Archive for the ‘Justin Lin’ Category

The Aries Project

F9: The Fast Saga

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron, John Cena, Helen Mirren, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Finn Cole, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Anna Sawai, Thue Ersted Rasmussen, Shea Whigham, Michael Rooker, Vinnie Bennett  

Thank you to United International Pictures for the Media Preview at Suncoast Cinemas, Durban of F9: The Fast Saga held on Wednesday 23rd June 2021

Taiwanese-American director Justin Lin who helmed the sequel to the original Fast and the Furious film, called Tokyo Drift returns to direct the ninth instalment of the Fast and the Furious franchise, F9: The Fast Saga, which is an action film infused with speedway nostalgia.

F9: The Fast Saga focuses on Dominic Toretto’s childhood and the death of his father and the fractured relationship with his younger brother Jakob. The younger version of Jakob is played by rising star Finn Cole who appeared in the TV series Animal Kingdom and Peaky Blinders. Dominic’s younger version is played by Vinnie Bennett.

Back in the present, Dominic Toretto confronts his younger brother Jakob played by wrestler turned actor John Cena as they fight it out within a ring of international espionage.

Jakob has fallen under the spell of a Georgian dictator’s son, Otto wonderfully played by Danish star Thue Ersted Rasmussen. Toretto assembles the old crew back including the gang from Tokyo drift Han played by Sung Kang and Sean played by Lucas Black along with Roman and Tej to provide some laughs played respectively by Tyrese Gibson and Chris Bridges.

The girls are well represented in the gang with Letty, Mia, Ramsey and Elle played respectively by Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Anna Sawai. There is also the arch villain: the hacker Cypher played by gorgeous South African born Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster).

The story swiftly whisks audiences around the world from Tokyo to Tbilisi, from Edinburgh to the Caspian Sea. The stunts in F9: The Fast Saga are amazing, drawing a lot of inspiration from such 007 films as The Man with the Golden Gun and the latest Christopher Nolan film Tenet, although not quite with the some elegant flourish.

Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the escapism of this action packed full throttle adventure with a stellar cast including some cameo appearances again by Kurt Russell as Mr Nobody and Oscar winner Helen Mirren (The Queen) as Queenie.

Family is at the centre of F9: The Fast Saga as the Toretto brothers battle it out only to realize that they are pawns being used in a more ambitious plan to find a powerful encryption device called The Aries Project which if unleashed on the world’s orbiting satellites, would wreck digital havoc globally.

If viewers are a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise, then go and purchase a ticket in a cinema and watch it on the Big Screen now. It’s amazing but strictly for fans of the eight previous films. Thankfully I have been a fan since the first film was released in 2001.

F9: The Fast Saga is an ideal popcorn film, filled with action, laughter and off the wall stunts, with a story that treats its characters with respect while paying homage to the drag racing franchise. This film gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10. Go and see it and enjoy.

Cars and Girls

Fast and Furious 6

FastandFurious 6

Director: Justin Lin

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, John Ortiz, Jordana Brewster, Gina Carano, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Shea Whigham, Luke Evans, Gal Gadot

Director Justin Lin’s flashy sixth installment of the now popular and hugely appealing Fast and Furious franchise moves the action away from the Americas and Asia to Europe and the United Kingdom, specifically London and Spain. Reuniting the entire cast of all the previous Fast and Furious movies with the exception of Lucas Black from Tokyo Drift, Fast and Furious 6 settles on the successful male orientated formulaic narrative appeal of fast cars, tough girls and furious heroes who drive the host city into a frenzy.

In this case the post-industrial aspect of London’s 21st century image is exploited complete with panoramic views of the British Capital’s unique skyline including The Shard skyscraper and  rounded off with a scene at the Battersea Power Station, between Dominic Toretto coolly played by Vin Diesel and the recently resurrected bad girl Letty played by Michelle Rodriguez.

The villain in this ensemble is international terrorist Owen Shore, ably played by Welsh actor Luke Evans and the cast features Tyrese Gibson as the comic fast talking playboy Roman first introduced in the Miami based 2 Fast 2 Furious along with rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Paul Walker reprises his role as former LA cop turned outlaw Brian O’Conner, Jordana Brewster as his wife Mia (her star rising out of the new Dallas series) and Gina Carano as Riley who was last seen as the kick-ass man eliminating assassin in Steven Soderbergh spy thriller Haywire.

Cars + Girls = Winning Formula

The main star of these Fast and Furious films, besides the sexy girls and speeding cars are the incredibly brilliant action sequences which most of the films have delivered and underpins their continued success. Targeted Male Audience = Cars + Girls = Winning Formula.

Naturally the storyline is secondary in the incredible stunt sequences which in this film are thrilling to say the least especially the chase sequence on a Spanish highway involving a formidable tank. Unlikely yes! But hey this is the movies! Equally influenced by both the success of the latest James Bond film Skyfall and the Expendibles series, Fast and Furious 6 uses the London locations wisely complete with a gritty underground girl on girl fight sequence and a terrific chase sequence through the West End.

Inevitably all these characters are essentially American so they do look incredibly out of place in ever shifting cosmopolitan London and  this film would not have been thrilling without making the City of Westminster look like a NASCAR raceway.

The ridiculously over the top and thrilling climax sequence involving a heavy artillery military aircraft is straight out of an Arnold Schwarzeneggar film, with Dwayne Johnson fulfilling the 21st century version of Arnie’s action hero. Fast and Furious 6 is a no brainer when it comes to dazzling stunts and action sequences, but don’t expect any intricate plot twists or epic characterization. The fact that the film ends with a warning telling viewers not to try and emulate these stunt drivers, points to the essentially massive audience following this franchise has generated internationally from when the first Fast and the Furious was release in 2001, not to mention the inherent testosterone fueled need for speed, by at least three quarters of the younger male population worldwide. See Fast and the Furious 6 for fantastic stunts, cool cars, high action and as a substitute for any pent up fraternal frustrations.

 

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