Hobbs & Shaw Review: Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!
Back in 2001, The Fast and The Furious hit theaters and I was unimpressed. Honestly, I would have never believed you, if you told me that over the next two decades The Fast and The Furious would become one of the biggest film franchises of all-time. Alas, here we are with a series that’s a household name, having raked in over 5 billion dollars. While many would agree the Fast & Furious franchise didn’t exactly start on the right track, the franchise redeemed itself over time by fully embracing over the top action sequences, combined with a dedicated cast who have continued coming back for more.
Given the popularity of these films, it should come as no surprise that Universal’s most bankable franchise would become something much more than a single film series. Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw is the first of what I predict will be many spin-offs to come. Hobbs & Shaw reunites Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), as they are forced to put their differences aside to stop Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) from unleashing a deadly virus onto the world.
If you’ve watched the trailers for this film, you probably have a good idea of what to expect. Director David Leitch ups the ante for the Fast & Furious franchise by creating some of the most insane, over-the-top action sequences to date. Sure, the trailers give you a sneak peek at some of the action but wait until you see these scenes play out in their entirety. These are some of the wildest and most ridiculous action sequences that I have seen in any film franchise this year, including John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.
One scene features Brixton fighting Hobbs and Shaw, on top of a speeding truck, while everything around them is exploding. If that isn’t crazy enough for you, the scene near the end of the film involving a truck, a sports car, and a helicopter should do the trick. You have to applaud the writing team for coming up with these ideas because they push the boundaries. There is zero plausibility in this film, and that’s completely fine since it’s what makes these films so damn entertaining and fun to watch. You just strap yourself in and go along for the ride.
What I’ve found particularly fascinating about Hobbs & Shaw is how excited people are to see this film, regardless of how much they care for the Fast & Furious franchise. I’ve spoken to multiple people who have admitted that they’ve given up on the franchise but want to see Hobbs & Shaw. This says a lot about the marketing for the film and the cast. As someone who has watched and enjoyed all of these films to varying degrees, I can openly admit being more interested in seeing the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off than the last two series entries.
Even though audiences love the franchise for being mindless summer fun, I believe the pairing of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham is what sells this film. Johnson and Statham have such a wonderful on-screen dynamic; you can tell they are both having the time of their lives here. The scenes where they argue and bicker with one another are hysterical. Watching these two macho men act like middle schoolers is just so damn entertaining. It’s a fine line these actors walk, but it works so perfectly because of their commitment to these characters as well as the source material.
While Johnson and Statham are great together, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw. I’ve always felt the female characters in the Fast & Furious franchise have been underused, so it is nice to see Kirby portray a character who can hold her own. Hattie is a bad-ass who doesn’t answer to anyone as she completely embraces being a rogue MI-6 agent. I like how the character is written in such a way where she is never the victim and quick to take charge of the situation whenever need be. There’s a great scene early on in the film where Luke captures Hattie and brings her back to headquarters. I don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone, but it not only shows off how much of a badass Hattie is but how much fun she can have while kicking ass and taking names.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to mention how much I enjoyed the surprise cameos sprinkled throughout the film. You are bound to see a few familiar faces, and these scenes all played very well.
While I did enjoy Hobbs & Shaw, I had a few issues with the film. The runtime is a bit bloated. It’s about 20-25 minutes longer than it needs to be. I was wholly invested in the story until Hobbs and Shaw travel to Samoa. This was when I started to wonder when things were going to wrap up and how. While I understand why the characters ended up in Samoa, the jarring tonal shift took me out of the film. I don’t know if I was just so used to these characters destroying major cities but the exotic location combined with the tribal fight sequence just felt off so tonally different than the rest of the film.
Additionally, the special effects aren’t nearly as impressive at that point in the movie either. Whether there were reshoots or the film went over budget, everything felt very rushed in the end. I would go as far as to say that the ending felt abrupt. Things came to a close way too quickly, with little closure, aside from several mid-credit scenes teasing another mission for Hobbs and Shaw.
Despite a few minor hiccups, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw serves as a much-needed change of pace for a nearly two-decade-long franchise. Director David Leitch gives Hobbs & Shaw his personal touch, allowing this film to stand out from the previous films in the franchise. One thing is for sure, Hobbs, Shaw, and Shaw will be back. This unlikely trio may have very well started a whole new chapter in the unstoppable Fast & Furious universe.