Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw
Jacob Richardson | 5/08/2019
Patently insane, but a hell of a lot of fun.
When genetically modified super soldier Brixton (Idris Elba) tries to steal a biological weapon from a secret MI6 team, he is foiled by MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby). Hattie, having injected herself with the bio-weapon to keep it safe, has three days to get it safely out of her system. The powers that be call in two men to help her out; Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Both are hell bent on saving Hattie, but even more hell bent on destroying each other.
The problem Hobbs and Shaw always faced was the scrutiny it would be under to deliver as much excitement, wanton destruction and banter as the Fast and Furious franchise, particularly since the fallout between stars Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson. Luckily, this spin-off does all that and more; generating enough balls to the wall action and witty repartee to feel fun and fresh, but coupled with enough petrol-headed mythos to feel like part of the Fast and Furious universe.
Johnson and Statham are both on fine form, clearly relishing the fun they get to have with one another. And the contrasts between the two are frequently displayed to delightful effect; most evidently in a split-screen introductory scene that showcases the differences between the morning routine of our two heroes. Johnson and Statham both have a tonne of fun throwing insults back and forth, and create enough of a jovial sense of rivalry that it never feels overdone or overplayed.
Johnson, too, gets some moments to shine in the dramatic field. His relationship with his daughter at the beginning of the film is cute, funny and loving, and his romantic endeavours with Hattie (an aspect of The Rock that we don’t usually get to see on the big screen) bring a new layer to his character. So too does the return to Samoa by Hobbs, and his reunion with his fractured family.
On the supporting side, Kirby brings some A-grade acting talent and class to the proceedings that smooths over some of the rougher edges between the boys. Elba, in a relatively thankless, one note role, still finds time to have a bit of fun with his genetically-modified ‘black superman’.
Director David Leitch (John Wick, Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde) has the action chops to bring a new level of choreography and style to some of the big action set pieces. However, that doesn’t excuse the runtime, which at 2 hours and 17 minutes is one big set piece too long. Either a whole segment needed to be dropped, or all needed to be condensed, because the constant barrage of Statham and Johnson beating up baddies becomes tiresome right around the 1 hour 45 minute mark. By the time they get to Samoa, diminishing returns have set in something dreadful (although there are a couple of stand out bits there that make it worthwhile).
In the end, for a movie that had a huge hurdle to surpass, and was a longshot to get right, this does a pretty good job of justifying its existence and, most importantly, being a huge bundle of fun.
A tad long, but a fun, action-packed extravaganza that will have you laughing frequently.