In “Hobbs & Shaw” Dwayne Johnson Is The Same Old Him, While Statham Finally Looks Like He Is Having Fun Again. Like Statham I Had A Blast. It Keeps To The Message Of The “Fast & Furious” Franchise While Being Funny, Has Wall To Wall Action, Is Extremely Fun & Is The Prime Example Of What A Summer Movie Blockbuster Should Be.
The “Fast & Furious” franchise is eight films in and serving the movie going community for eighteen years now. With every new entry into the “Fast & Furious” franchise you got to ask yourself, if you’ve seen one “Fast & Furious” film, haven’t you seen them all?
Standing as the first (but obviously not the last) spin-off to the uber-popular revheaded franchise which has earned over $5 billion at the box office. The question now is, if the “Hobbs & Shaw” spinoff offers anything more than what we’ve seen earlier in the franchise? The franchise itself has undergone an incredible amount of change since 2001’s “Fast and the Furious”. What once started as a generic street racing drama for the teens and import car culture has morphed into a blockbuster “Mission: Impossible” style franchise where nothing is off limits or too crazy to be put on screen. But remember we’ve got the tenth chapter coming next year.
Until then…feast your cinema loving senses on the movie of the summer as Dwayne Johnson & Jason Statham’s “Fast & Furious” characters get their own film in “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”. Director David Leitch, one of this generations leading action filmmakers adds to his filmography resume with increasingly bonkers action movies, as he co-directed the first “John Wick” and helmed Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde” before taking over for director Tim Miller on “Deadpool 2”. Leitch’s sense of style and action is in fitting form here, providing a wide arrange of round of applause action.
Series creator and screenwriter from the very beginning Chris Morgan takes the two most effortlessly entertaining members of the series Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham (who both serve as producers), and lets the two do what they do best for it’s nearly two hours and twenty minutes of breathless wall-to-wall action.
In “Hobbs & Shaw” when the world is threatened, the American and English intelligence agencies contact both Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) to save the world. Why didn’t they just call the whole family, you know Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese? Well maybe not Tyrese since he’s still pissed Dwayne Johnson got his own spinoff before him. Anyway I have no idea, this isn’t the kind of film where you ponder those kind of questions. Either way the franchise officially died after the loss of Paul Walker who was the heart of the whole franchise anyway. We miss you Paul!
It’s weird to say the least that they didn’t call the gang back considering that they’ve done this sort of thing before. Well as the title says, it’s “Hobbs & Shaw” and trust me when I say they don’t like each other. Like at all, and they make sure to remind each other and the audience as they constantly put each other down with quick and clever one liners. What brings them together is the threat of a deadly super virus as they described will “melt your insides”.
Shaw’s sister Hattie (played by Vanessa Kirby) plays an agent who has been tracking down the virus for some time, only to have to run off with it injected in her body after the big baddie, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), comes in and decimates the place with his cybernetically-enhanced skills.
“Hobbs & Shaw” relies not only on the choreographed action but that of it’s two leading men. Essentially this is a buddy action/comedy and there is no denying that. The two have palpable chemistry and the mismatched pair make a wonderful duo, as they constantly bicker and throw childish insults back and forth. Dwayne Johnson is the same old Dwayne Johnson, playing the role he has gotten very comfortable in over the years. Impressing me much more is Jason Statham, who looks like he is finally having fun in a movie again. Statham gets to flex his comedic and martial arts muscles and he is a real pleasure to watch.
Vanessa Kirby, who showed off her action skills in the latest “Mission Impossible” film, “Mission Impossible: Fallout”, gets to be a straight action star here. She steals so many scenes and throws down at the same level as Johnson and Statham.
Idris Elba, is great as the villain to where he proves how great he could be as James Bond or being a ruthless Bond villain. Elba is clearly having fun in the role and making the most out of his time. It’s rarely you get to beat the crap out of Johnson and Statham at the same time, but Elba who is basically a Marvel villain that can bend steel, deflect bullets, and toss Hobbs and Shaw around like rag dolls. Elba relishes in it, looks great while doing it and makes it entirely work. Elba is so wildly enigmatic and captivating to watch, you can’t help but enjoy his performance. Idris also teams up with hip-hop group Cypress Hill and provides the rap vocals on one of the films songs.
It doesn’t take very long until Leitch let’s the breaks get cut, and he gives us hardly anytime to catch our breath as he gives us big action piece after action piece, in the slickest and fast-paced action sequences that the series has offered yet. There are too many action scenes to describe, but one of the most memorable ones was the McLaren car chase through London. Featuring lots of ricocheting vehicles as Idris Elba pulls all sorts of graceful motorcycle maneuvers and even gets hurled through a bus. If your a motorcycle nut ur gonna love what Idris Elba does with his motorbike as his bike contorts like a yoga instructor and gets into tight spaces
Leitch even sticks with the “Atomic Blonde” and “John Wick” approach to fight scenes as the fights between Hobbs, Shaw and Brixton are brutal and beautiful. Leitch barely let’s you take a moment to breathe before the next big set piece is jamming on the gas pedal.
Leitch knows the franchise’s overall theme, that it’s all about family. The family dynamic doesn’t only hit with Statham and Kirby as brother and sister but we get to meet Hobbs’ daughter, who is completely unfamiliar with his estranged family on Samoa. For the HUGE climax of the film, the action moves to his childhood home on the island, where Hobbs faces old grievances, a whole house full of angry brothers (including the always fantastic Cliff Curtis), his Samoan heritage, and some breathtaking location photography to showcase the island of Samoa (which was actually shot in Hawaii on Kauai).
Showing Hobbs heritage in Samoa was one of the best things about the movie. It didn’t feel as forced as I initially thought it would and there are some real charming moments between Hobbs and his fractured family. I’ll admit the joke about Hobbs’ mother beating someone with her Slippers was funny. Taking the film to Samoa leads into the films HUGE and completely satisfying climax of an old school battle royale against Brixton’s futuristic technology. It’s one of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen, as there is three big set pieces in one huge sequence. This movie is an action fan’s dream.
The only real big downfall for me was the two cameos, where if they were cut would have saved a good chunk of the two hour twenty minute film. One feels like he just walked off the set of his upcoming sequel to “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and the other only got the part because he is besties with Dwayne Johnson. Both weren’t necessary and could have saved some time.
It’s certainly the funniest movie of the series by far with quick humor, audacious action, and an entire fuel tank of adrenaline that makes “Hobbs & Shaw” the perfect example of what a summer blockbuster should be. While it may not reach the heights of “Fast & Furious 5, 6 & 7”. Dwayne Johnson & Jason Statham’s “Hobbs & Shaw” is a summer blockbuster pleasure which will no doubt land huge bucks at the box office. It’s a spinoff that doesn’t reinvent the wheel but still offers up enough round of applause entertainment to please any fanboy of the genre or the series. I had a blast with this film. Movie of the summer!
GRADE: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)