Synopsis – Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
My Take – While the Fast and Furious films may have started off as a Point Break rip off with illegal street racing, but over the years, the series has evolved into something quite larger than anyone expected it to be, propelling its lead actors to superstardom.
With its last two entries clocking in billion dollars each at the worldwide box office, it seems quite inevitable that at least one of the rumored spin offs would actually happen. And honestly, there couldn’t have been a better pair from the franchise to lead a spin-off.
As without a doubt, the characters of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are two of the greatest additions to the unexpected blockbuster franchise.
With Dwayne Johnson‘s Hobbs helping inject a new dynamic into the series ever since he landed in the Fast Five, whilst Jason Statham‘s Shaw made for an excellent villain, after being introduced in the credits of Fast & Furious 6, and continuing as a viable threat throughout Furious 7, even if, by the end of Fast & Furious 8, aka The Fate of the Furious, he became a part of the same team.
But I am quite sure most will agree that scenes featuring the two were an absolute high point in the 2017 film, particularly when they were butting their heads together. And as one would expect, here, the two very likable action stars are once again completely in their element.
Also, while the action in the original series has become bigger and better over the years, this film takes it a step further by going straight into the science-fiction territory. But all in the name of pure popcorn entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.
Yes, it’s a tad long, but its winning cocktail of action and comedy, and the screen-burning appeal of the two, seldom leaves you bored. I really can’t think of any other actors who could’ve made such kind of a film work so well.
The story follows Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a federal agent working for the DSS and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a former British Special Forces assassin-turned-mercenary, who following the events of The Fate of the Furious have gone their separate ways and carrying out their own set of jobs in the cities they are located in.
Meanwhile, in London, an MI6 mission goes awry when Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a nefarious cyber-genetic agent working for a mysterious organization, attacks them, killing everyone, with the exception of Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who escapes by injecting herself with a deadly virus known as Snowflake, which Brixton was sent to secure.
Unknown to them at first, both Hobbs and Shaw, are tasked with bringing her in and, given their history, they’re not exactly thrilled to be working together, but when they realize that Hattie, who also happens to be Shaw’s sister, is in possession of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever, and is pursued by an anarchist like Brixton, the two sworn enemies agree to partner up in bringing down the only guy who might be worse than them.
Honestly, there is a lot going on in here. Clocking in at a rather unforgiving 135 minutes, the monolithic action extravaganza often feels like it’s fitting into a pre-ordained slot with a specific running time, content to throw in a half a dozen montages just to meet expectations; serve up multiple scenery-changes in a bid to live up to its globe-trotting big brother franchise, and hammer home the overarching themes of family and vehicular mayhem, even if it means adding a whole fourth act to the feature.
But few who love the Fast & Furious series will be able to resist the insanity of this film, both a no-brainer in terms of obvious spin-off after the last film, and also clearly a no-brainer in realization. It’s in-line with the franchise as a whole, selling spectacularly stupid as a grin-inducing positive, and almost getting away with it.
But that’s the thing, no one watches a Fast & Furious film because they want hard-hitting dialogue, or gritty realism, or sensible, logical plot development. The beauty of this film lies in its bombastic set-pieces and director David Leitch, who shot to fame as a co-director on John Wick before helming Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde, seems to understand the inherent ridiculousness of the franchise better than most and also that these films have always been, at their core, painfully earnest.
From a stunning car/motorbike chase through the streets of London to a jaw-dropping abseil-sequence down a high-rise building, to a scene where The Rock helps bringing down a helicopter with nothing but a length of chain and his formidable biceps, the stunts more than live up to the outrageous set pieces that make this franchise so beloved.
It’s the closest that the Fast & Furious films have gone into James Bond territory, with gadgets galore and a Spectre-style criminal network, though director David Leitch rather outdoes 007 when it comes to the action. Despite the massive budget and action scenes this is at its core an old fashioned buddy film with some genuinely amusing dialogue and at times if feels like it came straight out of the 80’s but with a few modern flourishes.
Also, in order to fill in the family void, the gang travels to Samoa, so Hobbs can have his family reunion and Hobbs make amends with his brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis) and mother Sefina (Lori Pelenise Tuisano). Even Deckard and Hattie end up reuniting with their mom, Magdalene (Helen Mirren).
Its obvious right from the first scene that Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson are clearly enjoying themselves blowing stuff up. The two share great chemistry on screen together and there are various points where you can see they are trying not to laugh.
Then there is Idris Elba who just commands the screen every time he is present. The combined might of Johnson and Statham needed a worthy villain and they got exactly that with a superhuman who seems to have limitless strength. Idris Elba plays the part well, delivering dialogues such as “I’m black Superman” with conviction.
Vanessa Kirby once again excels in her role. Kirby is becoming a great addition to the action genre with Mission Impossible: Fallout and this film under her belt.
Eddie Marsen, Cliff Curtis, Helen Mirren and Eiza Gonzáles also give great performances in their small roles. The film also has two cameos from two very popular actors, who as always are delightful on screen. On the whole, ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ is a hilariously entertaining watch due to its impressive action scenes and magnetic leads.
Directed – David Leitch
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 135 minutes