F9: The Fast Saga (2021) | 4K Blu-ray Review

From trading pink slips while racing suped up street cars in 2001 to piloting a rocket-strapped Pontiac Fiero into low earth orbit, the family from the Fast and the Furious franchise have certainly had quite the adrenaline packed journey over the past 20 years. While the movies are happy to play fast and loose with the laws of physics, let’s see if they did the same with the technical quality of this 4K release.

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

F9, 4K Blu-ray cover art

Tech Specs:

Format(s):UltraHD/4K Blu-ray (BD-66)
Blu-ray (BD-50)
Digital code
Released By:Universal Pictures Home Entertrainment
Release Date:September 21st, 2021
Video Format / Codec:4K: H.265 (HEVC)
Upscaled 4K, 2160/24p 
(3280 x 2160 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)

Full HD, 1080/24p 
(1920 x 1080 at 23.976 frames/sec, progressive)
Digital Intermediate (DI):2K (from digital RAW, 35 mm negatives)
High-Dynamic Range (HDR):Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10
Aspect Ratio:2.39:1
Audio Format(s):English (4K): Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

English (4K): Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

Additional tracks also available in French and Spanish
Subtitles:English SDH, French, Spanish
Packaging:Dual disc snap case w/ slipcover*

*Slipcover may only be available on initial  pressing
Region Coding:4K: Region-free
BR: Region A (locked)

Video Review:

All and all, this release is a mixed bag on the 4K front. While there is a lot visually to like here, it’s also just not as sharp as one would have hoped for. While it does look decent, there is definitely a drop back in fine details especially when it comes to skin textures and environmental details. While some scenes definitely do get a bit sharper, it at times felt like I had switched back and forth to the standard Blu-ray throughout the movie.  While Looking back at the previous 8 films that were released on 4K, none of these films were razor sharp, so F9 fits right in

As the movie goes back and forth between current times and the late 80s to mid 90s, so does the technology used to capture the footage. The “current” scenes are all shot digitally and noticeably are cleaner looking, although digital noise is definitely still present. The flashbacks are all shot on film and so have a bit of film grain. I p[ersonally liked the choice to do this from a filmmaking standpoint, but if you are not a fan of grain, then you may go back and forth from being pleased, to being distracted.

From a color standpoint, this disc comes loaded with HDR10, HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The difference between the static and dynamic formats on screen is very subtle, with the latter definitely getting the slight edge. Overall, I would also say that while certain colors were cleaner and more full on the disc, it was not a world of difference.

From a shadows and highlights perspective, it does a decent job, but I did get some mild artifacting in some of the darker areas of the screen. Highlights were controlled, and specular highlights were bright and impactful.

Surprisingly, the Blu-ray in this release was absolutely wonderful looking for the 1080p format. As mentioned above, the 4K was in and out when it came to detail which almost was a more distracting viewing experience than having it remain at a high quality Blu-ray level of detail. Colors on the standard Blu-ray were also really well handled, only getting slightly edged out by the 4K, a result of the limitations of the 8-bit color depth. Overall, it was an incredibly strong showing on the standard Blu, so compared to it’s 1080p peers, it’s quite impressive.

Video Score (4K): 3.9 / 5

Video Score (BR): 4.6 / 5

Audio Review:

Deviating from the past use of DTS:X, both discs included in this F9 set share the same Dolby Atmos track. It’s a strong track, but much like its video counterpart it’s a bit inconsistent (although to a lesser level than the visuals). Dialog remained clean and clear throughout with the musical score matching.

Surround and overhead effects were definitely on display in many of the scenes in this movie. Whether it be the drone flyovers near the end of the film, or atmospheric effects during some of the flashback sequences, the enveloping speaker layout definitely was in use. There were definitely some scenes where it sounded a little light up top and without the same immersiveness, so it feels like they amped up the effects when needed, and turned them down a bit particularly on some of the more visually impressive scenes (maybe they were hoping you wouldn’t notice???).

Bass and LFE are definitely present with explosions and gunfire coming to life, but without the demo-quality level one might have hoped for given the adrenaline fueled action sequences throughout. While I certainly did not find it disappointing, it just left something to be desired in some parts of the movie.

Audio Score (4K/BR): 4.3 / 5

Special Features and Packaging:

For a standard Universal release, I think this meets expectations from both a special features and packaging standpoint. The biggest feature we got was the inclusion of both the theatrical and a director’s cut of the film. While the latter is certainly not a game changer, it was a nice inclusion. As for supplemental special features we get a handful of featurettes, including a 9-part series called F9: All-in. Additionally you get some behind the scenes gag reels and deleted scenes, a dive into the history and connections to the past movies, a fun look at John Cena’s favorite supercars and a pretty good audio commentary from Justin Lin (director/co-writer/ producer). It should be noted that the features are in a mix of 4K and 1080p, but all in standard dynamic range. The 4K quality matched the slightly softer look of the film. That being said, and given the habit of many studios to cheap out on these modern releases, this was a pleasant surprise that they included as much as they did.

Packing hits the same notes, with the same artwork on the slipcover, case and 4K disc, and standard looking Blu-ray.  It’s nothing to show off, but it definitely meets the mark of expectations.

Features Score: 3.9 / 5


For the video and audio presentation alone, and especially if you are a fan of superhero-type movies, this is definitely one to pick up. If you have 4K capability, I would definitely spend the few extra bucks to pick this up, as there was a noticeable upgrade in both fronts over the standard 1080p Blu-ray. Now, if you can wait, this will definitely drop from the new release price tag of $30 to where Marvel 4Ks tend to settle in right around $20, but I cannot say exactly when that will happen, so you’ll have to balance your patience with your budget.

Buy/Upgrade Recommendation: No, pick up the standard Blu-ray instead

If after checking out the review, you decide to pick it up, you can find it here*: Amazon

Summary and Overall Scores:

This release pretty much hit what I expected. The picture is decent, but not a huge jump up, and the audio is mostly an immersive powerhouse that could have used a touch more low-end oomph. It also hit my expectations for this level release on the features and packaging front. Unfortunately the biggest reason not to buy this release is that the standard Blu-ray gets you 95% of the way there and so it does hurt the ownership experience if you dropped more money without a whole lot to show for it. 

Experience Score**: 3.9 / 5  (Above Average)

** Experience score does not take into account the quality of the film itself, just the technical presentation, packaging and included features.

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