Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson and Sung Kang took the stage to reminiscence about the long-running ‘Fast Saga’ franchise movie by movie, from the 2001 “The Fast and the Furious” to the upcoming “Fast X.” They joked about Dwayne Johnson joining in “Fast Five” and paid their respect to Paul Walker while discussing “Furious 7.”
Rodriguez noted, while discussing “F9,” how proud she was that “F9” was such a major part of the COVID-era theatrical comeback, and that the series overall has provided so many strong roles for people of color. Brewster noted that this installment has four Oscar-winning actresses in Rita Moreno, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Brie Larson.
After that, Vin Diesel indeed showed up and noted that he enjoyed “this room” more than the Oscars. He noted that the people sitting in the Academy Awards are only there because of those sitting in this room. He spent several minutes exalting the theatrical industry and celebrating Universal for releasing “F9” in theaters when many other movies were being sent to streaming.
The footage opens with essentially a franchise movie-by-movie recap with Brie Larson learning the complex continuity. We get what looks to be a vehicular prison break, with Momoa emerging to rescue/capture Toretto for himself. We get the already seen “Dane wants revenge and wants to tear apart Dom’s family”.
John Cena shows up and rescues Dom’s imperiled son, and then we get the already-revealed bits of Statham and Kang teaming up. The rest is a slightly longer version of the existing trailer. Theron and Rodriguez and really whaling on each other here. “Maybe this is the end,” intones Gibson, before remarking that at least he smells *good*.
The film pits Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his surrogate family against a vengeful Dante Reyes (Jason Momoa) who wants payback for Dom and Brian’s actions in “Fast Five.” Come what may, connecting this installment to the very best franchise entry is a smart play, even if it can’t help but remind people that Justin Lin’s “Fast Five” was a natural series finale for the franchise, as was James Wan’s winning (and $1.5 billion-grossing) “Furious 7” for different but no less artistically valid reasons.
Hot off the release of a second, and frankly far superior, theatrical trailer, one which showed off more of the ensemble (including Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Ludacris and Tyrese Gibson among many others), Universal’s “Fast X” will have to combat being yet another franchise entry without Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson. It also must contend with the high likelihood that it won’t have China to pitch in anywhere near the $390 million spent on “Furious 7” in 2015 and “Fate of the Furious” in 2017 this time out.
For a film that reportedly cost $340 million, partially due to COVID-related delays and upcharges along with presumably higher salaries for a long-established ensemble, the tenth “Fast and Furious” movie is in a weird position of potentially being one of the biggest-grossing movies of the summer and yet not quite earning as much as needed through raw theatrical to break into the black.
Of course, there’s no law saying that “Fast and Furious 11” (or whatever it will be called) has to be as expensive, and a well-received artistic comeback after a few underwhelming chapters would only make the next installment that much more likely to flirt with grosses closer to “Fate of the Furious” ($226 million domestic, $391 million in China and $1.236 billion worldwide in 2017) than “F9” ($173 million/$216 million/$721 million in 2021).
After all, as is the case with “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I,” this is the first of a two-part series finale. We’ll see if “Dominic Toretto and the Deathly Mufflers Part I” concludes with Dante getting his hands on the Elder Wand.