Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw Review

Let’s talk about Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw.

I hated Fast and Furious 8. I thought it was an awful movie. I was constantly told to not take it seriously but it was hard when the movie asked us so sincerely to buy into the idea of family and that I should be devastated at the risk the family might be over. Also if you are doing a silly action movie, you need to have larger than life characters and to be honest, most of the F&F crew are dull as dishwater. Vin Diesel is awful and I would go down the list and rip on them but I can’t remember them. I think Ludacris might be in there. The bright pair in that movie were Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham because they played themselves. Vin Diesel, threatened by a man with personality, got into a feud with Dwayne over his limelight being stolen and now we’ve had to split the franchise as if it’s the result of an ugly divorce process.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have been span-off into this new franchise, though it’s pretty much the same as before. Jason Statham’s sister shows up with a deadly virus in her arm and they need to get it out of her before a superpowered Idris Elba and his techno cult are able to get it out of her.

Yes, this is a stupid movie but for once, it doesn’t take itself so seriously. It doesn’t try to make you emotionally feel rather than some rather perfunctory beats it needs to do to keep the story going. The word family is barely mentioned, even though families play a big part in the story. It’s just refreshing to have silly action movie be a silly action movie. To have larger than life characters doing larger than life things and not try and to do anything more. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are not great classical actors but they are damn good performers and are very charismatic. They are very enjoyable to watch on screen in a movie like this and they excel just being heightened versions of themselves here. Their chemistry is fantastic together, to be expected as they were one of the better parts of the last movie, and the best scenes are when they are just insulting each other.

In terms of the new characters, it is a mixed bag. Idris Elba is great as the villain, who as he puts it himself is a Black Superman. Again, it’s just Elba having a lot of fun and going as over the top as possible. It’s fun to watch. His spiel about being the evolution of humanity is not exactly original but he sells it well and you do look forward to seeing his ass get beat. I can’t really say the same about Jason Staham’s sister, whose name I can barely remember because everyone is basically playing them on 11. She’s not bad, she’s certainly a badass and gets a lot of cool scenes, but it’s a case of being surrounded by such big presences. It’s very easy to be crowded out and be the least interesting thing on screen when the other actors are Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba. So when the story focuses on her, you do tune out a bit.

And yep, we get lots of big action scenes which are great fun to watch. You get plenty of daft things such as a McLaren powersliding underneath two lorries, I’m reliably informed this is not possible in real life because lorries have something underneath to prevent this sort of thing, driving a jeepy thing up a crane and towing down a helicopter using a 4x4. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect from the series and I’d say the action is better because it’s mostly done on camera and there is some good use of slow motion to make sure you get to see some of the cooler stuff. There’s a definite shift to standard action and less focus on the cars which again, is to be expected because the cars are now more of an accessory than they are critical to the plot anymore. But it does mean a variety of action and that keep things fun which is the point after all.

Of course when the movie tries to be serious, the movie does take a dip in quality. There are some attempts at emotion but it’s like when you see omelette on a Chinese takeaway menu, you get why it has to be there but if you in your right mind you aren’t interested in it. That’s to be expected though and you can’t be angry at the movie for that. But it is definitely the weak point of the movie and it can’t be ignored. But it’s still much better than previous movies because I can care far more about Dwayne Johnson than the charisma black hole that is Vin Diesel.

I’m not usually a fan of Fast and Furious movies but Hobbs and Shaw ticks all the right boxes for me. It is a silly action movie and while I know the other films are the same, this one just works for me in a way that the others didn’t. Those drove me up the wall because the majority of the characters didn’t match the tone, with them being ultra serious folk talking about family chucking cars through skyscrapers. It didn’t really work. But this with the characters are brimming with personality and so you are more willing to go with them for insane action sequences. It’s not amazing and to be honest the further I am away from it the more I forget about it but it does its job of being a daft summer blockbuster and I can’t fault it for that.

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Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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A Guy Who Talks About Movies

A Guy Who Talks About Movies

Former Head of Movies for Screen Critics. Film Reviews now hosted on Medium.

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