STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Eiza González, Eddie Marsan, Helen Mirren, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Josh Mauga, John Tui, Lori Pelenise Tuisano and Eliana Sua
Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs is assigned to go to London in order to retrieve a virus known as Snowflake, a virus that can decimate millions of people around the globe, from an MI6 agent gone rogue. Unfortunately he has to team up with former British Special Forces operative turned mercenary Deckard Shaw, as the MI6 rogue agent in question just happens to be his sister, Hattie. Unbeknownst to them, a cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist named Brixton is hoping to gain control of the virus and alter humanity forever.
After eighteen years and eight films in the Fast & Furious franchise, Universal deliver a spinoff, putting the focus on two characters. Luke Hobbs, who was introduced to audiences in Fast Five as the hunter-turned ally of Dom & Family, and Deckard Shaw, who was introduced to audiences at the end of Fast & Furious 6 as a former military-turned-mercenary, taking on Dom & Family in Furious 7 and reluctantly joining forces in Fate of the Furious. The general consensus form Fate of the Furious (or Fast 8) was that the chemistry between Johnson and Statham was great and that leads us to them (as well as some backstage shenanigans that have been documented) getting a spinoff in Hobbs and Shaw. The two reluctantly have to work together in order to obtain a bio-threat that can be devastating to the human population if it lands in the hands of extremist Brixton Lore, who has Deckard’s sister Hattie in his sights.
We know that the Fast & Furious series has progressed from being about street racing and stealing/heists to becoming a action-spy genre in the latter half and now, with its first spinoff, Hobbs and Shaw takes the franchise into the sci-fi/superhero genre to the point that you’ve heard many joking about the franchise going into space, now seems more of a certainty because it feels like they’ve done every ludicrous angle they possibly can on Earth. The film somewhat ups the ante on the action front, from the opening of Brixton tackling the MI6 agents/Hattie Shaw trying to obtain the virus, to a car/bike chase sequence in London, to the finale in Somoa. The action sequences for the most part at well executed, the fight sequences are done well, especially in how characters adapt to their surroundings in picking up certain objects to provide damage to Brixton’s henchmen. The film relies heavily on the action and also on the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham and, luckily, the two bounce off each other well and you can tell that the two of them get along off-screen, even though their characters don’t particularly, leading to comedic moments with them both berating each other constantly, regardless of whose surrounding them or what predicament they’re in. It’s very reminiscent of a late 80’s/early 90’s style of action-buddy comedy and despite the screentime and dialogue that he has to deal with, Idris Elba appears to have a blast as villain Brixton Lore, especially when he’s bouncing off Johnson and Statham. Another really solid addition to the fold is Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw. I’ve only seen Kirby previous in Mission: Impossible – Fallout and I can definitely see her stock rising here in terms of potentially getting more action-related roles as she’s great in them sequences and has really good chemistry with the leads. It also brings in the Fast & Furious motto about family with the Shaw siblings and Hobbs’s own family journey that feels more organic here than it has done in the last few instalments in the franchise.
As entertaining as I found the film, the plot is paper thin at best as it feels like they had the outline of what they wanted to do and fill in the rest of how they got from A to B to C as they went along and it continues to defy logic, hydraulics, physics and gravity. This film almost feels more like a G.I Joe film than what we’ve gotten from Paramount as it is a full-blown live-action cartoon and while there’s plenty of action, it can feel either repetitive or we’ve seen it all before as it has the familiarity of the Fast and Furious franchise all over it. The main issue with the film however is that it is too long, fifteen to twenty minutes too long to be exact.
Hobbs and Shaw relies heavily on the action, not-so-much on the plot and has a lot of moments that are plenty can either call it absurd, ridiculous or just plain stupid. Either way I was entertained by its ridiculousness, looking at it in the vein of the action buddy comedies from the late 80’s/early 90’s and it helps that the cast seem to have a blast bouncing off each other, particularly Johnson and Statham, as well as Kirby. I just wish that they done more with Idris Elba as the villain. 7/10