Fasten your seatbelts! Here’s all you need to know about F9: The Fast Saga

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F9 is the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious franchise, which has endured for two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world. (PHOTO: Universal Pictures)
F9 is the ninth chapter in the Fast & Furious franchise, which has endured for two decades and has earned more than $5 billion around the world. (PHOTO: Universal Pictures)

It’s fast, it’s furious and it’s back!

It’s been almost five years since The Fate of The Furious (or F8) dropped, making this the longest fans of the franchise have had to wait for their high-octane fix. 

F9 was originally scheduled for worldwide release in April 2020, but was delayed several times, first due to the releases of the Jason Statham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw (2019), then the upcoming Bond movie No Time to Die (2021), and then the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But F9: The Fast Saga is finally in cinemas from 25 June and fans can see the hard-driving gang reunite once more.

Critics weren’t impressed when the first flick hit the big screen in 2001. The dialogue was cheesy, the plot predictable and the acting so-so, they said.

Who wanted to watch nearly two hours of pimped-up cars, hot girls and high-speed car chases?

Millions upon millions of people, that’s who. 

Two decades after its debut The Fast and The Furious has become one of the most successful movie franchises in history, making stars out of its cast and earning cult status around the world.

The first movie – which was based on a magazine article about New York’s underground car culture – has given birth to eight sequels and seldom has the latest edition in a series been as eagerly awaited as this one. 

WHAT’S THIS ONE ABOUT?

Dom (Vin Diesel) is living off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and their son when Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris "Ludacris" Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) show up.

They inform them that national security bigwig Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) captured their old antagonist Cipher (Charlize Theron), but the plane taking her to prison was attacked by rogue agents led by the film’s baddie, Jakob. 

Turns out Jakob is Jakob Toretto, Dom's long-lost brother who disappeared from Dom's life in 1989 after being blamed for a car crash that killed their racer dad. Jakob kidnapped Cipher to take her to his boss, a young, rich Northern European baddie named Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) who’s hellbent on world domination.

Jakob is played by former professional wrestler John Cena who recently described landing the role as, “a golden opportunity”.

“It was not without its sizing up, which I actually like,” he jokingly admitted of infiltrating the tightknit crew. “But this franchise is a success. They don’t need me to further that success. I’m getting a lucky invite to be a part of something. That’s really special.”

Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron and former w
Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron and former wrestler John Cena team up in F9. (PHOTO: Universal Pictures)

NOT WITHOUT ITS PROBLEMS

Repeated release delays weren’t the only thing that plagued the franchise’s ninth instalment. 

In July 2019 Joe Watts, a stuntman serving as Vin Diesel’s body double, was thrown over another stuntman's shoulder on an 8m-high balcony.

Instead of staying mid-air suspended by a wire, Joe fell and hit the concrete floor, resulting in a fractured skull and a traumatic brain injury. More than a year after the accident, Joe is still battling but according to spokesperson is determined to keep working at his recovery.

Stuntman Joe Watts was placed in an induced coma a
Stuntman Joe Watts was placed in an induced coma after falling off a balcony on the set of F9 in 2019. (PHOTO: Facebook)

ALSO ALONG FOR THE RIDE

Helen Mirren

The 75-year-old Oscar-winner plays Magdalene Shaw, mom of former franchise baddies Deckard and Owen (Jason Statham and Luke Evans). The veteran actress practically begged for a part, Vin Diesel says.

“She came up to me at a party and said, ‘I want to be in Fast and Furious with you.’”

Cardi B

Little is known about Cardi’s character, Leysa, other than that she’s a connection to Dom. The Bodak Yellow rapper admits she could barely contain her excitement at being asked by Vin Diesel to join the cast.

“Vin reached out, and he was talking about a role. I’m like, ‘It’s freakin’ Fast & Furious . . . get me there, put me on a plane!’" she says. 

Lucas Black

We first saw Lucas as Sean Boswell leading the charge in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. He briefly appeared again in Furious 7 and his character will be making his long-awaited return in F9.

Bow wow as Twinkie and Sun Kang as Han Seoul-oh

There are several other characters from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift returning for F9 alongside Sean Boswell. Most notably, his high school friend and fellow transplant Twinkie (Bow Wow) and drift racer from Tokyo HanSeoul-Oh (Sung Kang) – who proved so popular that the franchise brought him back from the dead. 

Cardi B and Vin Diesel appeared together in a 2019
Cardi B and Vin Diesel appeared together in a 2019 Instagram video taken on the F9 set. (PHOTO: Instagram / @vindiesel)

BINGE-WATCHING? HERE’S HOW

If you're doing a giant binge-watch of the Fast and Furious movies before catching F9, make sure you're watching them the correct way.

A reboot to the series that started with the fourth movie altered the order in which fans should watch the franchise if they're hoping to view them in chronological order. 

The ending of the third film in the franchise, Tokyo Drift, resulted in Han's death after his car was hit by a Mercedes. When Han showed up alive and well in the franchise's next movie, the death scene was confusing to many, suggesting that Tokyo Drift took place after the movie.

Here's the correct order: The Fast and the Furious (2001), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Fast & Furious (2009) [the fourth film], Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), Furious 7 (2015), The Fate of the Furious (2017) then Hobbs & Shaw (2019).

In one of F9's many death-defying stunts Dom and L
In one of F9's many death-defying stunts Dom and Letty evade pursuers during a jungle chase by soaring off the edge of a cliff in a vehicle. (PHOTO: Universal Pictures)

THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS STUNTS

Here are seven times death was spectacularly defied in the films.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS 

For the climactic scene Brian and Dom race each other across a railway crossing, narrowly missing a speeding train.

2 FAST 2 FURIOUS 

While trying to catch the villain, Brian accelerates his Chevrolet Camaro to almost 200 km/h – and zooms right onto the back of a yacht.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT 

Takashi drifts around corners in his Nissan 350Z. Say no more.

FAST & FURIOUS 

After trying to hijack an oil tanker, Dom and Letty face almost certain death when the fiery vehicle barrels towards them. But Dom calmly glides his Buick Grand National under the oil tank then watches it roll off a cliff. Epic.

FAST FIVE 

Dom drags a stolen bank vault behind his Dodge Charger then turns it into a weapon, using it to smash the police cars pursuing him. He dives out of the car at the last second before it too crashes into another vehicle.

FAST & FURIOUS 6 

Dom (again!) drives another Dodge Charger through the nose cone of a crashing, burning plane. An honourable mention must also go to the scene in which an army tank cannons down a highway, crushing everything in its path.

FURIOUS 7 

Dom mutters, “It’s time to unleash the beast” before accelerating his Lykan HyperSport, knocking over Deckard Shaw and driving the car through two skyscrapers. What a guy.

FATE OF THE FURIOUS 

The film’s craziest scene shows the crew driving along frozen waters, being chased down by an enormous emerging submarine. Racing against a submarine is a kind of street race maybe?

* The Fate of The Furious is in SA cinemas from 25 June

SOURCES: ETONLINE.COM, INDIANEXPRESS.COM, GAMESRADAR.COM, LEOSIGH.COM, HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM, MTV.COM, DIGITALSPY.COM, THE-NUMBERS.COM, WIRED.COM, BELFASTELEGRAPH.CO.UK, CINEMABLEND.COM, SCREENRANT.COM, THEWRAP.COM, DIGITALSPY.COM, THEVERGE.COM, EXPRESS.CO.UK, BILLBOARD.COM

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