Photo: Giles Keyte/Universal Studios

Ludacris

I didn’t know Ludacris was acting in these films — or at all, actually. Most characters have a very detached, sarcastic approach to conflict. Rarely does anyone raise their voice. The guy at the garage has seen some shit. I was stunned by the Christopher Nolan hubris of this run time. Related

F9 Brings an Improbably Good Gearhead Daddy-Issues Opera Home

F9’s Space Scenes Began as a Joke. She definitely killed Brian’s mom, but Dom forgives her for it, though not enough to help her get out of the box. I’m stunned that this person was cast to play Vin Diesel as a young person, and the only explanation is that Vin Diesel insisted upon it because he has no idea what he himself looks like. Notes on F9, and incest, from someone who hasn’t seen any of the other movies. Photo: Giles Keyte/Universal Studios

On Anger

My takeaway from the Fast and Furious films, based on one of them, is that nobody seems that furious. Before seeing the film, I wondered if it would be worth it to brush up on the Fast and Furious universe. Photo: Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures

For nearly two decades, I have managed to learn very little about the Fast and Furious movies, save for the fact that they are about people crashing into one another’s nice cars on purpose. On Sexuality

The sheer quantity of long, intense glances in this film makes it seem like basically everyone has fucked one another or has lingering sexual tension because they wanted at one point to fuck one another but then didn’t. Those Two Scientists

An unnamed, quickly murdered married couple who invented Project Aries, which involves two halves of a little shell that, when activated by the couple’s daughter’s DNA, scrambles all the tech in the known universe. The only movies that should be more than two hours are Titanic and Meet Joe Black. Young Dom punches somebody once and then goes to jail for years, but then he grows up to kill people with cars as a profession and that’s fine. Hard for me to say with my limited exposure. This is a disaster. “This isn’t who we are,” she says, meaning … parents. I respect that things need to be smashed in order to create stakes, but I simply can’t comprehend why there had to be this much smashing. The first is that I knew there had to be other people out there like me: people who dissociate during action scenes and can’t tell any of the male characters apart; people who forget what their rental car looks like four minutes after locking it and then can’t find it in the parking lot; people who can’t understand why Vin Diesel, a shaved potato, is the star of a multibillion-dollar franchise that will continue to churn out related properties until long after we all die; and people who wanted to see F9 despite all of this, mostly because there are basically four movies total in theaters right now. But they didn’t intend to do anything bad with this apocalyptic tool; they were just being scientists. Han

Faked his own death after being forced to date Gal Gadot, who pretended she was the first person to think of Tokyo. On Mortality

Ludacris and Tyrese wonder idly if they are immortal and invincible as a group, considering their vast experience of driving crazily and never dying despite widely acknowledged car-crash statistics. Tyrese

What happened to Tyrese? I understand that driving is their raison d’être (and potentially their source of income, though payment is never visibly exchanged and it’s unclear who would even be paying them and for what), but I don’t totally understand why. He doesn’t know how to fix a hot-water heater in the country despite seeming to have an excellent grasp of mechanics. There’s a lot of talk about “family” and the concept of a chosen family and the ties that bind, but then in the first five minutes, Dom and Letty straight-up abandon their child to go on a dangerous, mysterious mission that will take them to at least 14 countries and put them in the path of many murderous foes. But perhaps that’s the point: When everything is smashed, nothing matters. His primary trait is being annoyed with Tyrese and telling him to stop talking. Young Dom

This is a different character from Dom. He is the Ashlee Simpson to Dom’s Jessica. No romantic attachments to anyone onscreen. He wears tight waffle sweaters and tank tops exclusively. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is clearly acting in a different movie that was accidentally cut into this one. Certainly, everyone is fast, but for the most part, everyone remains calm, and there is a lot of hugging and discussing of feelings. Nobody

No idea who this person is or why all the Fasts leave their actual families to find him, even though that was seemingly the whole point of the movie. In general, the characters are driving constantly, so much so that when they get to a new place, they only ever stay there for a few minutes before driving once again. Dom

Dom is “a Toretto.” This is meaningful in ways I’ll never understand. He is a professional spy, and he wants to destroy the world because his brother made him leave town after he maybe killed his dad by helping him throw a race. Here, she is locked inside a clear box because she angered the Fasts or the Russians or both. Anyway, Jakob looks enough like his character’s young self that I don’t feel the need to split them into two people. They kiss only once, when he nearly dies and she saves his life in a way that defies physical laws, but it’s a passionless kiss of two people caught up in a life they never imagined for themselves. At one point, cafés and scooters are smashed. One is more Oliver, the other more Queen Elizabeth. Eventually, the smashing loses its shock value. Mr. Brian

There are apparently two Brians. He looks literally nothing like Vin Diesel. He seems to be the Chandler to Tyrese’s Joey. Now he’s back because he gave up on faking his death. When she goes to Tokyo with Letty “for work,” they stop driving long enough to go to a sit-down restaurant and order noodles. What’s going on here? However, the past year has changed everything I thought I knew about myself and cars. Really cute, so this makes no sense. I can’t remember if he dies. The second reason is that I am lazy, and the third is that it was funny to me. On Family

This movie overflows with hypocrisy. This makes sense, considering the very low premium the Fasts place on life, children, and personal property. On Magnets

