The ninth Fast and The Furious epic was announced during Super Bowl LV in typical Fast fashion, with an over-the-top trailer to herald yet another chapter in a franchise where the stars outgrew the cars central to the theme.
Living in L.A. and working in the automotive industry, my connection to the original film was through a number of friends involved in the production. RJ DeVera, who had already developed a reputation for creating some of the most stunning and innovative show cars, played the part of Danny Yamato. Craig Lieberman, whose Supra became immortalized, served as technical advisor. Scott Centra, who worked for Wings West, a manufacturer of body kits, also had his Volkswagen Jetta in the film. Nitrous Oxide Systems, which was founded by Mike Thermos, had as big a part as any vehicle, coining the phrase, NOS, for the use of nitrous injection, and as a part of car culture going forward. It was their creative energy brought to the production that made the movie more exciting, and successful.
Fast and The Furious has been around for two decades, long enough to inspire a legion of fans and aspiring racers. Worldwide, it has earned more than $5 billion. This time around, Vin Diesel’s character, Dom Toretto, is living a quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), and his son, little Brian. His solitude ends when Dom’s long-lost brother, Jakob, played by John Cena, is about to execute a nefarious scheme that rocks the world, or at least as far as Toretto is concerned.
Jakob’s skills as an assassin, in addition to those as a driver, are the most formidable Dom has ever encountered. To defeat Jakob requires Dom to reassemble his supporting cast, played by Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Sung Kang.
Somehow added to the mix are Oscar award-winners Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron, Grammy winner and Pepsi commercial shill Cardi B, and reggae-rap-hip hop star Ozuna. That Cardi B as Lesya is being introduced as a new franchise character indicates that FF9 is not the end of the road.
F9, The Fast Saga, opens in theaters on May 28th.[Images: Universal Pictures]