“The fate of the world is in your hands, and you two can’t even get along.”
This quote from Brixton Lore (the self proclaimed “Black Superman” played by the mighty Idris Elba) encapsulates the essence of the newest installment and spinoff from the never-ending FAST & FURIOUS franchise, HOBBS & SHAW.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham portray the titular characters, respectively, two tough guys who have not seen eye to eye in the past (the previous FAST & FURIOUS films) due to their strong personalities and differing styles of handling business. They are forced to work together to stop a deadly virus called “Snowflake” from reaching the hands of Brixton Lore and Eteon, the terrorist organization that employs Brixton and turned him into the FAST & FURIOUS franchise’s very own Winter Soldier. The result is 135 minutes of the over the top antics you would expect from such an outlandish premise, which include Statham and Johnson surviving several punches from a man who is strong enough to lift a truck and Johnson singlehandedly holding a moving truck and a helicopter together. A far cry from the days of stealing VCRs and street racing.
At it’s best, HOBBS & SHAW is a welcome addition to the buddy cop genre with it’s non stop action and cheesy, yet warm message. The chemistry between Johnson and Statham is undeniable despite some clunky dialogue that could have benefited from an R rating to make their constant banter more realistic. Vanessa Kirby continued her seamless transition from dramatic roles into a bonafide action star after her appearance in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT was followed by an energetic performance as the dangerous Hattie Shaw, and Idris Elba seemed comfortable in his role as the superhuman “bad guy.” Delightful cameos by Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds steal the show, with Reynolds in particular appearing to effectively continue to utilize his raunchy and sarcastic humor from the DEADPOOL series. Also, the Rock quotes Nietzsche.
The film is yet another adequate addition in action (say that three times fast) to the catalog of director David Leitch (JOHN WICK/ATOMIC BLONDE/DEADPOOL 2), the former stuntman who has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the genre with his logic defying stunts and strong fight choreography.
However, the shortcomings of the writing and previously mentioned script are enough to significantly bog down the rest of the film. The narrative is almost non existent. The jokes seem to be the same jokes rewritten over and over again and most of them are about dicks. The soundtrack is awful. The camerawork is a headache at times. The length time runs a few minutes too long. Jason Statham is 52 and Vanessa Kirby is 31 and we’re supposed to believe that their characters grew up together. The expectation wasn’t a cinematic achievement on the same level as the latest Tarantino flick, but the film is almost an insult to intelligence. So leave your brain at the door for the most enjoyable experience.
I won’t and can’t describe the film with trivial words such as “good” or “bad” but I will say that HOBBS & SHAW is an adrenaline and testosterone fueled rush of a summer blockbuster, and there are worse ways to spend two and a half hours of a summer night. The best way to describe it is if you turned a can of Monster into a feature length film, for better or for worse. If you’re looking for plot cohesiveness and multidimensional characters, look elsewhere (ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD or THE FAREWELL). HOBBS & SHAW is fully self aware of the escalating absurdity of the FAST & FURIOUS franchise and quite frankly, doesn’t give a damn.
Final rating: ★★★