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the entire plot of this movie hinges on magnets. Why is nobody fucking? He smells like Cool Water. Wants to take over the planet via “Project Aries” (see below). Once referred to as “Twinkie.” Unclear what he does or how he contributes to the Fast legacy. Inside, she has a drone. Everyone layers their shirts in a way that suggests virginity and the year 2008. As someone both bored by cars and troubled by profligate property damage, I knew innately that these movies were not for me. He has sexual tension with his sister and his brother, and Letty accepts this. Bow Wow

A man who is friends with two other men who invent a spaceship with a car on it. He likes numbers, and unlike most of the other characters, he fears and respects death. Letty has two leather jackets: one black, one white. He hands him a Corona. She changes outfits once in the box but has no bathroom. It’s insane. She brings both on a spontaneous trip to a militarized town on a small island. Then NASA Got Involved. Character-by-Character Breakdowns

This is Dom’s mysterious brother, who is so large. I never caught his character name, and I can’t Google it based on my own arbitrary rules governing this piece. Below is an account of my desperate attempt to make sense of the incestuous, destructive vision of the Fast family and to figure out what the hell was going on with everyone, all without doing any sort of ancillary research and paying only as much attention as is physically possible (84 percent). Sex is not even implied offscreen. So I went into the theater merrily blind, asking myself one burning question: Would I be able to understand — and, more important, enjoy — F9 with absolutely zero context? On Time

I can’t speak for the other movies, but the ninth movie is too long. The Guy at the Garage

The guy at the garage tells Vin Diesel that he raised Jakob after Vin Diesel kicked him out for killing his dad. Like, Gaston levels of large. Involved somehow with the magnet. Letty

Letty surely used to be in love with Jordana Brewster but then pitifully married Jordana Brewster’s brother instead. This includes siblings. Her husband is a hedge-fund manager, and her oldest daughter, Coco, is a TikTok influencer. It’s two and a half hours. Which reminds me, where are everyone’s moms? Ramsey

A hacker who can’t drive. The elder Brian “has the safest hands in the world.” I am pretty sure this is Paul Walker, but I don’t want to know if Brian is canonically a ghost or merely a great babysitter. She can climb walls, as evidenced by her rescue of Dom from the bottom of some kind of malevolent indoor well. He also has sexual tension with Jordana Brewster and Dom. Otto

Eastern European, angry for unknown reasons. Jakob

This is Dom’s mysterious brother, who is so large. There’s a fair bit of punching, but it seems perfunctory. However, I can understand how, if you like these movies and find them diverting, they are a nice way to pass time quickly and not think about death (as it does not exist as a concept in earnest here). I bet the production smashed 5,000 cars or more while filming. On Smashing

So much stuff is smashed, often using the magnets. She picks at but does not eat her noodles. When nothing matters, you are free. His child, named Brian, was conceived with another woman who is never named in this film but was killed by Charlize Theron. Helen Mirren

Has two British accents. Is this a franchise-long obsession or simply a desperate attempt to find a new way to smash things after eight movies of smashing things without magnets? I no longer have any idea what I like or what would be fun to do, and I have been inside a lot more cars than is typical, meaning I am approaching a better understanding of what they’re “about.” With all that in mind, I decided I really wanted to go to a movie theater and see F9, which I only now learned is actually the real title of the movie and not just something we’ve been saying at work to save time. Despite the overwhelming sense of sexual baggage and the complex interpersonal histories, nobody actually has any sex. Her hair has been forcibly cut to look like a combination of Justin Bieber’s and Kate Gosselin’s. The last time I checked, he was a hot male romantic lead, and now he’s making jokes about being dumb and eating too much candy. When Dom suggests it may not be the best move, considering their child, Letty looks at him with horror and disgust. One is a child, and one is the person taking care of the child while his parents fuck off around the world for no pay. Cardi B

A fake Interpol agent who used to steal gas in the Dominican Republic and now has a big group of girlfriends who help her do fake Interpol heists at the castle from The Favourite. Is a thief. Jordana Brewster

Also “a Toretto.” She’s a yoga mom who lives in the suburbs but wants back in on the action, i.e., driving everywhere all the time and smashing into things. Has sons. But I quickly decided against doing so for three reasons. Overall Impressions

It’s not an exaggeration to say the entire plot of this movie hinges on magnets. Every Member of the Fast & Furious Family Invited to the F9 Cookout

Tags: He is married (?) to Letty, but it’s a sexless marriage, one born out of convenience and mutual respect. Secretly in love with Letty but can’t act on it because she has four children and lives in Westchester. On Dialogue

Like the television show Friends, the Fast films seem to hinge on the notion that the audience unilaterally adores all of these characters and knows everything about them, and that’s why everything they say is funny and charming, even when they say things like “My ass is en fuego” or “This is like looking for Where’s Waldo at Harry Potter World” or “We got beautiful women, the best cars, the best everything.”

On Driving

The Fasts (as the characters shall collectively be known) all seem profoundly addicted to the act of driving, even when a scene in no way requires driving. He says, “You gotta make peace with the past before you can [something or other verb] the future.” Which, ultimately, is what I’ve done by ignoring all of the Fast and Furious movies.