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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Justin Lin
Cast:
Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena
Writing Credits:
Justin Lin, Daniel Casey

Synopsis:
Dom and the crew must take on an international terrorist who turns out to be Dom and Mia's estranged brother.

Box Office:
Budget:
$200 million.
Opening Weekend:
$70,043,165 on 4179 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$172,929,475.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13/NR.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 7.1
English DVS (Theatrical Only)
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 143 min. (Theatrical)
150 min. (Director’s Cut)
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 9/21/2021

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and Director’s Cuts
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Justin Lin
• “All In” Featurette
• “Practically Fast” Featurette
• “Shifting Priorities” Featurette
• “Justice for Han” Featurette
• “A Day on the Set” Featurette
• “Supercar Superfan” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


F9: The Fast Saga [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 19, 2021)

After 2017’s Fate of the Furious became the eighth film in the Fast & the Furious franchise, a ninth entry intended to hit screens in spring 2020. Then COVID-19 happened and the release got delayed.

F9: The Fast Saga finally made it to multiplexes in June 2021, where it became the biggest hit of the post-COVID era to that point. This didn’t last long, as Black Widow came out two weeks later and topped it, but at least F9 gave theaters a shot in the arm.

Indeed, US returns seemed pretty strong given the continued impact of the pandemic. Sure, F9 earned about half of what Furious 7 - the series’ biggest hit – nabbed in 2015, but F9’s $173 million US compared surprisingly well to Fate’s $226 million since the latter didn’t come out in the middle of a freaking pandemic.

Special operative “Mr. Nobody” (Kurt Russell) apprehends cyberterrorist Cipher (Charlize Theron). However, when rogue agents down Nobody’s plane in Central America, the team run by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) kicks into action to investigate.

When they inspect the aircraft, they learn of a device called “Ares” that can hack any computer system. Aided by Dom’s estranged brother Jakob (John Cena), a team bankrolled by wealthy Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) attempts to find all the pieces and activate this deadly gizmo, while Dom and company intend to stop them.

That synopsis both offers a radical simplification of F9’s plot and also makes the movie sound substantially more coherent than it is. At the film’s heart, it really does exist as a basic form of Bond flick: megalomaniacal rich dude tries to execute deadly, dastardly plan.

But F9 muddies the narrative waters to a stunning degree, as it throws in more subplots and complications that I thought possible for a single 143-minute movie. Even with a story as simple as what I describe, F9 tosses out so many characters and side-beats that I often found myself challenged to define what the movie was about at its core.

Again, the flick’s heart really does remain simple, but nine movies into the franchise, I guess those involved feel they can’t just offer a straightforward A to B narrative – and to some degree, I get why. Over those nine films, the Fast universe offered an ever-expanding array of characters.

While F9 doesn’t include all of them – not by a long shot – it still features enough participants that the screen gets crowded. The movie needs to “service” all of them to some degree, and that eats up running time.

It also makes the end result a confusing mess, especially because it sends the various participants on their own not-well-defined missions. F9 bops around from one setting to another with alacrity and loses the viewer too often along the way.

This discussion ignores another substantial aspect of F9: flashbacks to Dom and Jakob as kids. Whereas a tighter movie would simply sum up their estrangement in a short expository scene, F9 indulges in seemingly endless flashbacks to young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) and young Jakob (Finn Cole).

Do these explain why the brothers became enemies? Sure. Do we need as much of them as we get? Nope, and they become a drag on an already muddled story.

I find it nearly impossible to care about this rift, especially because it seems so out of nowhere. We got eight Fast movies and no one ever mentioned Dom had a brother until now? Seriously?

The Fast movies long ago decided on “family” as a unifying theme, and with each new flick, they stretch the situations to suit that concept. Where do they go now – another never-mentioned sibling? A second cousin? An uncle twice removed?

The “family” notion just never got much traction anyway, mainly because it always felt so contrived. The Fast movies work best when they just indulge in wild stunts and action, not when the filmmakers entertain their delusions of dramatic impact.

