Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw movie review — Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and lots of testosterone
While not all the jokes in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw land, the ones that do will keep you guffawing for a good five minutes.
castDwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Roman Reigns
There is a lot of silly stuff that happens in the Fast & Furious movies, and the silliness is mostly intended. No one watches these films with any arthouse ambitions. Hobbs & Shaw, the latest instalment in the franchise, laser focuses on the daftness, doubles down on the humour, and delivers a fairly watchable action comedy. If you are in the mood for the very definition of lock-your-brains-at-home, popcorn fun, this is the film to watch this week. Just do not expect absolutely anything more.
Let us not get into story details – all you need to know is Hobbs (The Rock) and Shaw (Jason Statham) – two characters, who have famously hated each other in the franchise, are teamed up for a super secret mission and the world’s fate is left to twiddle on their shoulders. Somewhere in the mix is Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who may have something to do with Shaw and is also the primary objective for our villain Brixton (Idris Elba).
Director David Leitch, who has already proved his action chops with Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde, sprays a fresh coat of paint in the Fast and Furious universe. It is immediately clear that there is something different about the stunts in this film – the money shots seem to have more practical effects than CGI, and the hand-to-hand combat is much clearer and more fluid to watch. Of course, there are a lot of the big ridiculous moments that you expect from these films – like a helicopter being tethered to a rope that is being held by a man’s bare hands. These elements are somehow acceptable because they exist within the framework of the video game-like aesthetics of the series. The whole final act, involving three tow trucks storming along a ridge, packs in enough cartoon-like zaniness to keep this fried chicken of a movie snackable.
Apart from the action, Leitch also does well with rubbing The Rock and Statham’s conflicting personalities against each other – while not all the jokes land, the ones that do will keep you guffawing for a good five minutes. Statham is somehow the funnier guy here, probably due to his straight faced banter that he has perfected from working with Guy Ritchie. There are some seriously bombastic cameos from big names, which not only entertain but also indicate what direction the franchise is going, and that it is only going to get bigger.
On the downside, Kirby’s part is atrociously written. Apart from a couple of decent action moments, she is wasted in her role. This is a big, dumb manly movie. There is not a modicum of intellect or logic put into any of the female characters in the film. The film is also too long for its own good, with the final half hour feeling like toppings on an already overtly stuffy greasy fast food meal. Loyal fans of the films, however, will appreciate the shape-shifting motorcycle and the long-winded chase sequences. Those curious about The Rock’s ethnicity would be glad to see his character finally being given some identity, perhaps for the first time in his career. But that is a natural franchise story element – because what is a Fast & Furious movie without a succession of cringe inducing diatribes on ‘family’?
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