Dashboard Insights Goes to the Movies: F9 Edition

06 July 2021 Dashboard Insights Blog
Authors: Lauren M. Loew

As long-time blog readers likely know, we are big fans of car movies, and even bigger fans of car movies that defy the laws of gravity. Of course we could not miss the ninth installment of the best cars-defying-gravity franchise around: F9, aka Fast & Furious 9. We will focus on the cars and creative interpretation of the laws of physics, so as not to spoil the movie for other super fans awaiting their turn in the theater. 

A refresher for those who did not re-watch the last installment in anticipation of the big opening. Fate of the Furious came out in 2017 and involved a lopsided matchup between a nuclear submarine and a Lamborghini Murcielago on icy tundra. The spinoff Hobbs & Shaw was released in 2019, culminating in a link of Peterbilt-powered tow trucks dangling off the ground in a face off against a military grade helicopter.

F9 picks up where F8 left off, while providing our fearless leader’s origin story. Dom and Letty have retired to a farm (complete with a tractor and an impressive chop shop). Their retirement does not last long, and F9 is an action roller coaster, running nearly 2 ½ hours of screen time. The team continues its new role as an elite strike team against the world’s biggest and baddest criminals—a long way from the days of jacking DVD players from semis in Southern California. The newest bad guy is Jakob, played by John Cena, teaming up with villains Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) and Cipher (Charlize Theron).

However, the real stars of the movie are once again the cars, many of which were featured in a recent Car and Driver article. Pro-tip: stay through the closing credits for a glimpse at some special appearances. 

The usual array of souped-up Dodges and Jeeps grace the screen. Dom pairs with a Hellcat V-8 powered 68 Charger. A custom mashup between a Challenger SRT Hellcat and a Challenger SRT Demon shines in its debut. Fan favorite 1970 Dodge Chargers reappear in Dom’s garage and on the road, both in flashbacks and in present day sequences. Jeep Gladiators also deftly handle an intense scene in the jungle.

Toyota Supras also return, this time as bright orange A90 Supra zipping around a hulking truck. Comedic duo Roman and Tej command twin matte Acura NSXs. A Noble M600, reportedly on loan by Noble, appears in the film with a reappearing character. John Cena handles a royal blue Ford Mustang GT350.  Mia’s skills shine with a 1974 Chevelle SS. For bike fans, Letty dominates with a Harley Davidson Sportster Iron and a Yamaha YZ450F. And an out of this world Pontiac Fiero has a special role (link has spoilers), worthy of a special category at next year’s Oscar’s—best use of rocket boosters.

There are more plot threads than one could count and many head scratching appearances in the film. As has become tradition in the series, the theater erupted in laughter during many gravity- and death- defying scenes, but it is clear F9 was in on the joke. On more than one occasion, Roman vocalizes the audience’s inner monologue while questioning how the crew can survive the mind bending scenes “without a scratch.” However, at its core the movie revolves around family, and the final scene brings the #family back together where it all began, closer than ever.

Vin Diesel recently announced that they expect two more installments to close out the franchise.  We look forward to where they go next in both plot and cars. For cars, perhaps the team will beef up its electric cars, building on the hybrid vehicles in the current installment. For plot, our guess was outer space, but given NASA’s involvement with F9, the writers will need to look even further for Fast 10.

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