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F9: The Fast Saga (Universal)

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His past comes back to haunt the retired leader (Vin Diesel) of a crew of street racers when his estranged brother (John Cena) turns out to be the muscle behind the effort of a dictator's evil son (Thue Ersted Rasmussen) to obtain a high-tech weapon that will give the villain world domination.

To foil the scheme, the speed demon reluctantly suspends his happy home life (with Michelle Rodriguez) and rallies his followers (most prominently Tyrese Gibson and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges). Since the protagonist's sister (Jordana Brewster) faces a choice similar to his own, over-the-top action sequences are interspersed with debates about the proper balance between duty and domestic happiness in director and co-writer Justin Lin's addition to the popular "Fast & Furious" franchise.

Nondenominational religious flourishes and an emphasis on the value of family offset occasionally intense showdowns and some unsavory vocabulary, making the film acceptable, on balance, for a broad swath of grown-ups.

Watch out for: Much stylized, though sometimes harsh, violence, brief anatomical humor, at least one use of profanity, about a dozen milder oaths, numerous crude and crass terms.
Rated: A-III, adults. MPAA: PG-13.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021