Sunday, 01 August 2021

‘F9’ drives fast-paced action; ‘Bosch’ goes out on top



‘F9: THE FAST SAGA’ RATED PG-13

The “Fast & Furious” franchise has been running for twenty years, and if it were not for the “F9: The Fast Saga” title, one could easily lose count of its number of installments.

“Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw,” a spin-off film, does not count for the franchise, otherwise we would be watching “F10.” Yet, keep an eye out here for one of its protagonists.

“F9” opens with Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto living the quiet life on a farm with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, little Brian. Fans should not worry that Dom’s past of danger and driving fast cars is behind him.

In less time than it takes Dom to go from zero to 60 mph, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) show up with news that CIA mastermind Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) has been captured after a plane crash.

Entering the mix of bad guys plotting world domination with the theft of a secret device that is part of Project Ares that could destroy the security systems of all nations is Dom’s forsaken brother Jakob (John Cena).

Part of the reason for the film’s nearly two-and-a-half hours length are the numerous flashbacks to Dom’s uneasy childhood, the reasons for the sibling rivalry and the fiery death of the father. The Toretto family has its own soap opera.

A more odious villain is a rich Eurotrash psycho named Otto (Thue Ersted Rasmussen). The villainous Cipher (Charlize Theron), spending most of her time in a plexiglass cage, figures into the plot.

Not to be overlooked is Helen Mirren’s Queenie, showing up to take Dom on a fast spin through London streets.

If you’ve ever wondered if a Pontiac Fiero could be outfitted with rockets and hurtled into space with Roman and Tej as humorously bickering astronauts, then you probably know the answer either from watching the trailer or knowing that nothing can be too far-fetched.

Coming right to the point, “F9” has little to do with any confusing storylines and plot holes or the characters; it’s all about over-the-top action sequences with an incredibly high toll of vehicles destroyed in spectacular fashion.

All in all, “F9” is mindless fun to be enjoyed by an audience that will care absolutely not in the least whatever negativity emanates from high-brow critics. This escapist fare will be gleefully savored for all its exciting thrills.



‘BOSCH’ ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

One of the best police procedurals is only getting better in its seventh and final season on Amazon Prime Video. In “Bosch,” Titus Welliver returns in the eponymous role of Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch.

Working out of the Hollywood Homicide division, Bosch has seen it all but what disturbs him the most is any vile and horrific mistreatment of children, including grisly abuse, sex trafficking and murder.

Going by his credo of “Everybody counts or nobody counts,” Bosch becomes obsessed with the investigation of an apartment building arson fire when a ten-year-old girl dies along with her mother and other family members.

An irreverent detective who often has a problem with authority, Bosch follows his instincts and willingly bends a few rules in pursuit of justice, particularly for the most vulnerable victims.

At his desk in the police station, Bosch keeps photos of kids either missing or dead in cases that remain unsolved. The pictures are a reminder that the stoic detective will keep plodding along even if he has to clash with bureaucratic obstacles.

The arson fire was caused by a Molotov cocktail tossed into the apartment building by a local gang, and when Bosch and his partner Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) investigate they find themselves in a possible conflict with an FBI probe.

Several subplots run throughout the season. Bosch’s daughter Maddie (Madison Lintz) is still interning with defense lawyer Honey “Money” Chandler (Mimi Rogers) on a case that takes a dangerous turn.

The Hollywood division’s Lt. Grace Billets (Amy Aquino) endures the treachery of office politics and a workplace harassment campaign seemingly orchestrated by a pair of sexist beat cops.

Chief of Police Irvin Irving (Lance Reddick) faces a threat to his career from a hostile new mayor, and with the dynamics on a Police Commission subject to political pressure, does the Chief have any leverage to win another term?

What matters most and holds the greatest interest in this last season is how dogged Bosch becomes to bring justice for the young arson victim regardless of whatever the cost may be to his position at LAPD.

Since it’s been widely announced that the “Bosch” series will have a spin-off show on Amazon’s free streaming service IMDb TV, there’s good reason for viewers to hang in during the last episode when the screen goes dark.

Previous seasons had ten episodes, so it’s a shame this last one only has eight. Savor every moment of “Bosch” and marvel at how good a television series can be with the right cast, script and production.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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