Director: Justin Lin
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson
Release Date: September 21, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) thought he’d left his outlaw life in the rear-view mirror, but not even he can outrun the past. When his forsaken brother Jakob (John Cena, Bumblebee) unexpectedly resurfaces as an elite assassin, the crew comes back together to help Dom confront the sins of his own past and stop a world-shattering plot. Franchise veteran Justin Lin returns to the director’s seat for F9 and delivers this supercharged version of the hit film. From extended action to spectacular scenes that weren’t shown in theaters, F9: The Director’s Cut explodes with additional content that can only be experienced on home entertainment!
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘F9: The Fast Saga’ rejoins Dom and Letty who have left the old life behind to concentrate on family life when they are pulled back in following the escape of Cipher from Mr. Nobody’s plane during an orchestrated crash. After hesitantly agreeing to join their old team one more time, Dom soon discovers that his brother Jakob is the one responsible whose appearance after so many years causes Dom to reflect on his earlier days and the tragic chain of events that caused a rift between them. Now Dom will have to decide if his brother deserves a chance at redemption or is merely another villain he needs to stop. Unfortunately for the current family, the reemergence of Jakob is only the first of many twists, revelations and unexpected events to come.
Directed by franchise regular Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast Five) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote with Daniel Casey (Kin) from a story by Lin, Casey and Alfredo Botello, Lin does a great job back at the helm for ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ guiding along the action-packed insanity and excitement with style and ease. The film also features a cast comprised of numerous returning individuals and a few newcomers to the franchise and includes Vin Diesel (Bloodshot), Michelle Rodriguez (Resident Evil), Tyrese Gibson (Transformers), Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (Crash), John Cena (The Suicide Squad), Nathalie Emmanuel (TV’s Game of Thrones), Jordana Brewster (TV’s Lethal Weapon), Sung Kang (TV’s Lisey’s Story), Helen Mirren (Trumbo), Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight) and Charlize Theron (Bombshell) along with more, the majority each offering capable if not at least fitting performances in their respective roles for the most part.
‘F9: The Fast Saga’ serves up another explosive and wildly enjoyable high octane ride with your favorite extended family. Bringing in some notable new characters as well as some fan favorites being brought back into the mix, while also going back to the earlier days of Dom’s life and offering some insight into events mentioned in previous entries as well as delving into the rift between Dom and his long forsaken brother Jakob. Franchise favorite Justin Lin who helmed Tokyo Drift and the following three films returns to the director’s chair and quickly falls back into the over the top insanity and logic-defying action that he initially took to the next level in some of the previous installments he directed, while also doing his best to right some wrongs from the last couple of entries. It does take things to new levels of ridiculous and occasionally finds itself drifting into the realm of silly, but for fans of the franchise we know this is only par for the course and every time we think it can’t get more over the top or ridiculous, the series always quickly proves us wrong; and ‘F9’ is certainly no exception to that rule. It isn’t the best entry in the long-running franchise, but it delivers everything we have come to love and enjoy about the series and it should have fans quite excited for the final two films to come in the saga.
The home entertainment releases of ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ offer both the Theatrical Version and the Director’s Cut of the film (and both editions are back to being included on the disc this time around after the Digital only offering of the extended version for ‘The Fate of the Furious’). As far as the differences between the Theatrical and Director’s Cuts of ‘F9’ are concerned, the Director’s Cut includes approximately seven minutes of new footage reintegrated into the film. It features a number of enjoyable sequences we didn’t see previously, such as the original introduction of Mia earlier in the film who arrives at Dom’s home to take care of this child before he heads out to join the team, along with an amusing scene involving Roman discovering a hidden stash of cash in Mr. Nobody’s hideout, and a sequence that joins Mia and Letty in Japan as they visit Han’s old garage in search of clues, plus some extended moments in the flashback sequences, another brief Cardi B. scene and more. It’s no secret that many of the Fast and Furious Extended cuts don’t always offer much in the way of worthwhile additional content, although ‘F9’ is notably better than many of the previous films extended offerings and diehard fans of the franchise should enjoy many of the new additions within, even if they don’t make a drastic different to the film as a whole.
Overall, ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ is another exciting, splendidly ridiculous and incredibly fun adventure with Dom and his family that fans definitely won’t want to miss out on. Serving up a collection of tense, action-packed and logic-defying sequences that once again take things to new levels of crazy and ridiculous, while also exploring some of the events and moments that led Dom to become the character we know and love. ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ is definitely recommended for fans of the long-running franchise who are sure to find a whole lot to love about the new entry. While it may not be the best installment in the entire saga thus far, it certainly isn’t the worst either and the return of some beloved characters in addition to the wildly enjoyable action sequences throughout easily make this one a definite must see for anyone who’s been following the franchise. At the absolute least, it should prove well worth the cost of a rental for those who are hesitant to spend the money on a blind purchase of the Blu-ray release.
The Blu-ray release of ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio on both the Theatrical Version and Director’s Cut . The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a smooth, sharp and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no unexpected troubles or issues to be uncovered along the way, even retaining the grain and noise of its source, particularly in the flashback sequences. It holds up beautifully even during the various fast moving and heavily populated sequences throughout and never allows anything onscreen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should thrill fans as well as first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack is nothing short of outstanding and delivers a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly embraces all seven available channels in order to send a barrage of vehicles, explosions, gunshots and debris, plus music and a whole lot more repeatedly whipping throughout the various speakers with force and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a phenomenal Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers flawlessly on all fronts and repeatedly contributes a lot of extra fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ includes a solid collection of bonus content that fans of the series should enjoy. Included on the release are both the Theatrical Version and Director’s Cut of the film, plus an ‘Audio Commentary with Producer/Co-writer/Director Justin Lin’ on both cuts. We are also treated to an amusing ‘Gag Reel’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) and the multi-part Behind the Scenes Documentary ‘F9: All In’ (running approximately 45 minutes altogether) which features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The release also features a handful of Behind the Scenes Featurettes including ‘Practically Fast’ (approximately 8 minutes), ‘Shifting Priorities’ (4 minutes), ‘Justice For Han’ (3 minutes) ‘A Day on Set with Justin Lin’ (10 minutes) and ‘John Cena: Supercar Superfan’ (4 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
‘F9: The Fast Saga’ Arrives Home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD on September 21, 2021 & is Now Available to Own on Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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