Why F9 Got A Director’s Cut, According to Justin Lin
Director Justin Lin reveals why F9: The Fast Saga is getting a director’s cut. Lin made his return to the Fast & Furious franchise this year after previously directing entries 3 through 6. F9 released domestically in June and is currently the second-highest grossing film of 2021 worldwide.
Beginning in 2001 with The Fast and the Furious, the long-running, car-centric Fast & Furious franchise initially focused on illegal street racing before shifting gears to heists and espionage around Fast Five, in the middle of Lin’s initial tenure. That refocusing brought improved critical reception and encouraged the series to pursue increasingly unreal stunts and set pieces, with audiences returning to each installment to see what feat cars are used to accomplish this time around. In F9, that involved strapping a rocket to a Pontiac Fiero and launching it into space.
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In his exclusive interview with SR, Lin discusses why he decided to give F9 a director’s cut, which is included in the home media versions that release today, September 21. He begins by acknowledging the skepticism around extended editions, which can sometimes be more of a cash-grab than a genuinely distinct version of the film, but reassures fans the added material is impactful. The scenes were cut from the theatrical release purely for pacing reasons:
Well, it’s interesting, because a lot of times when you see and hear extended cut, you’re like, “Oh,” you watch it and you’re like, “Wait, was this like an extra punch in a fight,” or whatever. But I can tell you, I think developing this film… I think coming back, we had even more. It felt like it was like three movies that were squished into one. I don’t even think Fast 9, or F9, is a film. It almost just feels like it was a point in time to be able to connect all these characters. And so, when we were going to the theatrical release, I just felt like, for pacing, I had to take some out. Not for quality, it was just pacing. And so, to be able to have this opportunity, to be able to share everything with the audience, that’s exciting, just to have this medium.
Lin’s director’s cut of F9 is reportedly about seven minutes longer than the theatrical version, and while some of that time extends the climactic chase scene, most of it is new scenes that flesh out the family dynamics. In particular, an early scene between Vin Diesel’s Dom and Jordana Brewster’s Mia shows him actively withholding the return of their brother and the film’s antagonist, Jakob, shedding light on his headspace. Rapper Cardi B also gets an extra scene, adding a twist-component to her cameo in the theatrical version.
While Fast & Furious fans who prefer physical media will have access to it anyway, others will have to decide for themselves if the F9 director’s cut is worth seeking out. From his comments, Lin certainly believes it will be, as committed followers of the franchise will want to spend this extra time with its characters. However, for just seven minutes of extra footage, the cost of a Blu-ray or DVD might seem a bit steep.
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