Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13| Minutes: 136
Release Date: Aug 2, 2019
I am probably not the right person to be reviewing a film from the Fast & Furious franchise. The 2001 original did so little for me that I ignored all the following sequels, even after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined the party in 2011’s Fast Five. The franchise was originally built on a criminal underworld of car racing then evolved into a globetrotting Bond-esque stunt show on steroids forgoing logic, gravity, and physics for utterly ridiculous action set pieces and larger than life actors and characters. Despite not being a fan of the series, I felt compelled to see the spinoff film Hobbs and Shaw due to the undeniable chemistry of the two leads and a vibe that reminded me of some of my favorite silly action films of the 1980s, namely Commando and Tango & Cash.
If you’ve seen the trailer for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, you get 100% of what you pay for. The film is like a dumbed down version of Mission: Impossible and that’s not an insult. The villain literally calls himself Black Superman and he basically is. Idris Elba’s Brixton is a technologically enhanced supervillain in pursuit of a virus that will eliminate most of humankind. The plan, I guess, is to wipe out enough humans to create the global change we need to ensure the long term survival of human life. Vanessa Kirby (The Crown) stars as Hattie, an MI-6 agent who tries to steal the virus from Brixton and ends up injecting herself to steal it and escape.
In fun split-screen introductions, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) get their missions to bring in Hattie unaware that she’s Shaw’s estranged sister. Soon the three are together and being framed as international terrorists by Brixton’s secret evil group’s computer-voiced big bad. The first half of the film is content giving our main characters long scenes of bickering and insult one-liner that quite frankly are a drawing card for the film. Statham and Johnson are perfectly matched and have wonderful chemistry. And kudos to director David Leitch and writers Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce for including Kirby in on the fun. Not only does she get multiple chances to show off her fighting skills, but she seamlessly weaves herself into the insult game as well. Between this film and her turn in Mission: Impossible — Fallout she is carving out a niche in action films.
There is no bother discussing more of the plot. If you watched the trailer or any of the previous films in the franchise, then you know what to expect and they fully deliver on the absurd over-the-top action. Leitch is a stunt expert who worked on John Wick and directed Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2. His ability to film and deliver action set pieces is really fantastic and this series left “realism” way back in the early 2000s. So when a convoy of attached trucks is chained to a helicopter on a Samoan cliffside and Hobbs has to hold the chain and thus chopper on a hard turn… you kinda just say “screw it” and laugh along with it.
Consistently funny, great action set pieces, and some great cameos (I won’t spoil) make this as easy recommendation. My only complaint, and it’s a minor one, is the length of the film. A film this silly does not need 138 minutes. This is purely a popcorn movie and two hours is usually more than enough time. Add in two mid-credits and a post-credits scene and you feel every minute of the runtime. This is the kind of movie where if you cut a few of the trash-talking scenes between the leads, you make a great Blu-ray extra. And while the cameos are great, some of their scenes overstay their welcome.
But length aside, this as silly and fun a movie you’ll want to see in theaters; a perfect summer fun day at the movies. And I’m much more invested in this spinoff and its potential sequel than I am in another F&F sequel.
4 out of 5 stars.
Follow me on Twitter.