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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Movie Review

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

At no point during the runtime of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw does the movie take itself seriously. This is a comedy from start to finish, focusing on two muscular men continually trying to out-man each other. The entire filmmaking team realises the absurdity of this whole escapade, but rather than look down their noses at the audience, they are instead inviting them along for the ride. Even when explosions and car chases aren’t happening on-screen, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s conversations are a hoot. Director David Leitch also brings his stunt expertise to the action scenes. Hobbs & Shaw is an example of how a movie can just be fun and that’s okay.

While the Fast & Furious movies tend to focus on a whole ensemble of characters, Hobbs & Shaw smartly gives attention to only a few. The film manages to work even for those who have never watched the rest of the series. It quickly establishes Hobbs and Shaw, both of whom are really just slightly exaggerated versions of Johnson and Statham, and immediately sends us on their globe-trotting mission. Their motivation boils down to saving the world and just trying to tolerate each other. Their conflicting personalities lead to an enjoyable dynamic, with Shaw especially having fun toying with Hobbs. Both actors are willing to poke fun at their screen personas throughout the movie.

Leitch directs the action with the proper level of adrenaline and ridiculousness. They’re well spaced throughout the story and don’t get too repetitive and while the car chases are properly exciting, it’s in the stunt work that Hobbs & Shaw shines. The planning of the choreography has been expertly figured out and the stunt performers deserve an enormous amount of credit for fulfilling the absurd flips and jumps they’re required to do. The hand-to-hand combat scenes show an impressive skill, while a scene where Hobbs and Shaw fight in adjacent hallways is successfully played for laughs. Joining them on their adventures are Idris Elba as the mechanically enhanced villain and Vanessa Kirby as a MI6 field agent and both bring their own talents to the table.

There is a plot involving a deadly virus, but the plot doesn’t really matter in this movie’s case. The virus mostly exists as a McGuffin to get the story moving and bring the participants together. World hopping is always a fun part of these kinds of movies and Leitch does take advantage of the locations and the various locales the characters visit. Hobbs & Shaw can get a little longwinded, especially during the third act. After two hours of high-speed action, an element of exhaustion does set in after a while. A few comedic scenes can run a tad long, too, including a conversation Johnson and Statham have on an airplane.

Hobbs & Shaw is hardly what one would call sophisticated cinema. Everything about it is just aiming for simple thrills and roller coaster excitement. However, there is a place for ridiculous action films that don’t take themselves the least bit seriously and Hobbs & Shaw succeeds at its primary goal. The chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham leads to an enjoyable buddy comedy and while there is a heavy amount of testosterone, it’s not done in an insulting way. It will be interesting to see if Universal Pictures decides to have the Fast & Furious franchise separate with Johnson and Statham headlining their own spin-off series. The filmmakers certainly set this one up for further outlandish adventures.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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