This is the trailer for F9, the ninth movie in the Fast & Furious franchise, which continues its tradition of refusing to submit to a uniform titling structure. (There’s a The Fast and the Furious and a Fast & Furious and they’re separated by two full films, neither of which star Vin Diesel.) It has so many things. It has an almost unreasonable amount of things. It is four minutes long. The entire first Toy Story movie was 81 minutes long. This trailer is five percent as long as the whole first Toy Story movie. Ponder that for a moment.
But only for a moment. We have too much to get to for you to sitting around pondering. This franchise continues to grow in ways that defy logic or physics or biology or good taste and it brings me so much joy that I might explode like a nuclear submarine that a cyberterrorist is trying to steal from a military base hidden inside a glacier. It must be discussed, fully and often, as I am about to do right now. But not in any linear way. That would be disrespectful to a franchise that will gladly spit straight into the face of Father Time to do some cool and wild junk instead. No, I’m just going to rank the cool and wild junk. I think that’s the appropriate course of action here.
Buckle in. We’re about to launch this discussion off a cliff and pray a rope or magnet plane saves us. Here goes.
14. Dominic Toretto is a farmer now
The trailer opens with Dominic Toretto living on a farm and screwing around with a big tractor that one almost has to presume can reach speeds of 150mph and has a bazooka hidden inside of it somewhere. He says, “I used to live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” If this is not leading to one of those scenes where someone flies in on a helicopter to bring him back, but he’s like “I’m retired,” and the other person is like “It has to be you,” and he’s like “Why me?” and the other guy is like “Because you’re the best, that’s why”… well, I will be hopelessly disappointed.
13. Midair dirtbike collision
I like that Letty, who was killed in the fourth movie and then came back in the sixth movie but SURPRISE was working with the bad guy but SURPRISE she had amnesia and then recovered and married Dom and got into a fistfight with Ronda Rousey in a formal ball gown, gets her dirtbike picked clean out of the sky by an airborne automobile and she goes flying onto the hood of Dom’s car and I’m like, “Eh, I’ll put it at 13.”
12. John Cena is Vin Diesel’s… brother?
I can’t decide what I like more, the fact that we made it all the way to the ninth movie before anyone mentioned that Dom has a secret evil brother or the fact that the movie had Tyrese explain this entire new character’s skillset in one incredulous turn of phrase: “So we’re up against a master thief, assassin, high-performance driver… who is he?”
Trick question: I love them both equally.
11. Big-ass truck doing a somersault
Yes, of course, the big truck with a bunch of trailers flinging itself forward and upside-down like a giant snake dying in a Syfy original movie. That’s something. But please look at the very end of this GIF. Pay attention to how Dominic Toretto reacts to it. Or rather, how he doesn’t react to it. He barely even notices it. He just very casually slides over to avoid being crushed by it and keeps going on with his day.
It makes sense, I suppose. The people in this movie have seen things, man. They’ve been through so much. At some point, they’re going to get jaded, like “It just flips over? It’s not on fire or full of mustard gas or about to crush a school bus filled with children? Pfffffttttt.”
10. Outracing a rope bridge as it collapses
In any other movie, this is the wildest part of the trailer, by far. It’s crazy. The car is racing up a rope bridge that has no support holding it in place from behind. Gravity should take over here, NOS and Toretto family willpower be damned. And yet.
9. Firing a tank-mounted automatic weapon at a mysterious truck during a chase that takes place in the middle of a metropolitan area in broad daylight.
It says a lot about these movies that, in Fast & Furious 6, Ludacris was so startled by the fact that the bad guys had a tank that he pressed the button on his walkie-talkie and said “Uh, guys, they got a tank!” in a voice that implied it was as crazy as if they had a spaceship, but now, just three movies later, someone is firing a tank-mounted automatic weapon at a mysterious truck during a chase that takes place in the middle a metropolitan area in broad daylight and I’m like “This makes perfect sense to me.”
8. “My ass is en Fuego!”
Tyrese’s entire role in these movies has boiled down and thickened and concentrated itself into a potent sticky glaze of him just shouting things like “Oh, hell no!” or, as he does here, “My ass is en fuego,” like he’s the scaredy-cat chump of the group who also doesn’t understand how anything works. It is very funny to me. Every other character has added like five new skills with no explanation for how they picked them up (Ludacris is a hacker now, for example), but Roman just gets dumber and more cowardly every movie. It’s the best. It’s like the team only has a certain number of points it can use to apply attributes to its members and everyone is taking them from him to add to their own.
7. Mia showing up and raising an important but uncomfortable question
So, here’s the problem: In Furious 7, Brian and Mia explain that they’re retiring from the Family because they have a life and don’t want to be in danger every day anymore. But Mia appears to be back in this movie. Alone. Without Brian. Who cannot return because Paul Walker passed away in real life even though his character is still alive in the movie. Which means, until this is explained (or not unexplained!), it appears as though something very serious is happening here, serious enough to bring Dom’s sister back for a meeting where she looks very serious and upset, but Brian, Dom’s partner in crime and best friend, was like “Ehhhhh you go ahead, honey. I’ll watch the kids” and kept watching basketball or whatever.
I hope she shows up and says “Brian couldn’t make it because he has the flu” and it is never mentioned again.
6. Vin Diesel just, like, catching a car?
I mean, sure. Why not?
