The Fast and Furious franchise adds it’s 9th entry with “spin-off” Hobbs and Shaw. I say the term spin-off loosely here as the reality is, I count this as the 3rd spin-off but the first that doesn’t have a fast and furious title. In my mind both 2 Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift are separate from the main franchise and yet both contribute to the overall story arc.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw respectively and give us the junk food for the brain that we’ve come to expect from the franchise. The action sequences are absolutely absurd /outlandish and the one liners are inspired by classic 80’s movies. Hobbs and Shaw have a mutual disdain for one another and the actors portraying the parts do a fantastic job of showing the audience just how deep the anamosity goes. Johnson and Statham’s on screen chemistry rivals that of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson with the writing being absolutely hilarious as far as jokes are concerned.
Sadly the plot is convoluted and makes little sense even after two viewings which is where the writing suffers greatly. The basic premise here is that a virus has been created which will kill the entire planet if released and an evil organization wants to use it to reduce the global population as they feel that overpopulation is an issue. Ok, this is a typical motivation these days however a big issue here is that they never explain how anyone will actually survive their intended outbreak. If the intent is to reduce the population, what is the plan to ensure that some people live thus insuring the survival of mankind? It’s never fully explained and, while I don’t expect deep stories from these movies, I expect it to at least make sense.
Further to the villain’s issues, Hobbs and Shaw made me glad that Idris Elba isn’t the new James Bond. I love Elba in his various roles but he didn’t exhibit the physicality required for an action hero. His fights against the heroes were entertaining but it was a brute force style rather than anything with finesse. Admittedly an argument could be made that Idris Elba did that on purpose but I don’t think it fits considering the explanation of how great a spy he is. When compared the Jason Statham’s finesse and ability to portray an action star, Idris Elba fell flat for me.
Vanessa Kirby’s Hattie on the otherhand is a great addition to the cast and a character I hope to see more of in the franchise. Charming, beautiful, and skilled in combat and espionage, Hattie would be a great addition to the overall Fast and Furious team. Alongside Kirby are some surprise actors who get parts in the film that make for some belly curdling laughs. I won’t spoil those for you but they are hilarious and fit the tone of this flick to a T.
As mentioned earlier, the action is over the top and a lot of fun. The trailers showcased some of these moments but there are a plethora more that pack a massive punch. The final fight and car chase in the film are great examples of what adrenaline pumping action should look like. The last 30 minutes of the movie are one major action sequence and for the most part it’s a joy to behold minus one glaring issue. The fight takes place with a 30 minute timer and starts at night. A few minutes into the battle, the sun is up like noon day and the time says 21 minutes. Somehow the sun went from down to fully up in 9 minutes? And then as the timer goes to its end it’s somehow dark again.
Hobbs and Shaw is flawed but a great ride. Packed full of action, cars and more testosterone than could fit in a locker room, it delivers what it intended to. A few plot holes and an out of this world ability of the sun to rise and set in 30 minutes are distracting but not so much so that it makes it a bad film. I’ve seen Hobbs and Shaw twice now and I’m glad I did. I look forward to watching it again on home release and recommend that you Crunchers go out and see it. It’s absolutely worth a theater watch as the action and set prices were clearly designed with a large screen and sound system in mind. You won’t get a masterpiece but you’ll have a fun time and forget your troubles for a couples hours as you sit back and enjoy the ride with Hobbs and Shaw.
3 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow!!!