Latest ‘Fast and Furious’ flick spins its wheels

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This week’s Daily Sentinel movie review is a bit of a film-going experiment. I have never seen any of the main “Fast and Furious” movies before, but that did not stop me from watching and now reviewing the ninth installment, “F9: The Fast Saga.”

Going into the movie blind, it’s clear that the filmmakers rely a lot on longtime fans being invested in the franchise. It’s also easy to see what fans like about these movies, while at the same time wondering what all of the fuss is about.

“F9: The Fast Saga” is all sound and fury signifying nothing. The film is playing in local movie theaters.

In this new installment, Dom Toretto and his crew of expert drivers are called in to help save the world from the latest dangerous super-weapon. Only this time, the weapon is in the hands of Dom’s long-lost brother, Jakob, so it’s everybody versus Jakob in a bunch of action scenes and car chases.

For all of the hype about the “Fast and Furious” franchise, not a lot of the things people praise was on display in “F9”. This was a bunch of stock characters delivering lazy dialogue and riding entirely on their laurels. Moviegoers are expected to already know and love these characters, and that sense of investment is supposed to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

“F9” does not seem to find anything particularly engaging to do with its characters. They barely interact more than to just trade some tired jokes and forced banter.

And the characters stick to their set lanes. The lead characters only interact with other lead characters, while the sidekicks stay in their own kids’ table storylines.

Everyone is also incredibly melodramatic, to the point of being corny. Every single line is uttered with the utmost seriousness, even when there are some really dumb lines. The movie was hard to take either seriously or comically.

One would then hope that the action makes up for the lack of real character depth. There sure is a lot of action, but most of it falls as flat as the melodrama. “F9” does not contain anything particularly exciting or noteworthy in its action scenes. They’re just big movie action scenes. If you’ve seen action scenes like this before, you’re not going to get anything new out of “F9.”

With dull characters and storytelling, and some run-of-the-mill action scenes, I just don’t think “F9: The Fast Saga” is worth all of the hype this franchise gets. Longtime fans of the series may enjoy it more than this newbie.

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