5. Charlize Theron having a bowl cut now
In Fate of the Furious, Charlize Theron made her debut in the franchise as Cipher, a notorious anarchist and cyberterrorist who had a) a plan to acquire a nuclear submarine, and b) very unfortunate blond dreadlocks for some reason. Well, she’s back, in what appears to be some Magneto-ass Plexiglass prison cell, rocking the same bowl cut every 12-year-old boy had in the late 1990s. I don’t know why she has a bowl cut. I’m not entirely sure when she had time to get it done, either. Did she do it herself in that cell? Who would give her scissors? What’s the point of keeping someone in a futuristic dungeon if you’re going to give them a sharp object or send a defenseless hairdresser in with one? How does she style it every day without a mirror? Why doesn’t she just pull it back in a ponytail and stop worrying about it? Who is she trying to impress in there anyway?
By the 10th film, she will be a good guy and have a Mohawk and none of us will stop to question it for one second.
4. “Damn, they got a magnet plane?”
IT’S A MAGNET PLANE.
3. ARE THEY GOING TO LET HELEN MIRREN RACE?
Some background is necessary here. Without it, you might assume I’m nuts for ranking this above Charlize Theron piloting a secret fighter jet that has a high-powered magnet attached to the bottom so she can catch cars that are flying through the air because apparently that is something that comes up in her life often enough that it requires the acquisition of a billion-dollar airplane. I get that. But there’s history here. Helen Mirren has been banging this drum for years. Years.
Here she is in an interview from March 2015, before she was cast in the movies, openly pleading with Vin Diesel to cast her in the movies.
My great ambition is to be in a Fast and Furious movie. I so want to be a mad driver in a Fast and Furious movie. My claim to fame is I always do my own driving — I was on Top Gear, and I did [my lap] in a very good time. I keep putting it out there, and they never ask me. I’ll be in Fast and Furious 8. I have to say Vin Diesel is brilliant. I love Vin Diesel. He’s a great guy, smart — I love him. It’s partly because of him I’d like to be in one, but also the driving.
Here she is in June 2016 telling an interviewer that she wants to drive a car in the damn Fast & Furious movies.
How does this film fit in with what you want to be doing in your career overall?
It fits in very, very well with what I want to be doing. I want to be making film and theater, but film is particularly relevant. I like it to be serious. Of course, having said that I’m about to do Fast and Furious 8. But that’s for the fun of it. So maybe that’s what I want as well, some fun and some relevant, serious, important movies.
So you are confirmed to be in ‘Fast 8’?
Yes, I am.
Are you a fan of cars?
Well, yes. I’ve always rather loved driving. I said, ‘I’ll be in it, but only if I’m allowed to drive if I do drive in it.’ But we’ll see. We’ll see how it transpires.
Here she is in July 2016 getting mad about it and taking a fun little shot at The Rock, which rules.
But sadly for Mirren, Fast 8 won’t feature her behind the steering wheel. “I wanted to be driving, but unfortunately, I’m not,” she says, shrugging. “Maybe that will come in the future, in Fast and Furious 12.” She pauses. “I’m probably one of the few people on the set who know how to drive a gear shift car. I doubt The Rock knows,” she jokes.
Here she is in August 2019 discussing it again and how ticked off she is that they haven’t let her drive yet.
“I just love driving cars in movies, I love it, you get empty roads, you can do stuff that you can’t do in a normal car, I’ve always loved driving cars in movies and it just looked like a really fun thing to be a part of.
“It was wonderful to play the Queen, it was wonderful to play all the roles that I’ve played, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, but I just really wanted to do something where I could really have good fun.”
However, she has still not driven a car in the franchise.
She joked: “Can you believe it? What’s the matter with them?
“I was hoping but it will come, we have to pay our dues before we get the prize.”
2. NOS-powered Tarzan-ass rope swing
Remember what I said earlier about how Dominic Toretto must be getting jaded about all of this now, after almost two decades of thrill-seeking and daredevil shenanigans? That’s what I think this is. It’s not the first time he’s been airborne in a car. It’s not even the second. He did it twice in Furious 7 alone, once when he backed a car out of a jumbo jet and parachuted it down onto a road, and once when he soared like an eagle between two Abu Dhabi skyscrapers as Jason Statham fired a bazooka at the multimillion-dollar sports car he had just stolen from a prince during a birthday party.
What I’m saying is that it’s a very short drive — quarter-mile, give or take — from there to Tarzan-ass rope swings in the jungle.
Imagine a person in the backseat just screaming bloody curdled petrified horror as this is happening. That would be me if I were in these movies.
A few things worth noting here, just to be comprehensive:
- Han died in the third movie
- He was brought back for movies 4-6 through a chronological lambada where those actually take place before the third movie, because why wouldn’t the franchise about vroom vroom fast cars also feature a more complex timeline than any Christopher Nolan movie
- He died again in the sixth movie’s post-credits scene, where we learned that SURPRISE he had been murdered by Jason Statham’s character as revenge for them putting his brother — who, as we’ll find out, had been working for Charlize Theron’s character, who does not appear until the eighth movie — in the hospital
- Accepting this requires you to believe that Statham’s character perfectly timed a murderous t-bone to catch Han in an intersection during a high-speed chase that did not involve Statham’s character and that he had no good way of knowing about ahead of time
- At the beginning of the seventh movie, Dominic Toretto flies to Tokyo to pick up Han’s corpse so they can bury him at home
- By the end of the eighth movie, Jason Statham, who, again, murdered Han in the third and sixth movies, is a good guy and has been invited to a barbecue
And now Han is back. Alive. Again. Despite dying in two movies. And having his corpse picked up by the franchise’s main character. And it’s happening in the same movie where we discover that the main character — who, yes, again, is married to a woman who was presumed dead by actually survived with amnesia — has a secret evil brother, because these movies are just one huge soap opera with bazookas and magnet planes now.
I can’t wait to see how they explain it. I don’t even care if it makes sense. I kind of hope it doesn’t. I’ve already accepted it anyway. Han lives.
BRING BACK GAL GADOT NEXT.