‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw’ is a dumb, but entertaining joyride

Image from IMDb
Image from IMDb

The ‘Fast and the Furious’ franchise has had fuel in its tank since  2001, having seen the release of eight feature films. The series began  rather simply, with the first film depicting Vin Diesel and Paul Walker  at odds with one another over illegal drag races. This tradition  continued for the next three films, before switching gears into a more  action-heavy series with ‘Fast Five’ in 2011. This change has proven to  be a beneficial one, as audiences had grown attracted to the ludicrous  fare that this series has given them. Recent installments such as  ‘Furious 7’ and ‘The Fate of the Furious’ have also grossed over a  billion dollars worldwide.

That leads us to this newest film: ‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs  and Shaw.’ This one acts as the ninth overall installment of the  franchise, but as a spin-off, not a sequel to ‘The Fate of the Furious.’  ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ brings back franchise veterans Dwayne “The Rock”  Johnson and Jason Statham as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, respectively.  The duo finds themselves having to team up to prevent a virus from being  unleashed upon the world. As per the typical ‘Fast and Furious’ film,  there is exhilarating action, goofy one-liners, a dash of stupidity, and  a working engine present.

It takes two (or three) to make a 2018 McLaren 720S Coupe go right

Image from IMDb

The best element of ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ by far is the palpable chemistry  between Johnson and Statham. While we got a mere glimpse into their  dynamic back in ‘The Fate of the Furious,’ this film goes all in. For  pretty much the entire duration of the film, the titular duo constantly  berate one another while fighting the bad guys and trying to save the  world. While the consistent banter between the two is quite  entertaining–and even funny at times–at around the film’s halfway point,  the shtick starts to grow a bit stale. Unfortunately, it became obvious  that the same jokes and insults were going to be recycled over and over  again, and you just have to sit there and push through them.

Despite that, the addition of Vanessa Kirby, who plays Deckard’s  sister Hattie, helps to keep the dynamic a bit fresh. When compared to  Johnson and Statham, Kirby takes things a bit more seriously, which  added some much needed urgency to the story at hand. Not only that, but  the relationship that Kirby and Statham’s characters share as siblings  revealed some interesting aspects of their past, such as how they have  clever maneuvers for robbing people. However, the film tries its hardest  to force Kirby into a relationship with Johnson, which was detrimental  since the two of them shared little chemistry.

Mr. Elba, you were going well past the speed limit

Image from IMDb

The main villain of the film is criminal mastermind Brixton Lore  (yes, that is his actual name), who was played by Idris Elba. The  character was advertised as being a soldier equipped with biomechanical  upgrades that gave him enhanced durability, super strength, and an  internal computer system that allowed him to analyze his enemies. Such  upgrades caused Brixton to dub himself “Black Superman” (although he’s  more of a Cyborg or a black Captain America, but I digress). His goal  throughout the film was to help the secretive organization known as  Eteon, whose goal was to prevent humanity’s extinction through  augmenting the strong in order to eliminate the weak (this is real, I am  not joking), and the virus I mentioned earlier would help in completing  that goal.

Sadly, everything involving Brixton and Eteon were the weakest  elements of the film. Even by usual ‘Fast and Furious’ standards, these  elements were a bit too ridiculous, and even generic. There have been  many films in the past in which the main antagonist would believe that  humanity needed to be wiped out or augmented or culled or what have you  in order to save the planet, and Eteon was no exception. The  ridiculousness comes in through Brixton himself, as his augmentations  made him almost out-of-place, feeling more like the villain out of a  ‘Kingsman’ film. Despite that, Brixton’s character could’ve actually  benefited from a more outlandish personality, as Elba played him too  straight-faced. There were little moments where Elba did try to go the  extra mile, but he frequently held it back.

Green means go

Image from IMDb

Thankfully, ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ delivers on its action scenes. This  comes as no surprise since David Leitch, the director of ‘Deadpool 2’  and ‘Atomic Blonde,’ directed this film. While the seemingly  contractually obligated car chase sequences were borderline  insane–particularly one that occurs near the end of the film–they were  very entertaining to watch. The best of these sequences involved Hobbs  and the Shaw siblings driving through the streets of London in order to  escape Brixton and several Eteon operatives. It was frantic and  exhilarating, containing a neat little trick that Brixton did with his  motorcycle that I won’t spoil here.

On the whole, the hand-to-hand combat scenes were far better. The  weight and impact of each hit was evident, and these scenes were notable  highlights. One involving Statham fighting Eteon operatives in an  apartment immediately comes to mind.

You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car!

Much like how Oprah surprised her audience that fateful day with a  car for each of them, ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ delivers some surprises of its  own. For starters, there are several celebrity cameos in the film that  are played entirely for comedy. The cameos actually happen several times  throughout the film by the same actors, and the pacing tended to grind  to a halt when these occurred. The other surprise that was present was  the inclusion of some backstory for Hobbs, as more information about his  family is given. Unfortunately, that backstory is cliched and generic,  as it uses the tired “sibling is angry with main character for  abandoning family years ago” plot point.

Images: IMDb

Featured Image: IMDb

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