F9: The Fast Saga

My Favourite Films of 2021

Another odd year in terms of film releases. In the UK cinemas were shut until around May and what makes up my top ten of the year are a combination of streaming releases, films I saw at film festivals, and ones that were released in the cinema. These are in no particular order but they are all films that I thoroughly enjoyed for various reasons – some made me happy, some made me sad, and some made me feel both happy and sad during their runtime.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
I did not know what to expect going into Shang-Chi but I had a total blast with it – in fact, it’s the only film I saw more than once in the cinema and I rewatched it at home over Christmas and enjoyed it even more. The characters and their relationships stay at the heart of everything, even when things get a bit CGI-heavy in the final act.

Moxie
I read and loved the book years ago and thought this was a great adaptation. The young cast were great and though the feminist themes are as heavy as a sledgehammer I thought managed to cover intersectional feminism in a fun but understandable way for teens.

Spider-Man: No Way Home
This was so full of nostalgia and I absolutely loved it. Still haven’t managed to see No Way Home again but I really want to as that was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in the cinemas in ages.

Everything in the End
An end of the world film full of melancholy and human connection and it just worked so well. it especially resonated now after what I’ve experienced during a pandemic.

F9
Was the latest Fast and Furious film the most over the top and ridiculous yet? Yes. Did I enjoy every second of it? Also, yes. I love this franchise and the latest instalment was everything I loved about it cranked up to 11. The villain was lacking a bit but I loved Han coming back and his pseudo-daughter and how Mia returned too.

Boss Level
I’ll watch pretty much anything Frank Grillo is in and Boss Level was great. It’s fun, innovative, interesting and just pure entertaining. I enjoyed how you learn the rules of this world pretty quick but there’s still things for you to figure out.

Beyto
I absolutely fell in love with this film and its three main characters. It’s about Beyto, the only son of a Turkish migrant family who falls in love with his swimming coach Mike. When his parents find out they plan to marry him to his childhood best friend Seher in order to solve the perceived problem. This unlikely love triangle is so sad but hopeful at the same time and I loved all three of them and it’s one of those films that when it ended, I’d love to see what the three of them are up to in a few years’ time.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye
This isn’t released till February here in the UK but I got to see it at a film festival and had such a great time with it. I didn’t know the people and events it was based on but I loved both Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield’s performances.

Tick, Tick… Boom!
Andrew Garfield really had a great year. I have not seen RENT (movie or stag version) nor is my musical theatre knowledge that great so I knew next to nothing about Jonathan Larson before watching Tick, Tick… Boom! Turns out I loved the songs and the story and how relatable it was. It’s funny and sad but hopeful and yeah, Andrew Garfield was fantastic and has a wonderful voice.

The Rescue
One of the last films I watched in 2021 and it was a great choice to round out the year. incredibly gripping and interesting documentary about how the boys football team was rescued from the caves in Thailand. The reconstructions were so well done and how it showed how the help came from the most unexpected places shows how people are good actually.

What were some of your favourite films you saw last year?

TRAILER REACTION: F9: The Fast Saga

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, or if you even follow me on Twitter, you’ll probably know that I bloomin’ love the Fast & Furious franchise. They are a series of films that have gotten bigger, bolder, and more gravity and physics-defying with each instalment. They have evolved from petty criminals and street races to unlikely international crime fighters and the odd street race. And in this unlikeliest of film franchises, the core theme of them is family and it has my favourite trope – the family of choice.

Last night the first trailer for Fast & Furious 9 (which has continued the franchises trend of having odd and inconsistent names and is actually supposed to be called F9: The Fast Saga) dropped and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night. So, here are my probably out of order and very excited thoughts and predictions about what is definitely my most anticipated film of 2020.

First of all, this trailer is very rude for starting off with the piano bit from “See You Again”. Does it want to make me cry in less than 30 seconds?! But it is really cute seeing Dom, Letty and kid Brian being a happy family. Side note: #JusticeForElena

There’s so much I love about this trailer. I love how the song choices are edited to the action and there’s so many great sound beats. Those big dramatic pauses like when Letty reveals that John Cena is Dom’s (and also presumably Mia’s) brother! And I really love the shots of Mia and Letty taking down bad guys together and then Letty going out of a window.

