May 22, 2020

That was the original release date of F9, the 9th installment in the Fast and Furious main series, and the 10th film in the franchise overall. The marketing campaign was already locked and loaded. There was even a full length trailer, featuring an obnoxiously repetitive usage of “Feel the Love” by KIDS SEE GHOSTS & Pusha T:

Then the entire world had a massive schedule change. The pandemic rocked everyone and everything, and Hollywood was no exception. Heavy hitters like A Quiet Place II, Black Widow, No Time to Die, and the aforementioned F9, all retreated in hopes of finding a new worldwide release date. But in doing so, a happy coincidence occurred. F9 will be released on June 25, 2021 – 20 years to the month of the original The Fast and the Furious.

It’s hard to believe that its been a full 20 years since Vin Diesel and Paul Walker had their first automotive erotic connection. In that time, the entire film industry has changed, in some ways that have directly influenced this franchise.

While realizing that, it also dawned on me that I haven’t seen the entire franchise in full. I’ve seen a few of the installments from front to back, and bits & pieces of the others, but a 20 year anniversary is the perfect opportunity to rectify that.

So, for the next several weeks, leading up to F9, I’ll be reviewing each film in the main series, going over how the franchise has evolved, and which chapters hold up the best. But most importantly, I’ll try to answer if this goofy series of gonzo action and intensely sincere melodrama deserves greater respect for it’s ability to engross a global audience. It’s easy to dismiss “The Fast Saga” as a perpetrator of modern cinema’s worst sins. Chief of which is how CGI-dominated action has taken the emphasis off character development, acting, pacing, logical plotting, and immersive storytelling in many of the blockbusters of the last 20 years.

Perhaps “The Fast Saga” is additive to that trend, but maybe I’ll grow to appreciate the series with the benefit of 20 years of hindsight. Nevertheless, we’ll start our journey next week, when I review The Fast and the Furious (2001).