The Fast and Furious franchise is really something special and unexpected. It’s come from humble beginnings about street racers stealing DVD players, to being able to have its own spin-off with two of the biggest action stars today.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw sees lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) reluctantly team up to stop cyber-genetically enhanced criminal Brixton (Idris Elba) who is after a virus that could destroy humanity – a virus that Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) has a hold of. This makes it a race against time to both protect Hattie from Brixton, though she can certainly look after herself (she is a Shaw after all) and stop Brixton from completing his dastardly plan.
Hobbs & Shaw is so much fun. The action sequences often defy all logic but that doesn’t make them bad, if anything that makes them even better. The film relishes in it’s over the top-ness as cars race through the streets of London, cars go up against drones, and cars take on helicopters. The fight sequences are great too with one sequence having Statham using kitchen utensils to take down bad guys in bisexual lighting. It is indeed as brilliant as it sounds.
Hobbs & Shaw is not just an action move, it’s a film that’s brought sci-fi into the Fast & Furious world. From Brixton’s cybernetic enhancements, to his incredibly intuitive motorbike that wouldn’t be out of place in Tron: Legacy, it’s put a new spin on this ridiculous world. Claims that the series will one day go to space don’t feel so far-fetched anymore.
It seems like an obvious thing to say but Johnson and Statham have great chemistry. This film is built around the two of them, their banter, their quips and their fights, and it works. There’s a lot of one-upmanship between the two of them but when you get to see them work together after all the bickering it’s a delight. It’s the contrast between the two of them, both in appearance and style, that make the partnership work so well. Johnson is all brawn and muscle while Statham is sleek and sexy. They are polar opposites in appearance and in personality too when it comes to their characters and seeing that contradiction play out makes for an entertaining time. Plus, they both have tonnes of charisma which doesn’t hurt.
You know who else has great charisma? Idris Elba. Any scene where the three of them are together, whether it’s fighting or bantering, is a joy to watch. Elba plays a villain that has some cheesy villainous lines, but he still makes it work. Brixton is a self-proclaimed “Black Superman” and he really does seem indestructible as he chases down Hobbs and Shaw and causes them both some serious damage.
It’s a running joke that the Fast & Furious films are really all about family but in Hobbs & Shaw that’s still the case. Hobbs’ daughter makes an appearance as she questions him about their family and why she doesn’t know any of them. And then there’s Hattie Shaw. She and her brother are on opposites sides of the law and haven’t spoke for years when she gets tangled up in Brixton’s plans. Kirby and Statham create a believable brother-sister connection, especially one that’s strained as they learn to be around one another again.
The first half of Hobbs & Shaw is thoroughly entertaining with the balance between jokes and action being almost pitch perfect. It’s the transition into the final act where things start to feel a bit uneven, and it’s as if there were a few scenes missing that would’ve shown the setup for the odd scenes of payoff we get. That said, the finale is a great showdown between the unlikely trio of heroes and Brixton and his many henchmen – it’s suitable bombastic, thrilling and enjoyable.
There are some weird and wonderful cameos in Hobbs & Shaw and for the most part they’re great. However, there’s one that is so unexpected that it almost grinds the film to a halt as they feel so out of place plus they unfortunately get in the way of the brilliant Rock vs Statham banter. There’s also a few mid-credits scenes and an end-credits scene that are fun but are mostly extensions of a cameo and offer little else, so you won’t miss anything if you don’t want to sit there waiting.
The jokes may not always land but with the action spectacles and fantastic charisma and chemistry between its leads, Hobbs & Shaw is a fun, adrenaline-filled ride.
Directed by: David Leitch
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby