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‘F9’ a symphony of cinematic mayhem – and a total blast!

Before the end credits for “F9: The Fast Saga” roll, you’ll see death fake-outs, countless gags involving powerful electromagnets and even a rocket-powered Pontiac Fiero. Like its more recent predecessors, “F9” is so packed with ridiculousness that it becomes a live-action cartoon.
It pushed your ability to suspend disbelief so far, you might dislocate something.
And yet, for the first time since “Fast Five,” I found a way to completely enjoy a “Fast” flick. All it took was to change the perspective from which I approached this movie.
“F9” chronicles the further exploits of Dom Peretto (Vin Diesel) and his self-assembled family. This time, Dom and his crew get recruited to stop the plot of a powerful villain from using a superweapon to change the world as we know it.
Just for kicks, Dom’s estranged brother, Jakob (John Cena), is assisting the bad guys. Thwarting this threat involves death-defying stunts, numerous fistfights and enough car wrecks to keep the auto insurance industry flush with cash for years.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I struggle with the movies of the “Fast Saga.” Typically, it all starts out fine and I’m having a good time. But there always comes a point in the proceedings where the lack of logic and skirting of the laws of physics become too much and I check out. This time, however, I took the suggestion of a friend on Facebook and watched “F9” not as a spy movie or an action flick, but as a straight-up comedy.
That. Changed. EVERYTHING.
Suddenly, I was laughing at the stunts instead of cringing. Absurd action beats that would have caused me to check out before now delighted me. Because comedy relies on the absurd. The dialogue that would’ve caused me to roll my eyes now made me chuckle. Because you can get away with saying silly things in comedies that don’t work in action films.
It also helped that Justin Lin is back in the director’s chair for the first time since “Fast 5.” He knows these characters and their world and his sensibilities ground things just enough that the movie doesn’t completely jump the shark.
The returning cast is solid, though nobody really stands out apart from Helen Mirren. She shows up just long enough to be completely delightful then disappears. Michael Rooker also shows up for a pivotal scene and blows Diesel off the screen.
But the best part? “F9” did something I’ve been asking for these “Fast” movies to do for years. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say the later scenes of the Tej (Ludacris)/Roman (Tyrese Gibson) side plot made me really, really happy.
As for flaws, yeah, this movie has a ton. The plot feels way too similar to a lot of recent save-the-world-and-look-cool-doing-it movies that have come out, including previous installments of the “Fast” flicks. Cena is a great physical presence but his acting leaves a lot to desire. Also, while the film benefits from having fewer major characters and focusing on Dom and his family, “F9” sure misses Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham).
All that aside, I enjoyed “F9” from start to finish. All it took was a slight adjustment to my worldview. I want to go back through the “Fast Saga” films now because maybe I’ll have a different experience with them now. I feel like I missed out on a lot of fun and after the past 16 months, I’m making having fun a major priority in my life.
3 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13
The post ‘F9’ a symphony of cinematic mayhem – and a total blast! appeared first on East Idaho News.

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