After slowly receiving more mixed reviews, the critical approval rating for F9: The Fast Saga on Rotten Tomatoes falls to a "Rotten" rating. The latest chapter in the Fast & Furious series saw director Justin Lin return to the fold and bring Sung Kang's Han Lue with him after it was believed he was killed by Jason Statham's Deckard Shaw in Fast & Furious 6/Tokyo Drift. The film also saw John Cena as Dominic Toretto's estranged brother, master thief, and assassin Jakob.
Kang's Han isn't the only character to return to the fold as the story sees Dom and his crew forced to face off against Charlize Theron's cyberterrorist Cipher after the events of The Fate of the Furious. Finally hitting theaters in the US this past weekend after multiple COVID-19-related delays, the film certainly helped reignite the box office, bringing in an estimated $70 million, the highest-grossing weekend opener since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December 2019. Unfortunately, though the dollar signs are ringing in producers' heads, the critics aren't singing the same level of praises.
With early reactions skewing very positively for the film, its earlier debut overseas saw a more mixed reception from critics. Despite initially opening at a "Fresh" rating of 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, those who took to domestic cinemas over the weekend have shared their thoughts, and F9 now officially sits at a "Rotten" rating of 59% on the review aggregate. Read the critical consensus below:
"F9 sends the franchise hurtling further over the top than ever, but director Justin Lin's knack for preposterous set pieces keeps the action humming."
Since its debut in 2001, the Fast and Furious franchise has never been one to aim for critical heights, instead choosing to deliver consistently exciting and large-scale action sequences. That being said, after its first four poorly-received outings, the series started to turn things around with Fast Five, scoring its first "Certified Fresh" rating of 77%. This positive change of the tides continued as Fast & Furious 6 scored a 70% "Fresh" rating, Furious 7 a "Certified Fresh" 82%, and both Fate and Hobbs & Shaw landing "Fresh" 67% ratings.
The writing certainly seemed on the wall beginning with Fate, which couldn't come close to the emotional and high-octane ride that was James Wan's Furious 7. That being said, the eighth installment was still able to keep things from feeling just the right amount of ludicrous while delivering the soapy melodrama fans have come to expect from the franchise, making the lower reviews of F9: The Fast Saga a bit of a disappointment for some. With only two mainline installments remaining in the series, one can only hope the creative powers learn from the mistakes of the past few films and find a way to deliver better final chapters in the franchise.