F9: The Fast Saga – 4K and Blu-Ray review

No one can accuse the Fast and Furious Saga of ever trying to do anything more than satisfy its fanbase. It’s a simple strategy, but one that isn’t shared for studios with every franchise (see Warner Bros.’ with its DC films). With eight films and one spin-off in the tank, the franchise could understandably be running on fumes at this point.

With F9: The Fast Saga, the franchise proves there’s still plenty ridiculous spectacles, outrageous action sequences and heart left in this series. Plus, they go to space!

Movie Review:

Borrowing a playbook from soap operas, this installment introduces Dom (Vin Diesel) and Mia (Jordana Brewster)’s previously never mentioned outcast brother Jakob (John Cena). And somehow fan favorite Han (Sung Kang) has returned from certain death to kick it with the family again too.

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Longtime franchise players Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris and Nathalie Emmanuel also return as well as newer franchise players Kurt Russell and Charlize Theron. There’s a few unexpected stunt cameos as well, but the franchise respects its cone of credibility and only uses them in bit roles.

Justin Lin returns to direct following a mini-hiatus after helming the third through sixth installments. Lin gets the franchise like few others and  led the shift from a race culture film to a more action-oriented series. It should be hard for Lin to top some of the abundantly outlandish stunts and action scenes from previous films, but he’s still got a few more creative over the top scenarios yet to play out.

The series long since jumped the realistic action shark several installments ago. Now it’s time to just sit back, check your brain at the door and enjoy the lunacy in all of its spectacular glory.

For such an adrenaline rush series, performances have never been a weak spot. Giving more significant screen time to vets like Theron and Russell can’t hurt and the cast has played their roles so long their interactions feel comforting like that favorite meal at a restaurant that never disappoints.

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Essentially swapping one wrestler turned movie star from Dwayne Johnson to John Cena doesn’t impact F9 at all. Cena is a natural fit for this franchise and works in like he’s been a part from early on.  Sadly, it seems like a clash of Hobbs and Jakob might not play out on the big screen.

Check out the full review of the film here.

Video Quality:

As you’d expect, the 2160p/4K UHD version is an enhancement over the Blu-Ray although not as major an upgrade as in some cases. The UHD version provides improvements with more natural colors — darker blacks, bold reds, explosions and blue-grey skies.

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Face detail and clothing are where you’ll note the biggest upgrade from the Blu-Ray, which was overall excellent, but not quite at this level.  As the franchise leans further into CGI territory, the video quality keeps everything looking like a cohesive part of the environment without the clear delineation of where the set ends and the green screen begins.

Audio Quality:

Universal delivers a Dolby Atmos mix  with Dolby Digital 2.0 for the bonus content. This series is all about booming action, roaring engines and lately, lots of bullets spraying in every which direction. With a relatively strong sound system, this makes for reference quality audio.

Special Features on 4K, Blu-Ray and Digital:
  • F9: ALL IN: The Fast family invites you to be part of the crew as they give you an intimate look at how F9propels this epic franchise to even greater heights. This bonus feature, with more than 46 minutes of content, includes returning characters, new cast members, huge stunts, big surprises, and so much more.
  • PRACTICALLY FAST: When it comes to stunts, it seems each film in The Fast Saga outdoes the last. In this piece, we examine how Justin Lin and his team go to great lengths to shoot as many stunts as they can in-camera and practically, giving the film an authenticity that cannot be achieved solely through visual effects or CGI.
  • SHIFTING PRIORITIES: We first met many of these characters when The Fast and the Furious was released in 2001. In the 20+ years since, not only have the characters themselves grown and evolved, but so have the actors that portray them. Art often imitates life, and we look at how that’s particularly true in F9.
  • JUSTICE FOR HAN: Han is back! Sung Kang and Justin Lin discuss the genesis for the return of this beloved character, while the cast reveals how much it means to them to have Kang back along for the ride.
  • A DAY ON SET WITH JUSTIN LIN: The job of a director on any movie production is huge. The job of a director on a production the scale of F9 is immeasurable. Spend a day with Justin Lin and see just how demanding it is to navigate a production day when you’re the one with all the answers.
  • JOHN CENA: SUPERCAR SUPERFAN: John Cena is a real-life car expert, and no franchise does cars like Fast. Watch John jump from exotic car to exotic car like a kid in a candy store, giving you a true fan’s look at some of the rarest and most expensive automobiles in the world.

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Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

You can order F9: The Fast Saga at Amazon and Target.

Universal Pictures provided Lyles Movie Files with a 4K/Blu-Ray copy for review purposes.