“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” stars Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, and Helen Mirren. Released on August 2, 2019, the film has Luke Hobbs teaming up with Deckard Shaw to take down a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist.
The film is directed by David Leitch, who also directed “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2”, and it is a spin-off of the “Fast & Furious” film series. Whenever there’s a franchise that’s as popular as a boy band from the 90s, there’s a strong chance that the folks from Hollywood are going to do what they can to keep that popularity alive, even if it means creating spin-offs that involve scene-stealing side characters. Oddly enough, “The Fast and the Furious” is the latest franchise to get that same treatment, one that focuses on two characters that can get on each other’s nerves in a matter of seconds. No, I’m not talking about Roman Pierce and Tej Parker (although that would be a cool concept to watch), I’m talking about tough-as-nails Luke Hobbs and former mercenary Deckard Shaw. The chemistry between Johnson and Statham marks as one of the main highlights that lead “Furious 7” and “The Fate of the Furious” to box office glory, so it’s no surprise that Hollywood wanted to take advantage of that while it’s still fresh on everybody’s minds. Unfortunately, this caused the ninth main installment of the franchise to be delayed until 2020, which resulted in a feud between Johnson and some of the main cast. While they’re all in good terms now, it doesn’t exactly mean that Johnson will be invited back to their next family outing. You know what they say, it was fun while it lasted. This was on the top of my list of films to see this month for obvious reasons. For those who don’t know, I’ve been a fan of the franchise since I first saw “Fast & Furious” in the theater a decade ago, and so far, I enjoyed the direction that these films are taking right now, more so than others. Another reason is Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, enough said. With that said, let’s see if this spin-off is as fast and furious as the main installments.
Taking place two years after the events of “The Fate of the Furious”, the film has Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) going their separate ways. When they are informed that Shaw’s sister Hattie (Kirby) is on the run with a deadly virus that can wipe out the entire population, the unlikely duo are going to have to team up once again in order to protect her from Brixton Lore (Elba), a rogue MI6 agent with cyber-genetic technology that enhances his physical abilities. If you’ve been following the franchise since the release of “Fast Five”, you’ll immediately know what you’re getting yourself into for “Hobbs & Shaw”. Fast cars, stunts that defy the laws of physics, criminal masterminds, you name it, this film has it. The only difference in this film is that we have a “Black Superman” as the main villain rather than an ordinary human being. It’s the usual formula that made the recent “Fast & Furious” installments idiotically insane, but simply entertaining. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, am I right? Like the recent “Fast & Furious” films, the plot in “Hobbs & Shaw” was simple and filled with unimaginable silliness that’ll make your eyes roll a bunch of times, but its attempt at expanding the main characters and staying true to the franchise’s main theme, which is the importance of family, was as satisfying as attending a family reunion. However, its predictability and its average storytelling made this spin-off a small step backwards from the last two “Fast & Furious” installments. Despite that, the film still retained the fun and excitement that I came to expect from something that has “Fast & Furious” in the title. This is mostly due to the irresistible chemistry between Johnson and Statham. These two actors made “Furious 7” and “The Fate of the Furious” what they were in terms of their humorous wordplay. “Hobbs & Shaw” gave them enough playtime to put some more spice into their bickering, and the final result was nothing but pure poetry. There were plenty of hilarious and action-packed moments between the two that could give Roman and Tej a run for their money, which is what made the “Fast & Furious” films work for me. It’s the mixture of comedy and action that made my heart race and my soul laugh with joy. David Leitch is no stranger to this type of stuff since he directed last year’s “Deadpool 2”, another film that mixes comedy with action, and it shows, proving to me once again that he’s the right man for the job when it comes to something like this. As for the rest of the cast, I would say that Vanessa Kirby did a fine job at keeping up with the two main stars as Hattie, and Idris Elba was a delight to watch as Brixton. While Brixton came off as a cliched antagonist that you would see from a superhero film or comic book, I was happy to see that Elba was having a lot of fun playing the bad guy. The next thing I want to talk about is the action. Again, there were a lot of sequences that were nonsensical to a fault, but I can’t help but appreciate the nonsense that was shown in the film, mostly because that they're not meant to be taken seriously. The action sequences were nicely choreographed and very entertaining, especially the Samoa sequence in the third act. That one was definitely a heart-pounder. As for its flaws, I already mentioned that even though the plot is illogical, light-hearted, and fun, its ability to provide heart wasn’t convincing enough compared to the likes of “Furious 7”. Another flaw that I would mention was the film’s length, which clocks in at around two hours and 15 minutes. It’s not entirely boring since the film’s pacing was acceptable in my eyes, but there were a couple of scenes that could’ve been trimmed down a bit in order to prevent itself from overstaying its welcome.
Overall, “Hobbs & Shaw” is exactly what you would expect from a “Fast & Furious” film, for better or for worse. It’s a highly entertaining popcorn flick that combines the physics-defying action with the comedic charms of the main cast. Its narrative fell short of being as compelling and heartfelt as the last two “Fast & Furious” installments, but it understood that it’s the type of film that allows the audience to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride regardless of how silly it was. It’s made for people who just want to get away from the real world and have a good time at the movies, and I’m okay with that. If you’re already tired of the franchise, this one isn’t going to change your mind. For those who enjoy the franchise for what it is, it’s definitely worth a watch.