Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
I mean, what more could you ask for from a Summer Blockbuster? You get “The Rock”, Statham, Elba, Kirby, big fights, car chases, big explosions…
Popcorn Heaven, right?
Some would say this summer has been a mixed bag. I get that. The summer starts earlier and earlier every year and recently has been filled with remakes, reboots, sequels and prequels. More and more these summer film titles sound like throwbacks from the 80’s and 90’s and they pretty much are. While there’s a cry for more original properties, the box office speaks volumes to what we really want. It’s also very indicative that there is something special about that era in cinema that attracts us to these properties to begin with and their new iterations.
As a guy who grew up with these big action vehicles starring Stallone, Van Damme, Willis, Schwarzenegger; there’s always a question of who’s next? Every movie star has their time in the sun and over the past 15 years Statham and “The Rock” have taken their turns. “The Rock” more so, and definitely a bit more successful monetarily. But, the prospect of both men spinning off into their own film adventure presented by the super successful “Fast & Furious” franchise, it’s like a cinematic wet dream.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is enlisted by the CIA to track down a rogue MI-6 agent who killed her team and hijacked a potential world ending viral weapon. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is also tapped to help the CIA track down this same threat. What both men don’t know is they’ll be working together, and after multiple run-ins as enemies, trying to get the two to buddy up as allies seems impossible. The ultimate reveal of their targets identity as Shaw’s sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), pits the men in an even more interesting predicament as they now are on the run after a genetically altered, cybernetically enhanced global terrorist, Brixton (Idris Elba) backed by a shadow organization pins the theft on our trio and looks to use the weapon to rewrite humanity’s DNA to weed out the weak so the strong can evolve and thrive.
On paper this has the makings to be an all timer. Marrying the sci-fi with big action, starring “The Rock” and Statham taking on Black Superman.
Come on, take all my money!
Director David Leitch knew what he had in his arsenal and unloaded on us compositionally. From his recent catalog of directed projects like “Deadpool 2” and “Atomic Blonde” the man knew how to handle a handle a big movie star and direct thrilling action. The former stuntman and rising name in the industry spins off from the Fast Franchise with a big list to check off and does so with a strong start. Regardless of the contentious behind-the-scenes drama between “The Rock” and Vin diesel, I believe what’s in the text is translated well to the screen.
That doesn’t mean what’s in the text is great. Honestly, it’s aight! The weakest element of the production is the script. That’s also like saying the weakest part of the burger is the bun. While important, it’s not what we’re coming to the table for.
Do I have a lowered bar for these kind of action films? Yes, yes I do. Similarly, my ratings reflect that as well. So, in a bit when you get to that score don’t be shocked… KolbyToldYou!
Leitch, “The Rock” and Universal set out to make the biggest baddest spin off in recent history, worthy of the “Fast &Furious” brand and while this is the least “Fast” and “Furious” movie its definitely big and bad. The script isn’t nonsense but if you lumped it together with the other movies of the franchise its right on par. It shoots for the stars and lands on the moon. What makes the journey worth it is the incredible action movie performances we expected from this fantastic cast.
While I wasn’t a fan of making Deckard Shaw a pseudo good guy narratively, there was a somewhat tidy way that resolved this team up. There’s still some questions to be answered and with the sequels that are sure to be greenlit, we’ll get those. For now, we get Statham, in his extended peak now fully embracing his more comedic sensibilities in between high kicks and upper cuts.
The comedy for the most part was really good throughout. Sometimes a little long, where the joke if it didn’t land right got stale after a couple of minutes, but always found a way to right the ship. Both Statham and “The Rock” go for it. Their banter is fun, their chemistry is great, and we get to sit back and absorb it all. The comic tones blended with the action were great onscreen but lacked the power of its potential as a lot was given away in the trailers and are most definitely the more “Deadpoolish” parts to this film, and we get a couple of cameo appearances that further remind us of that.
Kirby and Elba give us a truly “Atomic Blonde” with an even doper bad guy. Kirby slays, as a bad ass sultry rogue MI-6 agent who even goes toe to toe with “The Rock” himself. She has agency, she’s capable, and her stunt choreography was as good as Theron’s. Elba is most certainly the best” Fast & Furious” bad guy to date. His swag, that husk in his voice, and his guttural Movie Villain timing never comes across cartoonish as many other villains seem to turn out in these films. There’s a measured conviction to his approach, and you believe it all the way through.
Plot armor obviously is the biggest threat to the movie cinematically and the longer the film runs the more it exposes itself to that critique, but you have to chalk these contrivances up to the genre. If we try to explain away a lot of the narrative, you’ll get bogged down by a slew of holes you can stick your fingers in.
But, if you keep your fingers pointed on screen, you’ll be captivated by really impressive CG and effects that delivers another balls-to-the-wall big budget Summer Blockbuster by Dwayne Johnson. It delivers on everything you expect it to; BIG ACTION, BIG LAUGHS, AND BIG FUN. So, turn your brain off and enjoy a spinoff entry in the “Fast & Furious” Universe that may not be so fast (just a little long), may not be too furious (drama), but feels like a lot of other great action films were familiar with. An over the top insane plot may be too much to stomach for some, but with The Rock and Statham’s chemistry, Kirby and Elba’s ferociousness, and the ensemble’s comedic chops on display with some sweet surprise appearances along the way this makes for a damn good time at the movies.
KOLBYTOLDME RATING- 8/10
Director: David Leitch
Writer: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Run Time: 137 mins