When the first, relatively modest Fast and the Furious film rode into cinemas in 2001, the World Trade Center was still standing, Billie Eilish was in utero, and Vin Diesel’s on-screen gang of street racers was wanted by the cops for stealing a truckload of . . . video cassette recorders.
Twenty years, four presidencies, and five Kardashian Nobel Prize wins later (note to self: check that), this ninth instalment of the increasingly overstuffed – and outlandish – franchise begins with what feels like a return to its roots.
At a California stock car track in 1989, a young Dominic Toretto (Vinnie Bennett) and his brother Jakob (Finn Cole) are manning the pit crew for their race-driver dad, when a fiery crash claims the old man’s life and drives a bitter wedge between his sons.
It is, of course, a set-up to introduce the series’ latest adversary: the now-adult Jakob (a menacing John Cena), a master assassin who’s spent his life living in the shadow of his older brother, Dom (Vin Diesel) – and who now wants revenge.