They finally really did it. Those maniacs behind Fast & Furious have more or less confirmed rumours that the superheroes with carburetors are headed to space. Or maybe somewhere in the exosphere.
Remember the Pontiac strapped to a rocket in the first glimpsed in the Fast & Furious 9 trailer last year (has it really been that long?). In the second trailer, which dropped Wednesday (Apr 14), we get to see the souped-up wheels in action — up in the sky.
In a film series that has seen its fair share of insanely impossible stunts (hello, a Lykan HyperSport crashing through two skyscrapers!?), this one definitely takes the cake. But the gravity-defying antic is, in theory, plausible, claims director Justin Lin.
“I was actually talking to literally rocket scientists,” the Taiwanese-American filmmaker, 49, tells journos via Zoom a few days before the trailer launch.
Also in attendance are Vin Diesel (as ring leader Dominic Toretto), Michelle Rodriguez (Letty), and John Cena, who joins the franchise as Jacob, Dom’s never-heard-of-till-now younger brother and Fast & Furious 9's new antagonist.
“Research was done,” Diesel, 52, chips in. But the meme-friendly sequence, he insists, isn’t spectacle for spectacle’s sake. “When you see it, you [also] see the storyline that runs through the movie that has to deal with their characters’ evolution.” Okay...
For Lin — who left the series after helming 2006’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, 2009’s Fast & Furious and 2013’s Fast & Furious 6 — his return to the carmegeddon saga affords him the opportunity to undo a terrible injustice done to one of the beloved characters: Han, the street racer and avid peanut-eater played by Sung Kang.
In the final moments of Fast & Furious 6 (an extension of the scene in Tokyo Drift), it was revealed that Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw was behind Han’s fiery death. For a while, Shaw was the villain but in an incongruous detour in Fast & Furious 8, he got upgraded to good-guy status.
Not only did Shaw not receive any retribution, he also went on to have his own spin-off, shared with Dwayne Johnson’s DSS agent Luke Hobbs. Meanwhile, Han’s death was all but forgotten. What gives? It’s probably the most racist thing in the series that prides itself to be inclusive and diverse.
Lin found out about the twist during the Q&A at the 15th anniversary Sundance screening of his 2002 breakout Better Luck Tomorrow (which co-starred Sung Kang). “When I found out about it, it baffled me too,” says Lin.
“What’s great is that now I’m back and we get to correct something that made no sense,” he continues. “When I left [the series], Shaw had killed Han and all of a sudden, Shaw is part of Dom’s family with no discourse. It was very odd.”
Other wow-moments revealed in the second epic (almost four-minute long!) trailer is an extended truck-flip sequence that will make the one in The Dark Knight look like child’s play.
Is Lin worried that the trailers might be a tad — what’s that word? — spoilerific? “I can promise you, you can watch these two trailers and there’s still a lot of things that have not been disclosed,” he reassures us.
Fast & Furious 9 opens in cinemas May 27.