In the ninth Fast & Furious movie, they fly a car in space. They really do it.
Roman and Tej track down Sean Boswell, Twinkie, and Earl—three characters from Tokyo Drift who you may not even remember—at a test facility in Germany, where they’re working on installing rockets onto a Pontiac Fiero. It’s unclear whether this is a job sanctioned by anyone—I’d imagine there’s a lot of red tape when it comes to space travel—but no matter: The point is that Roman and Tej need to get to space and these guys can get them there. Next thing you know, Roman and Tej are wearing ancient-looking spacesuits and breaking through the stratosphere. They eventually link up with the International Space Station … by using nitrous oxide.
But that’s not the most ridiculous part of F9. The most ridiculous part isn’t the way every member of the team seems to have a degree in electromagnetism; or how they use magnets to destroy multiple cities and/or kill countless civilians; or the fact that Han’s death is explained by saying he and Mr. Nobody rigged up some sort of illusion à la The Prestige; or Cardi B’s appearance; or how Charlize Theron’s Cipher managed to go from dreadlocks to a bowl cut while in government custody.
No. The most ridiculous part of F9 is the assertion that Vin Diesel and John Cena look alike.
Cena is playing Jakob Toretto, Dom’s younger—100 percent blood—brother. (Because we’re here for other reasons, we can’t spend too much time wondering why the Torettos decided to go with the German spelling of the name, but just know that the reason is definitely because screenwriters think a K is scarier than a C.) The reason we’ve never heard a word about Jakob before F9 is because he was apparently involved in the crash that killed Dom’s father, the accident that Dom talks about in the original Fast and the Furious. It’s a sore subject. And the reason we’re hearing about him now is because, after being banished from East L.A. as a teenager, Jakob [checks notes] went on to become a spy who works with the same kind of international bad guys Dom’s crew has been putting away since Fast Five. Their paths somehow never crossed before—I gotta imagine Jakob and his boys were dying to get their hands on God’s Eye in Furious 7, since it’s as nondescript and threatening as whatever weapon of mass destruction everyone’s chasing in F9—but they’re definitely crossing now.
And everyone’s just, like, “Hmm, yeah. I can actually see that.” Helen Mirren’s character even specifically mentions that their chins look alike!
My entire adult life has been built on the notion that Vin Diesel and John Cena could not be brothers. You might say it’s a foundational belief. And so, in the face of such differing arguments, I must undertake a thorough investigation into the features of these two beefcakes to determine who’s really telling the truth: me, a regular person who somehow gets paid to do this kind of thing, or a bunch of fictional street racers who may or may not be demigods. I’ll break Diesel and Cena’s traits into five important categories and from there decide their relational potential. It’s not exactly a DNA test, but like Sean Boswell attaching thrusters to a Pontiac, it’s the best we got. Let’s ride.
There are drastic color differences here (which wouldn’t be disqualifying on its own), as well as drastic differences in shape, character, and aperture. Vin Diesel’s eyes are pitch-black, a reference to his starring role in The Chronicles of Riddick: Into Pitch Black, while Cena’s are blue. Also, cropping these photos like this really emphasizes which of these guys gets their eyebrows done. Either way, I’m not seeing any relation.
Family Rating: 0 out of 5 Coronas
When researching whether brothers could be uniquely affected by hereditary baldness, I stumbled upon this article on a website for hair loss treatment. Here’s the second sentence in the article: “As a result, there are millions of families whose elder brother sports hair that Russell Brand would be proud of while the younger sibling is a little more Vin Diesel.” So first of all: Yes, even in the bald community, Diesel is the quintessential example of a bald man.
But secondly, we can’t deduce much from the fact that John Cena has a tiny little head of hair and Vin Diesel does not. Hereditary baldness is a game of fate—some sons will pick up the family gene while others don’t. Even the hair loss site invokes the gods in the first line of its article. So maybe Jakob just got lucky while Dom got hit hard with male-pattern baldness in his mid-20s.
Or maybe Dom just shaves his head? Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed a single strand of hair on Dominic Toretto’s entire body—does this guy shave everywhere? When Cipher talked about Choice Theory in The Fate of the Furious, was she talking about Dom’s choice of scorched-earth manscaping? Let’s move on, we’re getting distracted.
Family Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Coronas
This is the one we have to discuss because of Magdalene Shaw’s aforementioned comments and … yeah, I’m really not seeing it. Honestly, this is worse than the eyes or the hair. The chins are maybe the best argument yet for John Cena and Vin Diesel not looking alike.
Was Maggie Shaw being sarcastic? Am I incapable of sensing sarcasm when it’s in a British accent? Am I taking all of this too seriously? (Please don’t answer that.)
Family Rating: 0 out of 5 Coronas
The Tiny Arms
Before we dive in here, I’m gonna need to show you the full version of the above photo of Diesel:
Why, yes, that is Vin Diesel on high-grade stilts at the U.K. premiere of Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. And, no, I do not know why. I guess it’s because he’s Groot (see the T-shirt?), but it’s not like he had to wear stilts during the filming of the movie. He wasn’t even on set for the filming of the movie.
But anyway, back to the arms. Clearly these guys’ arms are not small—parts of their arms are bigger than all of my head, and it looks like John Cena is wearing toy Hulk fists at all times. But whether Vin Diesel and John Cena actually have tiny arms isn’t so much the point here—what matters is the fact that neither of them appear to be capable of wrapping their arms around their own body. Sure, other things may be contributing to that, but the end result is the appearance of tiny arms. And honestly, this is one category that makes a good argument for Diesel and Cena actually being related, so for F9’s sake, let’s not pick it apart.
Family Rating: 5 out of 5 Coronas
The Way a Tank Top Sits on Their Shoulders
First of all, after Vin Diesel sees these two photos next to each other he’s gonna have it written into his contract that John Cena can never be shirtless in a Fast movie. But other than the obvious difference in muscle mass—which I’m waving away by imagining Jakob getting really into the gym post-banishment while Dom softened up from eating too many of Little Brian’s ice cream sandwiches—I do kind of see a resemblance here! Both bodies are just begging to get under the hood of a Dodge Charger. The tank is at home on both of them, which is a quality that only a rare few exhibit.
Family Rating: 4 out of 5 Coronas
Total Family Rating: 11.5 out of 25 Coronas
You know, I went into this trying to prove that Vin Diesel and John Cena absolutely do not look alike, but I think I talked myself into it? This is almost as shocking as Dominic Toretto forgetting to tell his family about his actual family. But despite having different eyes, head shapes, and chins, the two characters do share some similarities, most important of all being their ability to pass the Tank Top Test. It looks like I’ll have to find another ridiculous thing from F9 to get overly worked up about. If only the list weren’t so short.