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35 Things We Learned from Justin Lin’s ‘F9: The Fast Saga’ Commentary

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“It’s always better to have more than less.”


By Rob Hunter · Published on September 22nd, 2021

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter presses the pedal to the medal with the latest entry in the The Fast Saga, F9.

Whether you love or hate the Fast & Furious franchise, there’s no denying the behemoth it has become. From a movie about street racing and minor thefts to giant blockbusters dealing with international espionage, world-threatening tech, and more, this is an escalating series of over-the-top, nonsense-fueled shenanigans. The latest entry, F9, is no different and sees some of the gang finally head to space… because why not?

The film is new to disc complete with an F9 commentary from Justin Lin. This is his fifth time behind the wheel of a Fast film, and he has plenty to share about where the franchise has been, where it’s going, and what the hell is happening in F9. Keep reading to see what I heard on the director’s cut commentary for F9!

Commentator: Justin Lin (director, co-writer)

1. Lin has been a fan of the Universal Pictures logo since childhood, and he chose this older style one to coincide with the opening late 80s-set flashback.

2. He feels that Vinnie Bennett embodies young Dom Toretto well “but at the same time brings something that is original and new to the character.”

3. Lin loved the concept of bringing in a lost Toretto, someone never mentioned across the previous eight films, but he was incredibly nervous that they wouldn’t be able to find someone to help pull it off. He met with John Cena, though, and “within the first thirty seconds I was able to breathe.”

4. He and Vin Diesel have been talking about a “final chapter in the saga” for a decade. This is the first entry in that chapter, and while he thought he was done with the franchise after Fast & Furious 6 (2013) he realized these final story beats needed to be told. He sees it as having the characters explore the mythologies of their past so they can keep moving forward.

5. One of the scenes restored into the director’s cut is a brief reunion between Dom and Mia (Jordana Brewster) when she arrives to babysit.

6. Phuket, Thailand stands in for the Central American country the team heads to early on.

7. Lin helped moved the franchise into “world-ending” scenarios with Fast 6, but he was torn on doing it again for F9. He ultimately decided he had to respect where the franchise went after he left — “it’s kind of gone a lot more sci-fi” — and while it took some effort he felt it was the right thing to do. Lin does suggest that this might be the last such endeavor, adding “as we going into our final chapter, we’re gonna be exploring our characters through other elements.”

8. He wanted to start the action with a more tactile sequence, hence the cars running and exploding through........

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