Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Review
Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eiza Gonzalez, Eddie Marsan, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, John Tui, Joshua Mauga, Joe Anoa’i
Directors: David Leitch
Writers: Chris Morgan (story and screenplay by), Drew Pearce (screenplay by), Gary Scott Thompson (based on characters created by)
If you enjoyed the banter and constant egotistical macho weightlifting between Jason Statham and Dwayne Johson in Fate of The Furious, you’ll be in for a great time with Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. It’s a two-hour version of their argument scene in that film with a couple of new characters thrown in and a continuing amount of muscle-on-muscle action.
Continuing from that eighth entry in the Fast and Furious franchise, Deckard Shaw, once a global terrorist, now an English spy, or something, is pulled into work once again with Luke Hobbs. Their mission, should they choose to work together, is to find Hattie, a special-forces agent that has taken off with a virus that could destroy the world. But she’s being framed for killing her team by Brixton, a cyber-enhanced soldier. On top of that, it’s all about family, as usual, as she’s Deckard’s sister.
Not that the past few Fast and Furious films have been anything close to realistic, but we’re entering new ground here and the more we joke about the final Fast and Furious film being set in space, the more I believe it. Idris Elba as the self-proclaimed ‘Black Superman’ Brixton is the most sci-fantasy the franchise has been pushed so far.
As a villain Elba is a bit of a bore though, he’s never given too much charm or likeability as both Johnson and Statham had when they previously filled a villain role in the franchise. Brixton works for this organisation that I won’t spoil, but it’s all set-up for future films here as Universal puts all its eggs into the FF-basket in an attempt to counter Disney’s blockbuster takeover. They hope to turn this spin-off into as much a money-making franchise as the mainline films and with The Rock leading the charge, there’s no reason to doubt them just yet.
As a spin-off to the Fast and the Furious films, you can watch this without having any prior knowledge of past films. Apart from a couple of sly nods to past events and an even slyer nod to addressing the #JusticeForHan supporters — of which I am one because Deckard freakin killed Han — the film stands on its own feet. There’s one car chase sequence that fills the necessary quota to be in the FF family of films, but other than that, it’s Statham and Johnson’s dysfunctional buddy-cop film.
Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw is a standout and fresh addition to a film mostly running on jokes about how Hobbs and Shaw want to out alpha-male one another. Kirby is kick-ass and proving to be an action star. After seeing Kirby in Mission Impossible: Fallout and feeling she was perfect for continued appearances in the spy franchises, I’m happy to see her show up here and hopefully, she continues too. Hattie also injects much-needed history and grounding into Deckard’s character.
Both Hobbs and Shaw have the most character-building they’ve had in the franchise so far here with both having their family and history expanded and built upon. As mentioned before, the film attempts to address Deckard as a villain and with Chris Morgan, the franchise writer behind the wheel, things are kinda reconnected to make him more likeable. Hobbs has a big third act as his past is addressed and it seems any future films could potentially go into more of his past acts as well.
Their constant bickering being the butt of every joke didn’t work for me though. The film's comedy comes from several long sequences of the two trying to one-up one another with insults, which in small doses in the previous Fast and Furious films worked, but here it wore very thin with me. One sequence on a plane, in particular, had those around me laughing but I just was sick of the same jokes over, and over by this point.
Deadpool 2 director, David Leitch doesn’t bring any crazy fights or action scenes to the franchise here It’s definetly more in-line with his work on Deadpool than John Wick. Both Statham and Johnson have done more exciting scenes in previous Fast and Furious films. Leitch does bring the same cartoon directing style to this as he did Deadpool though, which works because let’s be honest, these films are cartoons.
Watch the trailers for Hobbs and Shaw and if you like it, you’ll probably like the movie. You’re getting exactly what you expect, nothing more, nothing less. As the first entry into a spin-off franchise, it’s a decent start, but it neither has the wowing action of the Fast & Furious films, or the massive cast of characters. For fans of Hobbs or Shaw though, it’s sure to be great fun.