August 16, 2021

Vin Diesel has finally crossed the line!

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Tinashe Kusema

“Vin Diesel has finally done it”

“The guy has finally crossed the line, and now we are in uncharted waters”

The aforementioned lines are not lines from a movie, but the first things I said to myself upon watching and rewatching the hugely anticipated and somewhat anti-climactic ‘F9’ movie release.

While I have no reason to complain about two guys driving a huge safe around town and evading the police, Diesel’s Dominic Toretto jumping out of a moving car to save his falling girlfriend, I must draw the line somewhere.

That line was crossed when strapped on a rocket to a car and went off to space!

I wish I had a better reason than ‘that is a bit much’, but my Integrated Science education does not permit me to come up with a more scholarly answer.

The fact I chose the word “scholarly’ instead of “educated’ should tell you more than you need to know about my limited knowledge in aerodynamics and space science.

Also, I place all the blame on Vin Diesel’s feet because, who are we kidding, it’s his franchise.

The buck stops with the 54-year-old actor.

The whole cast knows

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson feigns ignorance, but probably knows it.

And, everyone knows it!

Personally, I am even willing to overlook the ridiculousness of the ‘space stunt’, but the one thing I cannot ignore is how the franchise seems to be ignoring basic storytelling for outrageous stunts more and more.

It looks like, over the past couple of instalments, the stunts seem to be getting more and more extravagant at the expanse of actually telling a story.

How else would explain Han’s return, or buy into the flimsy explanation given?

How else are we expected to ignore or justify Charlize Theron’s return as Cypher, or how Helen Mirren seems to pop up whenever she wants?

How do you get chummy with the mother of two guys (Deckard and Owen Shaw) who have tried to kill you on more than one occasion?

But, I digress!

“F9” is rumoured to be the penultimate instalment in the Fast and Furious Franchise, and sees Dom (Diesel) confronted by two ghosts from his past.

On one hand is the brother Jakob (John Cena) he blamed for his father’s death and disowned, while one the other is Cypher (Theron) who kidnapped his son and tried to force him to do her bidding.

When Mr Nobody (Kurt Russel) calls on the team to help him retrieve a special device, only known as Ares and is a digital key to every network in the world, it set them on a collision course with Jakob, now a mercenary- for-hire, and Cypher who is his prisoner.

The warring factions set off a race to retrieve the device, which consists of two spheres on separate parts of the world, and ignite old lingering wounds and resentment.

The film also has the ingredients of a Fast and Furious movie, which includes pretty girls, fast cars, car chases, stunts and fistfights.

In a word, action!

Tyrese and Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges bring the funny as the comedic duo of Roman Pierce and Tej, while Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey), now a full-member of the team,  holds her own in the same regard.

Cameos come in thick and fast, with the likes of Lucas Black (Sean Boswell) and Bow Wow (Twinkie) reprise their roles from the 2006 movie The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Mirren and Jordana Brewster also pop up as Mama Shaw and Mia Toretto, while Sung Kang makes ‘surprising’ return as Han Lue.

It is hardly a surprise given that it was revealed in the trailer, and there lies the problem.

I love that the franchise is not itself way too serious, but enough is enough.

Han being brought back is nothing more than pandering to the fan, and ruins the shock and awe of his death.

It doesn’t even address or solve the fact that he died way before his actual introduction into the team and franchise.

Yes, I am talking about the timeline dilemma in the post credit scene in ‘The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift’, and we had all but forgotten and forgave them for that.

While Cena does a great job as Jakob Toretto, it is all undone by his inevitable and highly misplaced face turn (to use a wrestling turn).

One of the biggest problems with this franchise, and many other movies not under the Marvel banner, is the almost forgettable villains.

Jakob and Cypher, despite Theron’s stellar acting and the potential of the character, do not solve that problem.

With one movie to go, allegedly, I hope Vin Diesel and his team either justify her continued presence or at the very least solve the villain problem.

While either one would work, I would prefer both.

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