Fast & Furious Presents:
Hobbs & Shaw

Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw
dir David Leitch
scr Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
prd Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Chris Morgan, Hiram Garcia
with Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Cliff Curtis, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Eddie Marsan, Eiza Gonzalez, Eliana Su'a, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, Kevin Hart, Rob Delaney
release US/UK 2.Aug.19
19/US Universal 2h15

elba kirby mirren
The Fate of the Furious (2017) f9 (2021)

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw
Flipping the Fast & Furious formula into more of an action comedy romp, this thoroughly entertaining bit of dumb escapism is packed with over-the-top mayhem. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham spin off their meathead characters in bickering buddy-movie style, while director David Leitch brings the witty approach that made John Wick and Deadpool 2 so outrageously memorable. It's deeply corny, but a lot of fun.
Carrying on as American and British spies, Hobbs (Johnson) is flexing his muscles in California while Shaw (Statham) swaggers around Britain. They meet again in London, where they've both been assigned to stop not-actually-rogue operative Hattie (Kirby), who is in possession of a potentially world-ending virus. Of course, she's also Shaw's sister, and high-tech soldier Brixton (Elba) is behind the chaos, which takes them all to Russia with a scientist (Marsan) before heading to Hobbs' home in Samoa to regroup and get some help from brother Jonah (Curtis) before Brixton arrives for another showdown.
The plot is absurd, but the script throws hilariously tetchy dialog into each scene, mainly the ongoing insult-hurling between Hobbs, Shaw and Brixton, plus moments with Shaw's jailbird mum (Mirren), Hobbs' feisty island mamma (Tulsano) or his seriously bright daughter (Su'a). Early on, Leitch also ropes in the riotous Reynolds for a side-role that keeps giving right to the end of the credits (and beyond). The film is so packed with flat-out comedy, that Kevin Hart pops up at one point. There's certainly no worry that we might take the preposterous violence seriously.

The Rock and The Stath remain in pre-set stereotype as man-mountain and British crank. Both have anger issues, constantly threatening to wallop each other (and anyone else). But they also pose and wink at the camera, hamming up the machismo. Elba brings the same tough-guy banter, but adds more menace. And while Kirby of course gets kidnapped and so on, she also fights ably with the guys and is smarter than everyone.

This film is far more openly wacky than the mainline films in this franchise, which of course reflects the distinct talents of its cast and director. The action set pieces are properly full-on, offering some exhilarating thrills, not because it's remotely possible that even the best stuntman on earth could do these things, but because someone thought of it and managed to assemble it on film. And with its multiple cliff-hanging endings, there's clearly the will to make more of this sillier sideroad.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 31.Jul.19

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© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall