projected to gross $160–180 million from eight countries, including China, Russia, and South Korea. It went on to debut to $163 million, the biggest international opening for a Hollywood film since the pandemic began in March 2020. It also set the pandemic-record for IMAX gross ($14 million), and was the second-biggest May international opening ever, despite playing in 26 fewer countries than the current record holder, Captain America: Civil War. The top markets from the weekend were China ($136 million; the second biggest-ever opening of the franchise in the country), South Korea ($9.9 million), Russia ($8.3 million), Saudi Arabia ($2.67 million), and the UAE ($2.64 million). In its second weekend of international release the film made $30.8 million, including $20.3 million (-85%) in China and $3.7 million (-42%) in South Korea.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 59% of 281 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 5.70/10. The site's critics consensus reads, "F9 sends the franchise hurtling further over the top than ever, but director Justin Lin's knack for preposterous set pieces keeps the action humming." According to Metacritic, which assigned a weighted average of 58 out of 100 based on 53 critics, the film received "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest of the series since the first film. PostTrak reported 80% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 62% saying they would definitely recommend it.
From TheWrap, Alonso Duralde summarized the film by writing that "Physics, gravity, and logic in general have long since been thrown out the window, but the jolts of pleasure keep coming." Matt Patches of Polygon criticized the film for its lack of characterization, saying, "After 20 years of Fast films, Dom is a totally functional blockbuster superhero," and that "F9 counteracts any character development by devoting a grating amount of time to meta-commentary on its own ridiculousness." However, he also praised Lin's direction and the set pieces by writing, "Each location fills Lin’s pockets with the currency of imagination, which he cashes in with absolute delight. Where previous installments built off the glory of The Italian Job, The French Connection, and Mad Max: Fury Road, F9 finds inspiration in the Harlem Globetrotters. The cars catch falling bystanders, flip over enemy off-roaders, and stage intricately choreographed attacks using amped-up magnets."
Variety's Owen Gleiberman found one of the opening scenes to be "the suspenseful high point of the movie," and wrote, "The scene is so over-the-top ludicrous that it's [as] if the filmmakers were saying, 'Let's put what would have been the grand climax of Fast and Furious 4 in the opening half hour.' Good enough. But what do you do for an encore?" Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore said that the feature "probably sounds like more fun than it is," and concluded his generally negative review by saying that "Furious 7 was a lot more fun. And, not that anyone cares, but it was more believable as well." Meanwhile, IndieWire's David Enrlich gave a more positive response with a C+ rating, and praised Lin's direction, writing, "This is a movie that sling-shots so far past self-parody that it loops all the way back to something real." Jesse Hassenger of The A. V. Club also gave the film a C+ rating, remarking that "Lin’s writing just isn’t as fleet as his directing—and his directing in F9 isn’t as fleet as his work on Fast Five or Fast & Furious 6." He added, "The problem is all the runway in between the highlights, even longer than the endless literal concrete of the Fast & Furious 6 climax. After a reinvention as a warmer, more diverse Mission: Impossible (practically name-checked here), the series has wound up more like a mid-period James Bond movie in its channel-surfing bloat."
F9 will be followed by a tenth installment. In October 2020, it was revealed that the series will conclude with a tenth and an eleventh installment, with Lin set to direct and the cast set to return for both.
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