‘Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’ takes the reigns of one of the most malleable film franchises in history and delivers a fun, nonsensical buddy cop movie that had me ignoring plot holes as frequently as the titular characters avoid potholes.
A movie series that started as a serious take at early 2000’s street-racing culture has fully morphed into a big summer blockbuster-producing machine that knows exactly what it’s product is. Despite going from stealing DVD players to protecting programmable viruses that can wipe out the human population, the series never drifts away from its core themes of family and loyalty.
‘Hobbs & Shaw’ sees franchise stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) as they live their respective lives as enforcers for different vague organizations (Hobbs used to work for the Diplomatic Security Service, but it unclear in this movie if that is still the case). The catalyst for the necessary plot comes when Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), an MI6 agent and the sister of Deckard Shaw, must retrieve a dangerous virus from a nondescript warehouse. Why was it there? How did they know about it? Who cares! If you came into the theater expecting trivial tropes like logic, and coherence, then you came to the wrong franchise.
The plot of the story is only here to give a reason for well-choreographed fight sequences and even-better-choreographed car stunts. Another wonderful addition is the non-stop barrage of banter between Hobbs and Shaw throughout the movie. ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ was not made as a movie to help facilitate the world-building or even continue an overarching narrative of the Fast & Furious movies. This film was created solely to manufacture a playground where two fan-favorite characters, played by two A-list actors get to show off and have fun with their on-screen chemistry.
The obvious goal of this movie is made even clearer by the directorial choice of David Leitch. Leitch was a stunt coordinator who took up directing with films like Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2. Leitch shows off his impressive stunt work with some scenes in this movie, being the most impressive stunts to date in a ‘Fast & Furious’ film. However, some dialogue and surprise casting choices that made sense in films like Deadpool felt out of place and drawn out in a movie with a title that has the words “fast” and “furious” in it. At a runtime of 2 hours and 16 minutes, there are noticeable scenes where the movie drags. Many cameos and gags were too long with too much downtime between fights and action.
‘Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’ is also the first film that truly feels like an action-comedy, and the pace is different from that other comparable action franchises like James Bond and Mission Impossible in that the stakes never feel very high at all. Despite the antagonist of the story being an evil tech cult bent on wiping out anybody vaguely categorized as weak with a techno virus, and a Terminator-style cyborg (played one-dimensionally by Idris Elba) constantly hunting down the heroes, ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ waves the gravity of the situation with such snappy one-liners like, “genocide shmenocide,” and “I’m tryin’ to save the world. Which, for the record, will be my fourth time. Cause I’m really good at it.” The main virus in the movie that everyone is freaked out about is never even shown in action, so it’s anyone’s guess if the thing even works.
Even with frustrating plot elements, the movie does a wonderful job of being self-contained. Any casual viewer could watch this movie and not have heard of the Fast & Furious movies before. That said, it feels like the series writer Chris Morgan writes the scripts like characters in these movies life their lives: one quarter-mile at a time. In literally the last movie, “Fate of the Furious,” Deckard Shaw’s brother Owen helps out and becomes a reluctant good guy. Shaw’s mother (played by Dame Helen Mirren) also helps out. In ‘Hobbs & Shaw,’ Mama Shaw is in prison because of the events of ‘Fate of the Furious,’ (showing linear plot), yet Owen Shaw is never once mentioned in this movie. Instead, Hattie Shaw replaces the character as if Owen had never even existed! Also, there’s the not-so-small hiccup that fans have been upset about for years: Deckard Shaw murdered a beloved character in Han Seoul-Oh at the end of ‘Fast & Furious 6,’ yet by ‘Fate of the Furious’ no one cares anymore.
With ‘Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’, the people behind the franchise have learned to not care about the plot, and quite frankly, neither should the viewer, it will only lead to disappointment. However, watching ‘Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’ for the reason it was made; to laugh out loud and enjoy insanely cool fight scenes and stunt work, will more than satisfy any moviegoer and have them leaving the theater quoting lines like, “you know how hard it is to stab a man with a brick?” while peeling out of the parking lot.
‘Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’ releases in Theaters August 2nd, 2019.
Directed by David Leitch. Written by Chris Morgan. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren.