Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw
Hobbs & Shaw is the most out-and-out entertaining movie of the summer and one of the strongest entries in the Fast & Furious franchise.
Part of its success comes from embracing the ridiculousness that F&F has rapidly careened towards, and that’s most effectively enforced by the odd coupling of Nietzsche-loving lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and baby-saving assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Roman and Tej are runners-up for the most entertaining characters to gift a standalone film but, let’s be honest, Hobbs & Shaw is a more profitable prospect.
Profits considered, this spin-off justifies its existence beyond commercial means for two reasons. The first is that the series’ theme of family is better presented than ever before, owing to the rare depiction of Samoan culture. Hobbs connects with his roots and seeks his usos (brothers) for help in his quest to save the world (again). Secondly, it’s hilarious, a full-length extension of the cracking interplay between Statham and Johnson that was showcased in The Fate of the Furious. Additionally, there are some priceless cameos.
This two-hander sees Hobbs and Shaw reluctantly link up to defeat the “black Superman” Brixton (Idris Elba), a techno-terrorist hell-bent on world domination. Elba relishes being a menace in his superpowered suit, granting the series with its most charismatic villain. The third asset to the tag team is rogue MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), Deckard’s estranged sister who possesses Brixton’s most desired weapon, a virus called Snowflake that may as well have been called MacGuffin. The Shaw siblings’ dynamic creates another thread about the importance of familial unity.
Hattie kicks ass but her characterisation as a potential love interest for Hobbs feels like a filmmaker wanting to have his cake and eat it too. She’s an object of desire – Hobbs loves to speak of her attractiveness – yet acknowledged to be tough, badass and in control of her own destiny.
The more prominent problem is that the movie is very heavy on exposition, a result of vast world-building and the minutiae of all these new facets, causing the 135-minute length to be felt at times.
All the hallmarks of F&F are present: hip-hop, fast cars, amazing action. It continues to take place on an alternate Earth – laws of physics, space and time are violated beyond measure. This illogical reality is intrinsic to the spectacle of the franchise, so anyone not on board should watch something else to save themselves from scratching their head until it bleeds.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is released nationwide on 1st August 2019.
Watch the trailer for Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw here: