by Kyle Arango
Full disclosure, I have never been a fan of the Fast and Furious franchise. They are dumb, over the top, ridiculous movies that coast by on being absurd farces with charismatic actors. Now the franchise is doing their first spinoff by taking the two best parts of its previous movies in Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham and throwing them into their own movie. Will this spinoff be something different and unique that sways the doubters like myself? No, it is still stupid and ridiculous, but I can’t hide that at a variety of moments I understood why people love this franchise so much and honestly, I had a fun time with Hobbs and Shaw.
To describe the plot of Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw would be like explaining rocket science to my dog. He wouldn’t understand a word and I would say so much that I confuse myself but let’s give it a shot. When a virus is exposed to Shaw’s sister who willingly takes it to get it away from a metal Superman, her brother and his former partner Hobbs must work together to get the virus out of her and keep it out of the hands of this cyborg. Problem is Hobbs and Shaw hate every single thing about each other and must try to put those differences aside for the fate of the world. The plot is both super simple and complex at the same time but just know this, the plot doesn’t matter. Story has never mattered to this franchise, it has always been about the giant action set pieces and the banter between the crew during these scenes. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham just happen to be the best at it, and they work well together. There is nothing new here, it is everything Fast and Furious fans want and if you go in just wanting to watch explosions and mindless action, you’ll have a good time.
Something I want to point to that just saddens me is the director of this film David Leitch. After co-directing the original John Wick, he moved on to bigger movies and they all have been disappointing. Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 were both massive letdowns and while I had fun with Hobbs and Shaw, it is not due to his directing. He has become a style over substance director that would rather have something that looks neat rather than develop his characters. He repeatedly drops the needle and a loud rap song plays that makes a good music video but not a film. I’m at the point where I don’t think he understands character and story and just wants to focus on the flashy things. The moments of character building are either plain or immature with the characters resorting to yelling at each other what they would like to shove where or how giant their genitals are. These moments can be so tone-deaf with today’s audiences and had it not been for the remarkable heavy lifting by the cast, this film would be a wash.
The cast of Hobbs and Shaw is what’s selling this movie and they are truly spectacular. Dwayne Johnson is one of, if not the biggest star in the world currently and it is not for lack of charisma. The man just exudes joy with every look he displays and line he delivers. He knows the exact movie he is in and plays into it to the point of never going over the line into ideocracy. His back and forth with Jason Statham can get old, but it is not on his end. Statham, on the other hand, is a little more difficult to latch onto. He seems to take himself too seriously and it can hurt the chemistry at points. He doesn’t ruin the chemistry, he just is the lesser of Hobbs and Shaw. Vanessa Kirby steps in here as the sister of Shaw and wow is she awesome. With every frame she is on screen for, she is just a badass. She walks the line Statham and Johnson are on opposite sides of and acts as a counterbalance to their dynamic. I love what she brings. Finally, Idris Elba as the villain is just the definition of cool. He plays to the absurdity of his role of being black superman and is awesome. He doesn’t get as much to do as I had hoped, but his action skills and relationship with his motorcycle are spectacular and is probably the most fun villain this franchise has had.
While it seems as if I am being overly negative with this film, I actually would recommend Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. I still find it amusing that a movie is presenting a movie and it kind of symbolizes what this film is going for, a dumb and ridiculous yet very much fun action-adventure. The cast is terrific, and the action is great and if that’s what you are going for, then there is nothing to fear. Yes, it is stupid, but it is the right kind of stupid and a fun time at the movies.
The Verdict: 3/5 Stars