Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Elza Gonzalez, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds
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It’s neither particularly fast nor furious, but it’s a goofy good time if you can settle into its boofhead charms.
The Fast & Furious series is one of the weirdest action movie franchises to have ever existed. First launched in 2001, it currently has eight main movies to its name and a spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, with at least two more on the way. Tracking the timeline of these blisteringly stupid movies is an exercise in befuddling futility, however, if you can let go of things like consistent story logic and plots that contain even a poofteenth of credulity, a good time can be had here.
Hobbs & Shaw tells the tale of bald-bonced, raspy-voiced perma-scowl, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and bulbous, glistening, sentient meat mountain, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) who are enemies due to circumstances from previous Fast & Furious movies that are honestly far too convoluted to get into here.
They are forced to work together to foil a plot that involves Deckard’s sister, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) and a “programmable virus” wielded by a “cyber-genetically” augmented baddie, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba).
If you had trouble reading that sentence with a straight face, Hobbs & Shaw at least seems aware of how jar-droppingly stupid it sounds and delivers the material with a knowing smirk that, thankfully, never attains Michael Bay levels of unearned smugness.
The plot zaps through various environments and countries, giving our heroes plenty of time to flex their muscles and deliver sardonic quips, all while a thumping bass-heavy soundtrack does its best impression of a nightclub at 2am.
Statham grunts and grimaces his way through most scenes and Dwayne Johnson is so enormous, at times it’s hard to believe he’s not a skillfully rendered CGI creation, and yet somehow the chemistry between the two leads is quite enjoyable. Vanessa Kirby is also a likeable presence and a surprisingly credible action hero. Idris Elba, however, is saddled with a part that even by the standards of this franchise is too damn goofy to really appreciate. The self-described “black Superman” feels like he’s walked off a low rent Terminator sequel and has very few chances to show off his numerous natural charms.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is an awe-inspiringly stupid movie, but in a way that manages to be enjoyable and engaging. It’s slickly directed by David Leitch, buoyed by mostly capable performances and contains enough solid (if bloodless) action scenes to keep you grinning through most of its 136 minute runtime. It’s neither particularly fast nor furious, but it’s a goofy good time if you can settle into its boofhead charms.