To say the Fast saga is far removed from any sense of reality is the understatement of the century. With each new film, the stunts and action sequences perfectly define the term “hold my beer” in which the current film outdoes the previous in unimaginable manners. Everything that came before now is child’s play as if there is precedence set for any of the sheer ridiculousness as we know it today. In the world that has been established going into a film like Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw the expectation is to be entertained if nothing else matters. That much can be said with absolutely certainty, Hobbs & Shaw is perfectly good as a summer blockbuster for pure mindless enjoyment. Beyond that – don’t expect much.
What the previous eight films set up allows for a spin-off of this caliber. The Fate of the Furious paired Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and their chemistry together was magnetic. If any two characters deserved a spin-off, its these two. They’re an odd couple who perfectly match one another’s crazy while simultaneously one-upping each other. Besides, both are superstars that can command a leading role like they do here. One never outshines the other, though they may say otherwise. Hobbs & Shaw further proves a point that even if a character is a villain in a previous film (Deckard was the villain in Furious 7) they can have a change of heart and become a part of the “family”.
Hobbs & Shaw is unlike any of the films that have come before it in the franchise. There is zero racing involved in a more predominant franchise that lives and breathes a quarter mile at a time. In lieu of the racing is an international heist film (more familiar to the last 5 films) where the villain Brixton (Idris Elba) is looking to unleash a virus in the atmosphere. On top of that, Brixton is genetically enhanced or as he likes to point out – a black Superman.
Yep, characters have superpowers now. Took them 9 movies to get to this point.
If the purpose was to make the mission nearly impossible to complete, it’s a success. Going up against a superhuman who wants to kill billions of people is easier than one of Hobbs’ workouts that’s seen in the beginning of a montage. But this is a Fast saga film, the science is made up on the fly and reality doesn’t matter. As long as the pure spectacle on screen is enjoyable to watch play out, screw the science and anyone who is a stickler for the accuracy. These movies are the purest form of escapism there is in film.
It wouldn’t be a Fast saga movie if the supporting cast wasn’t as important and stellar as the leads. Hobbs & Shaw is really a three-person led film with Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) as the third head of a menacing dragon. She is equally as capable of handling any situation as her brothers – look who raised them, Queenie (Helen Mirren) is one of the baddest people to walk the earth. Elba absolutely should not be overlooked in his villain role – he does the best with what he’s given. He embraces the ridiculousness of being a superpowered being while being a formidable antagonist.
There is a downside to the supporting cast though – Locke (Ryan Reynolds) and Dinkley (Kevin Hart) are uncredited but welcome faces that rely too heavily on their own schtick’s, borderline parodying themselves. Does that make their characters any less entertaining? Not at all – the chemistry with Dwayne Johnson and just about anyone is palpable enough to be thoroughly enjoyed when the fast back and forth dialogue is on display.
Amidst the chaos playing out on screen with trying to stop Brixton at any cost, Hobbs & Shaw never in the 137-minute runtime takes itself too seriously. That’s not to say there aren’t any serious moments, there are but these moments never outweigh the ridiculous to take away the fun being had.
Stuntman turned director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) is the perfect director for this type of adventure. The stunt work is exceptional which is the standard the franchise has come to produce.
Even without any of the main cast from the franchise, most notably Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) Hobbs & Shaw still embodies the most prominent theme of “family”. The good news is that we get a break from the overuse of the word and still have that familiarity of family. This time it’s both Hobbs and Shaw’s family. Anytime the Haka is written into a script or performed just about anywhere, I’m sold on what you’re selling.
The Fast saga needs more Haka. Period!
Just like the previous 5 installments in this franchise the plot in Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t matter. The plot is the last reason to see a film like this. And it’s expected to be a paper-thin mess. But even with how messy the plot is the film deserves to be seen for how ridiculous writer Chris Morgan can make things. Add Chernobyl and Samoa to the list of exotic locations characters travel to that inhabit the most dangerous yet gorgeous landscapes and interactive back drops.
Fast and Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw is written by Chris Morgan, directed by David Leitch is Rated PG-13 and has a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fast and Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw was released on August 2, 2019 in the United States and has a runtime of 2 hours and 16 minutes. Fast and Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw can be bought by online retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Google. 2.5 out of 5.