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The ‘F9’ Exit Survey

Han returned. The family went to space. Magnets were involved.

Universal/Ringer illustration

After a painful amount of postponements in 2020, cinema finally returned on Friday. By that we mean the ninth Fast & Furious film, F9, hit theaters. Was the film worth the wait? Was justice served for Han? How can the franchise top itself from here? It’s time to answer those questions. As Dominic Toretto would say: Let’s ride.


1. What is your tweet-length review of F9?

Miles Surrey:

Shea Serrano: If they make 100 Fast and Furious movies I’m gonna go watch 100 Fast and Furious movies.

David Lara:

Andrew Gruttadaro: Anything is possible. No, man, I’m serious. Like… anything.

John Gonzalez: To borrow from the poet Tej: “How in the hell are you not dead?”

2. What was the best moment of the film?

Gonzalez: I’m tempted to say all of it, but I’ll narrow it down. Options include: rope-bridge car jump, Mr. Nobody’s secret hideout, John Cena as Dom’s brother, the kid from Animal Kingdom as young Dom’s young brother, Young Fast Flashbacks, Han being alive, the way Helen Mirren says “Domonic Tor-et-oh,” Sean Boswell returning as a rocket propulsion expert who doubles as a pilot, magnet cars, the Edinburgh zipline Frogger chase, using walkie talkies while in high pursuit of next-gen tech, and of course, Tej and Roman in space. You know what? My initial instincts were right. Let’s go with all of it.

Surrey: Roman and Tej going to outer space in a Pontiac Fiero and then basically knocking on the door of the International Space Station. The type of joy this produced that will be almost impossible for another movie to replicate.

Gruttadaro: The sheer magnitude of destruction the gang causes with magnet technology over the course of this movie. (More a collection of moments than one moment because, yes, there are multiple magnet-focused scenes in this movie.) Everyone apparently went to magnet school in between Fate of the Furious and F9, and they put that knowledge to use by decimating two cities on two different continents, causing an untold number of civilian casualties.

Lara: Definitely Roman getting all meta and speculating that everyone might be invincible gods. So much happens and yet everyone is completely OK by the cookout.

Serrano: The best moment of F9 was that I got to watch it in an actual movie theater.

3. What was your least favorite part of the movie?

Surrey: John Cena has proven himself to be a sneaky good comedic presence (Trainwreck, Blockers), so having him scowl for an entire movie next to Vin Diesel did not play to his strengths. Trying to out-frown Dom is like a normal person going up against Kevin Durant in basketball: you’re just going to embarrass yourself and won’t hear the end of it on Twitter.

Serrano: John Cena trying to be both The Rock and Jason Statham was a swing and a miss. He can’t do what those guys do.

Lara: The amount of times Dom was forced to catch a human with his car. Like, we get it bro, you can make clutch car-catches look easy.

Gruttadaro: At this point, basically every character from this franchise has returned except Suki from 2 Fast 2 Furious. BRING BACK SUKI.

Gonzalez: What kind of question is this and who authorized it?

4. What is the most unbelievable part of the movie?

Gruttadaro: The notion that Vin Diesel and John Cena look alike.

Gonzalez: Has anyone else seen this?

Surrey: That Dom and his crew can just casually have a backyard barbeque after setting off international incidents that absolutely killed hundreds of innocent bystanders. (To be fair, the Avengers do this all the time too.)

Lara: Letty and Mia not finishing the ramen they ordered in Tokyo! Totally disrespectful to the restaurant and Han’s love for eating. Seriously, y’all ain’t gonna finish that???

Serrano: I have no answer for this question.

5. Was justice served for Han?

Surrey: I’m still trying to figure out how he survived that explosion, which looked like a magic trick from the cutting room floor of the Now You See Me movies. But I am glad that Han’s back for good—and back to snacking.

Gonzalez: He’s back. That’s what matters most. I’m not sure if that qualifies as justice for him, but it definitely works out in our favor as fans.

Gruttadaro: On the one hand, he’s not dead so, cool! On the other hand, his shocking resurrection is overshadowed by magnets and ziplines and successful space missions in a Pontiac Fiero—it’s somehow, like, eighth on the list of Absolutely Absurd Things That Happen in F9. Also, the fact that Han’s still alive doesn’t really justify the crew bringing in Deckard Shaw in Fate, right? Because when they did that they still fully thought Han was dead. TLDR: We’ve still got some justice to be served.

