Director: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Cliff Curtis and Helen Mirren
Ok, so answer me this question: how can you make a huge summer blockbuster hit and it not be tied to a superhero property? Answer: get Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in a movie together and tie it to another already very popular franchise.
That’s what they did with Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw. The Rock and The Stath reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw from the previous Fast & Furious movies in a film where the two are forced to work with each other, and we already know from the films in the main franchise that the two characters don’t see eye to eye.
So, they got some writers on-board to come up with a rather convoluted plot which manages to somehow have the two hard men working together against a threat which will spell the end of the world. They then brought in Idris Elba to play the villain: who’s basically a cyborg, and he works for a techno-terrorist organization called Etheon. They are trying to capture an MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (played by Vanessa Kirby) who’s injected herself with this deadly virus nicknamed Snowflake.
Elba’s Brixton and the organisation he works for wants to use this virus to rid the world of all the weak humans. Yeah, it’s one of those movies. Oh yeah, I forgot to add that Hattie is Shaw’s sister. So, the CIA comes up with the great idea of enlisting Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) to try to find the rogue MI6 agent and prevent the save the world from mass genocide.
The Rock And The Stath Do What They Do Best
I’m what you call an ice-cold can of whoop-ass.
So, as far as the film’s plot is concerned, it’s not great. But that’s not why you go to see a film like Hobbs & Shaw. You go mainly because of the film’s billing. It’s not every day that a film starring both The Rock and The Stath comes out. And you also go for the brutal action, and this film has a lot of it.
It’s directed by David Leitch, who’s given us the likes of the first John Wick movie, Atomic Blonde and most recently Deadpool 2. He’s someone who understands how to direct an action set piece, and he’s very good at it. He was also a second unit director on Jurassic World and Captain America: Civil War, and you can tell he’s very at ease in the action movie genre.
Basically, Hobbs & Shaw does exactly what it set out to do. It gives you the action set pieces you’re looking for, as well as the machismo scenes between The Rock and Statham. I would argue that the scenes in which Hobbs and Shaw throw insults at one another as opposed to punches are the film’s highpoints, and that’s both a good and a bad thing.
This film is big, dumb, brainless fun and that’s what you’re expecting from a film with a title like Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (that’s it’s actual title).
I’m what you might call a champagne popper.
However, I was expecting the action set pieces to be just a little bit bigger and less CGI-heavy. What the Fast & Furious franchise has done so well in the past is doing as much of the action as they could in-camera as opposed to in post.
Of course, a lot of the action has to be done in post with the use of CGI, yet I feel like Hobbs & Shaw’s action set pieces often became too reliant on CGI and green-screen.
One of the reasons why I was particularly excited to see this film – apart from wanting to see The Rock and The Stath duke it out – was getting to see what Leitch would do with this new spin-off. He’s really impressed me in the past, yet his direction feels a little bit flat here.
There are a few chase scenes in this film, one in London and another in Russia, which ended up being a bit dull because of their reliance on CGI, and that’s a real shame. However, the final set piece in Samoa is action movie gold in my opinion. I would have liked to have seen more of that, and less of Idris Elba’s impossibly folding motorbike. I just thought that was a bit too dumb, even for a Fast & Furious movie.
Vin Diesel Should Be Worried
This job requires stealth. Look at you.
Despite my slight reservations about some of the film’s set pieces, this movie is still great fun, and I would think that it might have the likes of Vin Diesel rather worried. It’s been pretty well documented that Diesel and Johnson don’t get on, and the fact that the main franchise’s biggest pull (The Rock) now has his own spin-off could prove to be detrimental to the main series.
There’s also the fact that Johnson and Statham are incredibly watchable together on-screen and the pair seem to get on in real life, which is always a plus. Hobbs & Shaw also carries through the Fast & Furious’ main theme of the importance of family, and I think it does it better. Hobbs and Shaw start off as enemies, become ‘frienemies’ and end up being family, and it’s a bit more palatable than in the main Fast & Furious films.
I think the reason behind that is because this film doesn’t have Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto growling the word “family” in every other scene. Instead, Hobbs & Shaw opted for a more ‘show-don’t-tell’ approach, which was rather clever of it.
Big dumb fun
Hobbs and Shaw, you want a war? You’ve got one.
All in all, Hobbs & Shaw is good, brainless fun and I see a lot of life in this new spin-off franchise.
Meanwhile, why not have a read of our articles on the five reasons why Tom Holland in the best Spider-Man ever, the five best movies in the MCU, and our explanation as to why Tomorrow Never Dies is the most underrated Bond movie ever.
You can also have a read of our reviews of The Lion King, Yesterday, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Aladdin, Detective Pikachu, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Avengers: Endgame, Hellboy and Glass.
In the meantime, why not rewatch the Fast & Furious movies, which you can purchase here!
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is in cinemas across the UK now.
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