F9 has no shortage of physics-defying action moments, but Roman avoiding being crushed by an exploding truck seems suspect even for this series.
F9: The Fast Saga places Roman right above a landmine while he’s climbing out of a falling truck and miraculously (but unsurprisingly for the Fast & Furious series), has him survive the entire ordeal. Not only does Roman manage to wriggle his way out of the truck and narrowly escape activating the detonator, but he also walks away unscathed after that same truck explodes and lands on top of him. So — how, exactly, did he not die?
It seems futile to even ask that question in the same movie that features a Dodge Charger rope swinging across a chasm and a Pontiac Fiero traveling to outer space, but there’s something so blatantly brash about seeing a truck physically fall on top of Roman and then watching him walk out of the wreckage. Even Roman himself seems particularly taken aback by the event, which causes him to question his own mortality (or rather, lack thereof). The fact that he survived activating a landmine because his truck was traveling at 70 mph instead of the apparently safer 80 mph is enough cause for interrogation. Walking out of a truck that just fell on top of him, however, is a god-like miracle that’s enough to give Roman an existential crisis.
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Tej, like everyone else watching, asks Roman how in the world he survived the landmine explosion sequence. Roman’s exasperated, unintelligible mumble in reply is truly a vocalization of how this franchise has treated all the ways its characters have escaped death. There’s no real explanation as to how a human being could possibly survive being crushed by a truck other than the very unlikely scenario that there’s a perfectly sized hole that spares the otherwise pancaked victim, and even then it doesn’t make sense how the flames from the landmine explosion wouldn’t toast Roman alive.
The only possible explanation is that Roman and the rest of the F&F crew literally have invincibility powers similar to those in a comic-book universe, a conclusion that Roman draws soon afterward. Tej and Ramsey call him an idiot for his theory, but the gag is that Roman is totally right in questioning why he and his fellow teammates have survived miracles without any injuries whatsoever. It’s as if he’s on the verge of figuring out that he’s a fictional character in a series of progressively crazier action films, and his observations end up defining his arc throughout the remainder of the movie.
The entire landmine sequence is F9‘s first big, spectacularly unrealistic action setpiece that the Fast & Furious franchise has become most known for, and it represents yet another milestone for the series’ unabashed rejection of the laws of physics and embracing of unrealistic action. Tej, with all of his number-crunching knowledge of “math and science,” is a more spectacular character than the seemingly goofy Roman because the latter seems to have an understanding that “physics” is whatever director Justin Lin says it is. That’s the real reason why Roman was able to survive climbing out of a vertical truck, jumping down and nearly landing on a mine, and walking out of a burning vehicle without a scratch.
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