Fans have waited a long time for Fast & Furious 9. It’s been ready since April, last year, but was delayed like many of the 2020 releases. Now that it’s arrived it delivers a good thing.
If you need a plot, Cipher (Charlize Theron) is back on the scene enlisting the help of Dom’s (Vin Diesel) estranged brother Jakob (John Cena) to get revenge on Dom and his crew. Dom and Letty, however, have been living a quiet life off-the-grid with their son Brian, and this threat from the past pulls them back on the road and into another fight for their family.
Although the plot is secondary to the visual blockbuster behemoth the Fast Saga has become, it lets us in to parts of Dom’s life we haven’t seen yet. It takes us back to when his dad was alive, how Dom became the patriarch of his tribe and why street racing is in his blood.
So what if it’s ridiculousness that Jona Cena and Vin Diesel are related – and that Vin was a foot taller than him when they were kids? Their brotherhood unveils Dom’s origin story and fans will be all about it.
And while the stunts, the muscles and the general un-believability of the entire Fast & Furious experience has escalated over the years, one thing that’s never changed – and has been its defence against haters – is the importance of family in everything Dom and his crew do.
Dom’s value for family makes him leave his quiet life for the road, and it’s his love for his dad that makes the rift with his brother Jakob cut so deep. As Dom grows in his role as a father, it shapes his priorities and what he wants to teach his son about God, legacy and community.
For sure we’re not going to build our theology on the franchise’s depiction of faith, but it anchors of lot of its drama around a posse that give time for giving thanks around the table, praying and processing their lives through their shared bond to a bigger picture.
Two of F9’s sweetest moments come when Dom’s son Brian asks where God is, and when he’s ready to take part in a significant family ritual.
In the first instance, Dom tells Brian God is in his heart. Some may read that as a nod to “finding God within”, but it also offers a nugget of truth that reminds us God isn’t a distant “out there” heavenly being, but an intimate, engaged and available presence in our lives.
Fast & Furious has evolved a lot since its early days of street racing, baggy jeans and neon lights, but where it keeps resonating with audiences is in its unwavering commitment to the importance of the crew. And of course, its obliteration of any sense of logic, physics or any impossibility around the capabilities of a fast car.
Fast & Furious 9 is in cinemas now. Rated M and contains sequences of violence and action, and language.