I think it’s great that Mia’s back. I just hope that Mia and Brian are still together with their kids. I’m sure they will be as I can’t imagine them killing Brian off screen but it’s still a small worry. I want Brian to be looking after Jack and their other child and kid Brian while Mia goes to help Dom. I can imagine kid Brian being sent to adult Brian’s because I doubt there’s anyone else Dom would trust to look out for his son while the gang save the day.

I also love that Helen Mirren is back as Magdalene Shaw. I just love that she’s in these films in general, never mind that she’s the matriarch of this crime family – although only one of them really is into crime, one was an MI6 agent and the other was in the army before they were framed and then turned to the life of crime. Who knew I could end up having almost as many emotions about the Shaw family as I do about the Toretto family?

And Charlize Theron is back as Cipher too! I love a female villain (even though she has a terrible haircut) and I’m interested in seeing her join forces with Jacob, and how their plan will come down in flames.

This trailer has everything I could want from a Fast and Furious trailer. The stunts defy physics, it looks so much fun, and it’s got so many of the old favourites back again to fight for their family. Vin Diesel is brooding, Tyresse Gibson is screaming, and Letty and Dom are being #couplegoals. It’s Fast and Furious and I love it.

Just when it looks like this trailer can’t get any better and I can’t get any more hyped – the ending happens. Han’s back from the dead! I legit flailed and had the biggest grin on my face, I couldn’t believe they’d kept it a secret and it was such a great surprise. And I love how the tag line is “Justice is Coming” when there was a whole #JusticeForHan twitter campaign after Deckard Shaw kinda joined the Toretto family by the end of Fast and Furious 8.

Yes, then there’s the whole thing of “How’s Han not dead when Jason Statham killed him?” Side note: I’m forever impressed at how they edited Jason Statham so seamlessly into Tokyo Drift so it could be revealed that Han’s car accident wasn’t an accident and Deckard Shaw was the one that caused it. But this franchise has brought characters back from the dead before! Letty was killed in Fast & Furious (number 4) only to have it revealed at the end of Fast Five that she was apparently back from the dead, and then in Fast & Furious 6 it was really her and she’d survived her car exploding but she had amnesia. I’m sure they can just as seamlessly do another edit of Tokyo Drift showing that Han had managed to get out of the car before it caught fire. Plus, Owen Shaw didn’t even die after he got thrown from a moving plane and Dom didn’t die after a whole multi-storey carpark fell on him, so the laws of nature don’t apply to these films as well.

Sure, all of that kind of means the stakes are lessened as we know our heroes are going to make it out alive (maybe not in this film, but in another one surely) but I don’t really care, because the characters don’t know that and for all the action and spectacle, what makes me come back to these films again and again is the characters and their relationships.

An argument that could be made is that the marketing team shouldn’t have put the Han reveal in the trailer, that seeing Han return when watching the film for the first time without out any prior knowledge would’ve had more of an impact. I can agree with that, but how many people would be tweeting “OMG Han’s back!” as soon as they get out of the cinema on opening day, spoiling it for everyone else? I think from a marketing point of view, having Han in the trailer gives another aspect to the publicity surrounding the film, and the filmmakers can somewhat control spoilers from the outset. I’m pretty sure Sung Kang hasn’t gone to any of the premiers for Fast and Furious films he wasn’t in, so seeing him there might’ve tipped some people off as well, so maybe it’s better to get the reveal out there and go from there.

Apparently the tenth Fast and Furious film is going to be the last one, and to continue the theme of people not staying dead, it’d be great if at the end of F9 it was revealed that Gisele was still alive and then she can join the family for one last ride. That would also mean that Han and Gisele could drive off into the sunset together which would be amazing.

I just love these films so much and will never get tired of their ridiculousness. I think the reasons these films work so well, even with all the retcons they’ve had over the past nine films (ten if you include Hobbs & Shaw), is that they just go for it wholeheartedly and embrace the ridiculousness. The rules do not apply to the world of the Fast and Furious and that is OK.

Have you watched the F9: The Fast Saga trailer as many times as I have? What do you make of it? I will be there opening day and it will be glorious.