Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is an action film directed by David Leitch and it is a spin-off of The Fast and the Furious franchise centered around the titular Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. It stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as Hobbs and Shaw respectively, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, and Helen Mirren. Hobbs and Shaw who have to work together, begrudgingly, against Brixton Lore (Elba) who wants to release a deadly virus on the world.
The Story/The Direction:
Leitch is mostly known for his films, John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2 and the action is very similar to those films. Though outrageous, the action is a lot of fun to watch. However, given that this film is a spinoff of the Fast and Furious films, if you aren’t expecting outrageous action, then you really need to think about your life. This film was written by Chris Morgan, who wrote every Fast and Furious film since Tokyo Drift so if you were hesitant about those films, you are going to be disappointed here as well. Similar to that of Fast 5 and beyond, this film is not about cars even though there are some nice ones and it now connects the Fast and Furious films to The Italian Job. No real explanation for that but in the next film, there will probably be an indication that Shaw's alter-ego was Frank Martin sometime before Fast 7. This film's central plot is about stopping this deadly virus from being released and of course...family. Because it can’t be a Fast and Furious movie without that. However, anyone really going to this film is not going for the direction, writing, or any sense of logic. They are going to see Johnson and Statham punch things and that’s where this movie really succeeds.
The Acting/The Characters:
This film does mark the return of Johnson and Statham as their characters introduced in Fast 5 and Furious 7, respectively. Hollywood clearly saw the chemistry between these two men in Fast 8 and knew they had to make a movie about them even with the drama between some of the actors in the franchise. Hobbs is a bullish American that punches his way through any obstacle to get what he wants and drives a Ford pickup truck. Shaw is the suave Brit who does similar things but is more discreet about it and drives a Mclaren 720S. The virus they are after is named “The Snowflake” and it's not clear if that is a comment on the current generation or not but who cares? It has been injected into the arms of an MI6 agent named Hattie (Kirby) to save it from the hands of Brixton who works for a mysterious organization called Eteon. Eteon wants to “evolve” the human race by killing off people using the virus. Throughout this journey, the film shows how different but also how similar the two protagonists are and really pushes the limits of showing that they cannot defeat Brixton if they work separately. All while traveling the world without any logic, time, or sense of location, our heroes have to fix their relationships with their families. Hobbs left Samoa when he joined the DSS and Shaw has been on the run ever since he apparently killed Brixton. They both left their families in the rearview. The film shows that they are far more alike than they first appear. If they can figure this out and work together, they will defeat Brixton. It’s not a theme that is brand new or revolutionary but the film does incorporate it multiple times over the course of the film. This is the first time in the franchise that the Hobbs character’s family is really looked into in-depth. They did introduce his daughter in Fast 7 but not much about his extended family. The franchize has introduced both Shaw’s brother, Owen (Luke Evans) and Mother (Mirren) before, though we don’t see the former in this film. Mirren is still really enjoyable has the mother and has the charisma of her own.
That’s what really makes this film, it has a lot of charisma, especially from the two leading actors. I am not sure how much of their banter back and forth was scripted versus improvisational. It was hilarious seeing these two men interact and the characters work well to the actor’s strengths, literally and physically. Johnson has been marketable to pretty much any situation. He’s a hard worker, a go-getter, works out a lot, a good dad, and a little cocky about it. Statham is a man of few words, knows martial arts, gives off elegance, and also is a little cocky about it. Even Elba as Brixton has some charisma to him that he works with perfectly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this cast and even the fun cameos add more charisma and charm to the film. Each one works very well within the film. They know this film is not going to be known for its story or its logic. It’s going to be known for their charming personas in this fairly stupid movie.
The amount of times that things work out perfectly for them is beyond counting in this movie. The final scene has cars link together in a way no one could do on a single try but yet they do. The final scene takes place in multiple types of weather. It starts off right before dawn then after about 2 minutes, the sun starts to rise. A minute later, the sun is high in the sky. As the scene continues, the sun turns into a pouring rainstorm, back to sunshine, back to the storm and finally back to the sun to end the film. There is absolutely no continuity between these scenes as fire apparently stays lit this entire time. Again, this is not what one cares about when viewing this film. The audience cares about the actors’ charisma and body blows which this film has a lot of. This film has very little logic and very little sense of reality. There may be some reason to why Eteon wants to cause genocide in the world but it’s not the clearest reason. Also what was done to Brixton to make him how he is seems rushed. The CGI looks awful at times and video games have had better experiences. There is a lot going on in this film and there’s not a lot of cohesiveness to it at all. However, if audiences are seeing this film expecting greatness, they need to check out their life decisions.
This film felt very similar to the Expendables movies which were similar to old action films of the 1980s and 1990s. The plot is nonsensical but the action is over the top with quotable one-liners with two charismatic stars. It does feel cartoony at times but the goal of this film is to be entertaining and allow two action stars to engage with each other verbally and physically. This film succeeds on both of those things and the entire cast knows this. The film does honestly more than it was expected to and is a good addition to the overall franchise. Perhaps, the eventual sequel will have a more cohesive plot. It is a fun popcorn flick that you won’t feel awful about and you wasted your time. It is definitely worth watching again.
Rating: 3.5/5.0 bowties.
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