As the Fast & Furious franchise shows no signs of slowing, we now have a spin-off, though naturally still with The Rock, behind the camera David Leitch (“Atomic Blonde“, “Deadpool 2“) is given the reigns.
You know what you are getting with the F&F movies: cars, ‘splosions, fights, guns, bravado, etc, etc, etc, seen it all before. Except, now we’re focussing in on just two characters rather than the whole family-vibe we’ve had previously, and there’s no Vin Diesel anywhere to be seen.
Hobbs, Dwayne Johnson (“Fighting With My Family“, “Skyscraper“), is the big, brash American, subtle as a brick, whilst Shaw, Jason Statham (“The Meg“, “Fast & Furious 8“), is more stealth-like, subtle, at least compared to Hobbs.
These two, who hate each other’s guts, must come together to defeat the mechanically enhanced Brixton, Idris Elba (“Molly’s Game“, “Thor: Ragnarok“), who wants a virus that could destroy the world that is currently in Hattie, Vanessa Kirby (“Mission: Impossible – Fallout“, “Kill Command”).
To get them together we get some very awesome cameos from Locke, Ryan Reynolds (“Pokemon Detective Pikachu“, “Life“), and Loeb, Rob Delaney (“Catastrophe (TV)”, “Deadpool 2“). These two are brilliant and if there’s such a thing as a spin-off of a spin-off, it’s these two I want to see.
Anyway, I digress, as Hobbs & Shaw are continuously at each other’s throat whilst fending off Brixton and his throwaway henchmen, they naturally must learn to come together and get-on in order to defeat him. Honestly, don’t think too much about it. No-one else did.
There’s nothing wrong with these films per-say. It’s a decent, action-film with a whole lot of banter and ‘splosions, lots of ‘splosions.
I’d like to say Leitch handles thing well, I greatly admired some of his work on Atomic Blonde, but here it’s actually the directing that spoilt a lot of my enjoyment of Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.
You see, Statham is a martial artist, he practices, a lot, he’s quick, he’s good, you can’t see most of it because Leitch elects to go all hand-held and close up. Even for Johnson and his less-than-subtle ways, you miss a lot of it.
It would be quite easy to pick where the film falls down: We have Elba who, rather than killing the pair, of which he has plenty of chances, decides to tell them his “evil plan” like an old James Bond film.
We have mistakes in that the motorbikes Elba and his crew use are Triumphs and made to sound electric, up till one point when we get a close-up of a guy revving them. Couple of things here: Triumph don’t make an electric bike (I know this isn’t reality, but there are plenty of manufacturers that do, why not use one of those?) and you don’t rev an electric bike and, if you did, it wouldn’t suddenly sound like a petrol engine.
There is a lot of product placement in the movie. From the Triumph bikes to a super, slow-mo close-up of the words McLaren on the back of Shaw’s car, in case you were in any doubt what he was driving.
In the final big-fight scene, it goes from dark to light really, really quickly and Hobbs, topless with a sarong on, somehow manages to find time to put pants on during the big fight and then throw a t-short on whilst running to save the day. That’s obviously the first thing you think of.
See, I said it was easy. But none of this matters; it doesn’t, not really. This is entertainment and they’re fighting a cybernetically enhanced human, so any basis of reality goes out of the window.
As entertainment it’s a non-stop, blokey-banter filled, many cameo filled (all of whom steal the show) movie that will keep you entertained for the over two-hour run-time. As entertainment, it wins out, as anything else, well, you don’t need to be super-human to figure it out.
1st August 2019
THE QUICK SELL
Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.