Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw – Movie Review – Non Stop Action & Laughs.

The Fast & Furious franchise has been one of my favourite franchises ever since 2 Fast 2 Furious was released back in 2003. It’s evolved very much since then, shifting it’s heavy focus on street racing to outright action and spectacle. This new instalment is the next evolution of these films, because it’s the first official spin off in the franchise.

Hobbs & Shaw follows the two titular characters portrayed by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, as they form an unlikely alliance when a genetically enhanced threat named Brixton (Idris Elba) emerges, and threatens the future of humanity.

I knew exactly what I wanted from this film and I can confirm the filmmakers and actors were all on the same page. If you are aware of what this franchise has become, and you’re already on board with that, then you’ll know what type of film you’re in for and it fully delivers on that front, ten fold. This is just as bombastic and crazy as the most recent instalments and, It’s abundantly clear that there is a level of self awareness that runs through it all. The action sequences are plentiful and they’re very entertaining. Ever since Fast & Furious 6 the franchise has basically become a series of superhero movies, that show no concern over applying to the laws of physics. Hobbs & Shaw embraces this to the highest degree in many ways. There are plenty of moments that’ll require you to suspend your disbelief, and if you’re unwilling to do that then you won’t have much fun.

This series has never been shy of stepping out of the realm of realism and this instalment welcomes that, by adding science fiction elements such as human augmentation, that is being done by a mysterious corporation in order to create super-humans. This presents us with a super villain that has a cybernetic spine who is near indestructible. You can tell Idris is having a blast with this role, spouting out hammy dialogue like labelling himself “Black Superman”. He totally makes it work. Not to mention he has a motorbike that almost felt like a character in it’s own right. It operates in a near sentient AI manner and transforms in certain situations like a Decepticon. It provides some thrilling slow motion moments during the chaotic action.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s chemistry is where the majority of the dialogue shines. Their constant bickering and attempts at one upping each other, provides bucket loads of laughs through out. Vanessa Kirby is a welcome addition to the cast, she portrays Hattie, an MI6 agent who is also the sister of Deckard Shaw. She was excellent in her action moments, but also impressed me during the quieter more character focused scenes. Now two actors I happen to love make cameo appearances that were genuinely surprising and quite simply amazing. You definitely want to avoid having the identity of those actors spoiled for you, and I’d say their inclusion is worth the price of admission alone.

Whilst it does add a few interesting elements to franchise, the main story is serviceable at best. It can’t avoid feeling a little generic. I certainly wasn’t that invested in the world altering stakes of the plot, and to be completely honest I am fine with that. I wasn’t expecting a fully coherent and enthralling storyline. The film would be taking itself too seriously if it was going to attempt to deliver that. One element of the narrative that really does work though, is the importance of family and how it’s conveyed. Both Hobbs and Shaw have a nice bit of character development sprinkled within the script, that reenforces the series common theme of family. The entire third act is built around Dwayne being able to showcase and represent his Samoan heritage, and it certainly provides a more unique back drop for an action blockbuster. That sequence also utilises cars in a manner that truly felt like a Fast & Furious set piece, from the earlier entries.

The majority of the action was captured in a visually appeasing way, and some shots looked as if they contained the necessary scale to be perfect in the IMAX format. With that being said, there are some moments of hand to hand action that did feature a mixture of shaky cam and quick edits, that made those brief moments a little tough to see.

Overall Hobbs & Shaw fully embraces the physics defying mayhem of what the Fast & Furious franchise has become. It’s a testosterone filled action spin off, that features a wealth of great set pieces and consistent laughs. I’m more intrigued to see a sequel to this spin off than I am to see Fast & Furious 9.

★ ★ ★ ★

(4 Stars out of 5)

– T. Graham.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw – Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba and Vanessa Kirby.

Directed by David Leitch.

Now showing in cinemas.

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