Unfortunately, F9 doesn’t even work in terms of the franchise’s bread and butter, as even the attempted thrills feel less than winning. Director Justin Lin joined the series with 2006’s much-maligned Tokyo Drift, and he stayed behind the camera through 2009’s Fast & Furious, 2011’s Fast Five and 2013’s Fast & Furious 6.

Lin ceded the reins to James Wan for 2015’s Furious 7 so he could make 2016’s Star Trek Beyond instead. That production also meant F. Gary Gray took on Fate of the Furious.

Lin returns for F9, and I wish I could welcome him back, but since I thought his four Fast flicks seemed wholly forgettable, I can’t. Lin’s Fast efforts seemed fairly blah, as did Gray’s, whereas Wan’s actually brought fun to the franchise.

With F9, Lin returns to the mediocrity of his earlier entries, though darned if he doesn’t try his best to make this flick so BIG that we won’t notice. With action that rarely stops – and mainly pauses for those young Dom/Jakob flashbacks – we get tons of wild antics thrown our way.

Unfortunately, the movie’s desire to outdo prior efforts means we find ourselves stuck with more and more ludicrous events. Even for a franchise that left the bounds of reality behind many moons ago, F9 turns ridiculous.

At one point, F9 almost recognizes its implausibility and winks at us. Roman (Tyrese Gibson) reflects on how the main protagonists deal with violent mayhem all the time yet never suffer a scratch.

Unfortunately, the movie ultimately just uses this moment of self-awareness for laughs at first and then more cheap sentiment later. Just when it looks like we’ll get some real recognition of the franchise’s cartoony orientation, it takes itself seriously again.

Honestly, the more I watched F9, the more put off I became by the supposed heroes’ wanton disregard for human life. While the series’ mainstays may escape unharmed, their actions clearly would kill hundreds – maybe even thousands – of innocent bystanders along the way.

That gets to the conundrum of the Fast flicks. While they want to exist in the real world to convey some kind of meaningful emotion, they also attempt to live in a place where insane levels of destruction happen but apparently no one ever gets hurt.

I get that we need to roll with this sentiment to enjoy bombastic action flicks. While 2016’s Batman v. Superman showed the real world repercussions of this sort of violence, most flicks of this sort just hope we’ll not think about the ramifications.

And usually we don’t, but this seems more and more difficult as I watch F9 because the so-called heroes just appear so utterly unconcerned with how their behavior impacts others. At least superhero movies usually toss in the occasional shot of a character who rescues an imperiled citizen, whereas in F9, you start to think Dom and company want to kill bystanders.

That said, if I found actual entertainment value in F9, I’d probably focus less on this subject. However, the movie offers little more than a collection of ridiculous action scenes linked by desperate, unconvincing attempts at character melodrama. It might not be the worst Fast flick – but then again, maybe it is.

Footnote: an added scene appears during the end credits. Once it finishes, nothing else pops up later.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

F9: The Fast Saga appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the movie came with a terrific visual presentation.

At all times, definition looked great. The film showed solid delineation, with nary a soft spot to be found.

I witnessed no shimmering or jagged edges, and edge haloes failed to appear. Of course, print flaws also didn’t occur, so this was a clean image – with some unusual exceptions.

Apparently shot on Super35 film, flashbacks showed a nice layer of grain. Also, these segments came with a few small marks, which I suspect acted as an intentional choice to give the flashbacks an “aged” feel.

In terms of colors, F9 emphasized the usual amber/orange and teal, though flashbacks emphasized a sepia tint. While predictable, the hues seemed well-rendered.

Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots offered nice smoothness and clarity. Everything about the image worked.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of F9 presented an exciting experience. One would anticipate a high-octane blast from a movie like this, and that’s what the mix delivered.

The soundfield boasted a lot of activity and used the channels well. Cars, vehicles and various forms of mayhem came from logical spots all around the room and meshed in a smooth manner. All the speakers became active partners to turn this into a vibrant, engrossing track.

Audio quality also seemed strong. Music was lively and full, and speech appeared natural and concise.

Effects dominated and appeared solid. Those elements came across as accurate and dynamic, with fine low-end response as well. I felt pleased with this sizzling soundtrack.

