John Cena Praises Fast & Furious Franchise’s Huge Evolution Over 9 Movies
John Cena praises the Fast and Furious franchise’s huge evolution across its nine movies and explains why they continue to resonate with audiences. Cena made his debut in the long-running action franchise in F9: The Fast Saga as Jakob Toretto, the estranged brother to Dom and Mia who is now a master thief and high-performance driver after being shunned by Vin Diesel’s team lead for believing him to have killed their father. Jakob initially works with the villain of the film to capture Charlize Theron’s Cipher and acquire the remaining pieces to a device that can hack into any computer weapons system, though eventually works with Dom to stop the two when they attempt to double-cross him.
After successfully defeating the two, Dom, Mia and Jakob would properly reconcile with the former giving him the keys to his car to let him escape in a nod to what Paul Walker’s Brian did for him at the end of the original The Fast and the Furious. Though F9: The Fast Saga ultimately divided critics for its preposterous set pieces and script, Cena’s performance as Jakob was generally welcomed by reviewers and audiences alike, namely for it being a rare villainous turn for the wrestling star, even if he ultimately came around to the good side by the end of the film. While Cena has noted he likely won’t be in Fast and Furious 10 Part 1, he is already honored for having been a part of the franchise in some capacity.
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As part of the lead up to Peacemaker’s finale, Cena caught up with GQ for their series of actors breaking down their most iconic characters. When reflecting on his time in F9: The Fast Saga, the actor expressed his gratitude for being invited to join the series and praised the Fast and Furious franchise’s huge evolution across its nine mainline movies. See what Cena said below:
“Being able to be invited to the Fast franchise, it was awesome. I grew up on those movies, I love car culture, I love the fact that this movie, nobody saw it coming and it took the world by storm. I love how the franchise has evolved into this super almost weird superhero-without-cape spy movie, underground crime scene but good guy big caper, fight evil save the world type stuff. It’s one of those franchises that truly listens to their audience, when their audience says they want something, even when they joke, ‘What are they going to do, go to space?’ Justin Lin’s like, ‘You’re d-mn right we’re going to space in a Pontiac Fiero.’
It’s had enough installments now where the stakes are still serious, the characters are still well-developed, but in the same movie, you get winks to the camera. I really love the franchise and cast and crew, they’re a family. You walk on the set, these people have been doing movies together for 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like that except in the WWE locker. This is a legacy, there’s very few franchises that get to the ninth installment and still say they’re kicking -ss.”
Though reviews for the recent installments have progressively returned to the mixed early days of the series, Cena’s praise for the Fast and Furious franchise’s evolution does ring largely true. The first three films in the series primarily kept the focus on the street racing worlds from which it was born and received generally mixed-to-negative reviews from critics for their basic storytelling and poor writing. The fourth installment, Fast & Furious, marked the first effort to transition the series past its smaller roots to something larger, though still proved to be a misfire with critics.
As Cena discusses, the Fast & Furious franchise would get a major evolution from this formula with 2011’s Fast Five as it transitioned to the international heist and spy genres, which has been largely welcome by critics and audiences alike for helping keep things mostly fresh even as it revisits many of the same tropes. The actor’s note of the creatives behind the series listening to their fanbase also proves to be rather true as audiences had made jokes of sending the characters to space, which ultimately came to be in F9: The Fast Saga. Only time will tell how Justin Lin and co. amp up the stakes next when Fast and Furious 10 Part 1 arrives in theaters on May 19, 2023.
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