Lara: I don’t think so because we didn’t get any confrontations with Shaw. That post-credits scene where Han ends up on Shaw’s doorstep better be previewing a full standalone spinoff.

Serrano: Justice for Han will not fully be served until he gets to put Deckard Shaw in the dirt. In the meantime, though, I am very happy that he’s back. He’s the A1 coolest character in the entire franchise.

6. Who makes the most random cameo in F9?

Surrey: Did Cardi B really show up for a few seconds or was that a hallucination?

Serrano: Cardi B showing up made me very happy. I saw F9 with my dad and her cameo was the one time where I elbowed my dad and excitedly gestured at the screen.

Gonzalez: I always love a Cardi cameo. Though, they missed an opportunity to have her say, “Flexin’ on bitches as hard as I can, eating halal, driving the Lam’.”

Lara: Easily UFC fighter Francis Ngannou—I didn’t know that cameo was coming. He now joins the elite company of Ronda Rousey and Gina Carano, other UFC fighters who have lost fights to Fast characters.

Gruttadaro: It’s absolutely amazing—and so incredibly unnecessary—that Shea Whigham’s Stasiak is in this movie for five seconds.

7. Is Dominic Toretto actually an elite family man?

Surrey: I bow at the altar of Dom, but: He made #Family his entire brand and then turned his back on his brother while clearly ignoring the signs that his father wasn’t the saintly figure he imagined him to be. Jakob was honestly done dirty. Dom is my guy, but he needs his Corona privileges revoked for a month.

Gruttadaro: I’m less concerned about the fact that Dom ostracized his brother—seems like a pretty complicated situation to me—and much more concerned that he and Letty seem to be suggesting that constantly almost dying is much more “them” than, ya know, raising their son in a safe, nurturing environment.

Gonzalez: This is a long overdue question. Let’s review: Dom has previously: left Letty and Mia and fled L.A. to save his ass and avoid the authorities; left Letty (and Han and the rest of the gang) behind in the Dominican Republic, also to flee the authorities; left Mia and Brian to fend for themselves after they broke him out of prison (presumably so they could all flee the authorities); completely abandoned Elena, who was evidently pregnant with his kid, upon finding out that Letty—whom he had previously abandoned to flee the authorities—was still alive; kinda/sorta made peace with Deckard Shaw, who at the time everyone believed had killed Han; and completely forgot about Mia during the proceedings in Fate. He also disowned the brother none of us knew about. Oh, and he had the following cold-blooded exchange with Roman in F9 after initially refusing to go on another mission:

Roman: “This is Cipher, the woman who killed the mother of your child.”

Dom: “Things change.”

But—he also makes the first person who takes food off the table during family dinners say grace. So yeah, it’s a push.

Serrano: He isn’t an elite family man in the traditional sense, but he’s an elite family man in the furious sense, which, I would argue, is far more impressive.

Lara: Dominic Toretto is all four heads of the Mount Rushmore of family men. He is the biggest family man alive.

8. Finish the sentence: In F9, Charlize Theron ______.

Lara: … got the easiest paycheck of her life.

Gonzalez: … rocks a bowl cut similar to the one I had in the sixth grade. Hers is better, though.

Surrey: … got a new (read: still bad) haircut and wore red leather pants and spent the entire movie in an airport hanger and if we’re being honest, it’s still working for me.

Gruttadaro: … is hilariously confined to an airplane hangar FOR THE WHOLE MOVIE. Of all the villains in Fast, Cipher definitely does the least walking.

Serrano: … rules. I wish she was in every movie. And I don’t just mean every movie in the Fast universe. I mean literally every movie.

9. They went to space. Are you satisfied now? And where should they go next?

Surrey: [Pounds on table] DINOSAURS! DINOSAURS! DINOSAURS!

Serrano: I need Dominic Toretto riding a NOS-powered velociraptor.

Lara: I’m always satisfied with family. Wherever they go, be it back to the past to stop dinosaurs or to the moon with all the billionaires, I’ll be there with them, living my life a quarter mile at a time.

Gruttadaro: After going up, the only direction to go now is down. Let’s drill to the center of the motherfucking Earth and complete the trilogy of Movies That Find an Eden in Earth’s Core (Aquaman, Godzilla vs. Kong).

Gonzalez: I have never not been satisfied with this franchise. It’s the all-you-can-eat buffet of sick set pieces and scenery-chewing actors. As for where they’ll end up next, I’m not sure—but I can’t wait to find out while Roman screams, “This is crazy!”