The disc includes both the movie’s theatrical version (2:22:52) as well as a Director’s Cut (2:29:55). The extra seven minutes provides added character beats for the most part, though we get some added action toward the end. Nothing here feels especially substantial, but fans will likely enjoy the handful of extra shots.

We can view either edition of the film with an audio commentary from co-writer/director Justin Lin. He provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters and connections to the rest of the franchise, sets and locations, vehicles and stunts, cast and performances, effects, changes for the extended cut, and related domains.

Overall, Lin makes this a good chat, as he covers aspects of the film well. He also appears unusually frank about parts of the other movies that didn’t work for him.

Lin directed the third through sixth Fast films but he sat out entries seven and eight. Lin discusses choices made for those movies that didn’t sit well with him and seems surprisingly willing to do so.

No, Lin doesn’t dish dirt and get into details, but given how often commentaries devolve into little more than bland happy talk, his honesty becomes refreshing. I also like some of the fun insights such as the reason the movie features a Pontiac Fiero. We get a nice view of F9 in this solid track.

Note that you can play the commentary alongside either cut of the film. Both provide the same commentary – the track with the theatrical version simply edits out the longer chat. A Gag Reel runs three minutes, 34 seconds and shows the standard assortment of goofs and giggles. Do with that what you will, though I do find it amusing to watch Diesel struggle to get inside a very low-to-the-ground car.

A slew of featurettes follow, and All In breaks into nine segments. These span a total of 45 minutes, 23 seconds and include notes from Lin, 2nd unit director/supervising stunt coordinator JJ Perry, producer Samantha Vincent, writers Alfredo Botello and Daniel Casey, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Spiro Razatos, 2nd unit stunt coordinator Andy Gill, picture vehicle coordinator Dennis McCarthy, picture vehicle supervisor Alex King, picture vehicle captain Brad Beavan, stunt coordinator Justin Yu, and actors Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kim, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Martyn Ford, Anna Sawai, Helen Mirren, Ozuna, Francis Ngannou, Don Omar, Lucas Black, Jason Tobin, and Shad Moss.

We learn about story/characters, cast and performances, stunts and action, sets and locations, and vehicles. With 45 minutes at its disposal, I hoped “All In” would give us a reasonably deep look at the production, and we do get some good information.

However, praise/happy talk dominate. Those factors make “All In” fluffy and much more superficial than it should be.

Practically Fast goes for seven minutes, 52 seconds and involves Lin, Razatos, Kang, Gill, Rodriguez, Diesel, McCarthy, Gibson, Bridges, action sequencer Josh Henson and stunt double Jalil Jay Lynch.

“Fast” examines the practical stunts that involved cars. Like “All In”, it mixes useful notes with puffy hyperbole.

With Shifting Priorities, we get a three-minute, 52-second reel that features Lin, Diesel, Rodriguez, and actors Finn Cole, JD Pardo, and Vinnie Bennett.

This program looks at the Toretto flashbacks. It turns into another piece without a lot of depth.

Justice for Han lasts three minutes, 37 seconds and boasts notes from Lin, Kang, Rodriguez, Diesel, Bridges, Gibson and Vincent. We learn how happy everyone is to see Han return in this puff piece.

Next comes A Day on the Set, 10-minute piece that includes Lin, Diesel, Bridges, Botello, Kang, Gibson, Rodriguez and Brewster.

“Set” starts with the impression that we’ll follow Lin through a typical day on the shoot, but after a promising start, it devolves into more praise. Don’t expect much from it.

Finally, Supercar Superfan fills four minutes, 36 seconds with Cena. He shows us a bunch of the movie’s cars in this largely insubstantial program.

The disc opens with ads for Fast & Furious: Spy Racers and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. No trailer for F9 appears here.

20 years into the franchise and F9: The Fast Saga runs on fumes. With a muddled, confused plot, it relies on absurd action to entertain, but it becomes too idiotic and ridiculous to succeed. The Blu-ray brings terrific picture and audio with a large but too often superficial set of supplements. F9 becomes a mediocre entry in the series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main