Fans fuel F9

A week in and F9, the ninth instalment in the Fast & Furious movie franchise, is still hot.

According to its North American box office, it should cross the $100 million mark after its second weekend in theatres. For its second week locally, automotive YouTuber Nic Lue and a few of his friends brought their high octane power to the July 3 showing of the movie at the New Kingston Drive-in, New Kingston.

“It’s been like a two year hiatus since the last one, so we’re looking forward to seeing what’s happening, some more car action versus that shooting stuff,” said Lue.

As a significant part of the Jamaican modified performance vehicle scene, Lue is no stranger to supporting the Fast & Furious series. He’s done so from the 3rdmovie. This had not gone unnoticed by Palace Amusement who partnered with him to add some energy to the movie night.

“The drive-in has done fairly well. We’ve gotten a pretty good response, but Fast & Furious is what’s really bringing out the crowd. It’s bringing out the young drivers,” said Steven Cooke, Director — Palace Amusement.

Cooke added that he reached out to Lue to help promote the movie and the drive-in. Lue said he had no problems filling the twenty-five spots allocated to him by Palace Amusement as everyone he spoke to were fans of Fast & Furious.

“People are still a little weary, but we have all the protocols in place. We’re allowed to have as many cars as we have spaces,” said Cooke.

Cooke explained that the pull of the drive-in is the ability to enjoy one’s self from the comfort and safety of their own vehicle, while enjoying the amenities provided by the drive-in. He described the COVID-19 safety protocols that were in effect all through the venue, including the concession stand.

On Lue’s end, he dipped into his lengthy contacts list and brought out twenty-five of the hottest performance rides around, including something brand-new to the island.

“It wouldn’t be a good premiere without a new car in it,” said Lue.

Eyes ogled as the impressive line of sports cars slowly formed ahead of the movie. Many were drawn to the box fresh 2021 BMW M3 Competition amongst the group modified Japanese cars. Owned by self-professed BMW fanatic Sanjay Bowla, like all present he was ready to see F9.

“I’ve been watching Fast & Furious from the inception, from the very first one,” said Bowla.

His love for the series hasn’t been dampened by the fact that his favourite brand, BMW and European performance cars in general, have been rather underrepresented in the eight movies so far. He hoped that would change in the latest instalment.

Also he wanted to see how his favourite character Han Lue, portrayed by actor Sung Kang, survived his deadly crash from Fast & Furious 6.

Just as unavoidable as Bowla were Kenito and Jodianne Murdock. The married pair used F9 as a date night, but drove separately in their 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Xs.

If their lowered stance, and big rims weren’t enough, Kenito’s Evolution X was as bright a yellow as could be, while his wife matched with a just as striking blue. For them the anticipation to see the new F9 was high.

“We’re here to see the cars in F9,” said Kenito.

“The storyline for the Fast & Furious movies has been good. It was a bit heart-breaking when Paul Walker died and it’s always interesting to see what they’re going to come with. So F9 should be pretty interesting,” said Jodianne.

She was also intrigued by the fact that she would be watching the movie sitting in her car.

“Seeing it at a drive-in adds something extra to it, definitely, because while watching it at home we picture ourselves in the actual movies, but now that we’re in our cars it’s like we’re right there in the driving action,” added Jodianne.

One person would couldn’t wait to see F9 on the big screen was Tiffany McDaniel. Leading the pack of twenty-five, she was the first to drive into the venue with her 2010 Nissan 370Z.

“I’m so excited to watch the movie in my own car. This is something I always thought we should do,” McDaniel said.

A Fast & Furious fan through and through, she explained that she had already been into cars before the first movie arrived.

“After the movie came out, I was just like, this is my life. This will be my life forever, it’s all about cars and the tuners for me,” McDaniel exclaimed.