When it comes to family, bigger is always better – and no franchise knows that like “The Fast Saga.”
Over the years, the “Fast” films have proven this time and time again, whether it’s by adding new characters to the crew, bringing back “dead” characters, or just constantly raising the stakes and the action. Most recently, “F9’s” glorious, over-the-top, extraterrestrial adventure proved this once again on the big screen.
But now “F9” is coming home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, and with that home release things are getting even bigger, thanks to the new extended Director’s Cut.
“F9” already clocked in as the longest film of the nine-movie saga so far, so what’s wrong with adding a bit more to it? While director Justin Lin’s extended cut is by no means revolutionary – it adds just six minutes to the overall runtime – it does provide some interesting context, character development and, of course, action.
A bit of that extra time is used to enhance the film’s final chase sequence as Dom (Vin Diesel) and the gang face off against Jakob (John Cena) and his armored battering ram of a truck. Beyond the action, though, there are a few more meaningful additions.
In the theatrical cut, Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) does not appear until around the 40-minute mark, but a deleted scene here changes that. Instead, the director’s cut shows Dom call Mia before the crew departs on their first mission, as his sister arrives to play babysitter for little Brian. The scene adds a sentimental moment between the two as they reflect on their late father and also discuss Brian (the late Paul Walker). When Mia asks Dom for details about the trouble, he refuses to divulge the fact that it’s their own estranged brother who’s threatening the world, which makes Mia’s “You should have told me!” when she later appears all the more powerful.
Another added scene comes in the form of the flashbacks that were scattered throughout the film, as young Dom (Vinnie Bennett) reunites with his crew after his stint in prison. While we did see these younger versions of Letty, Vince and Jesse all briefly appear in the theatrical cut, this sequence adds a bit of depth. The budding relationship between Dom and Letty is already obvious, but the relationship between young Mia and her brother, Jakob, gets more important characterization here.
The final “notable” new addition, if you can call it that, comes in an added scene for rapper Cardi B as Leysa, the leader of an all-female crew, who randomly helps spring Dom from Jakob’s trap. This scene doesn’t go into detail explaining who Leysa is – for what it’s worth, she’s the sister of Cara, a member of Dom’s Dominican Republic crew in the fourth film, “Fast & Furious,” and its short film prequel – but it at least makes her appearance less jarring when she later pulls off her helmet.
All in all, the director’s cut doesn’t drastically change the meaning of “F9” or the overall experience, but it does add some fun context – just like the rest of the bonus features included in the home release. Let’s take a look.
Special Features on 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 “F9” propels 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.
- FEATURE COMMENTARY (THEATRICAL AND DIRECTOR’S CUT) WITH PRODUCER/CO-WRITER/DIRECTOR JUSTIN LIN
- GAG REEL
Zach Goins is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association based in Raleigh, N.C. Zach co-founded Inside The Film Room in 2018 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of the website and co-host of the podcast. Zach also serves as a film critic for CLTure.org.