Listen, I’m one of the biggest defenders of the Fast & Furious franchise. I may get teased for my “lack of taste” in movies, but I don’t care because this is still a fun franchise. However, when I reviewed F9: The Fast Saga in May, I called it “downright average.” After watching both the theatrical and director’s cut, I’m more accepting of the film’s massive flaws, but my thoughts have relatively stayed the same. After knowing all of the film’s exposition and convoluted plotlines, you don’t have to think about connecting the dots. You’re just experiencing all of the craziness that the movie has to offer. You’ll enjoy the electromagnets and the minefields—hell, even the sequence in space. Fast & Furious is at its best when you don’t think and just go with these characters.
However, it must be said that F9: The Fast Saga is sorely missing longtime writer Chris Morgan and the charm and badassery of Dwayne Johnson (both went off to focus on Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw). Not even the antics of Tyrese Gibson and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges can save the movie from becoming a joyless affair.
At the same time, the biggest crime is doesn’t use John Cena to his full potential. Jakob Toretto is a self-serious villain, and the film portrays him as such too. It’s just doesn’t play into the strengths of Cena. If you want a perfect example of this, look at how James Gunn uses John Cena in The Suicide Squad. Peacemaker is self-serious, but the movie knows he’s a bit of a joke too. During the commentary, Justin Lin has reiterated time and again that, if given the opportunity, he would like to explore more of Jakob’s backstory. Unfortunately, because the movie is so jam-packed with plotlines, he was unable to tell his story right. Hopefully, Fast 10 fixes all of the issues with F9.
Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms
F9: The Fast Saga hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The whites beam off the screen, so details like the shine off the supercars or the headlights are a stark contrast to the deep blackness of the nighttime scenes. Luckily, the deep blackness without any of the loss of shadow details. Now, believe it or not, F9 is very colorful due to the various locations in the film. Thus, the HDR displays colors with a rich and vibrant saturation. Also, because of the various locations Dom’s crew is in, there is a massive of details and textures to showcase. The details come through beautifully in this Ultra HD release. Overall, this is a good-looking picture.
Video Rating: 5/5 atoms
F9: The Fast Saga hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect F9: The Fast Saga‘s Dolby Atmos track. As you can expect, the audio mix for F9 is action-packed. However, it’s also nuanced, which complements the mayhem well. There’s a fantastic amount of accurate sounds that occupy the 3D sound space. However, the action sequences are so chaotic that it overpowers the subtle effects happening in the soundstage.
The music takes a lot of priority in the surround channels, where the instruments are separated for Brian Tyler’s score and the film’s soundtrack. At the same time, the dialogue takes more of a priority in the center channel. After all, you still have to hear what the characters say despite the chaos, right? The subwoofer comes alive every time the score, the soundtrack, punch, gunshot, or explosions come into play. That is to say, your living room will be bumping a lot. Overall, this is a fantastic Atmos mix.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
F9: The Fast Saga‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the it:
- Gag Reel
- F9: All In
- The Family Returns
- New Breed of Bad Guy
- Building the Land Mine Chase
- A Woman’s Touch
- Vin, Helen, and the Queen
- Growing the Family
- Controlled Chaos
- Tokyo Drift Reunited
- Raising the Bar
- Practically Fast
- Shifting Priorities
- Justice for Han
- A Day on Set with Justin Lin
- John Cena: Supercar Superfan
- Feature Commentary with Producer/Co-Writer/Director Justin Lin
As you can see from the list above, there is a lot of bonus features to go through. Now, you’re wondering why the Gag Reel is listed first on the bonus features list. Well, there’s a good answer for that: It’s funny as hell. For All In, it looks at the legacy of the Fast & Furious franchise throughout the years. At the same time, it also provides a comprehensive 45-minute look at the making of F9 through different components of the production process. With Practically Fast, the behind-the-scenes featurette examines all of the crazy practical stunts done in the film. While some of the insane stunts are done through CGI (looking at you bridge stunt), it’s nice to see that a lot of the car stunts are done practically.
Shifting Priorities delves into how Vin’s shift into fatherhood influences the story of F9: The Fast Saga. As you might expect, Justice for Han looks at the #JusticeForHan movement, which led to the return of Han in F9. On Set with Justin Lin is a fascinating look at the challenges and various roles Justin Lin undergoes while filming F9: The Fast Saga. At the same time, the cast talk and crew talk about their love for the director. Next, Supercar Superfan John Cena channeling his inner car dealer as he talks about the various supercars in the film. Car fans will thoroughly enjoy this one.
Finally, the audio commentary with director Justin Lin applies to both the theatrical and director’s cut. Lin’s engaging commentary covers a wide array of subjects in addition to the behind-the-scenes stuff. For one thing, he talks about stepping away from the franchise and why he came back for F9. Not to mention, he admits that there’s more to the Jakob backstory that he wants to make, but he wasn’t able to film it here. However, he does wish to delve more into his backstory in the future.
Special Features Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
Overall, F9: The Fast Saga is a decent entry into the Fast franchise. Thankfully, the film doesn’t reflect the quality of the audiovisuals and the bonus features. The video transfer, audio mix, and bonus features are all amazing.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
F9: The Fast Saga hits stores on September 21st.
This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
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F9: The Fast Saga – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review