Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Posted in Reviews by - December 27, 2019
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Big dumb fun from stuntman-turned-director David Leitch, parachuted into the Fast & Furious franchise after not messing up the second Deadpool film. He’s not trusted to control part of the official canon, mind, but rather a spin-off produced by franchise stars The Rock and Jason Statham, who first traded blows in the seventh Fast film as renegade agent Luke Hobbs and east-end thug Deckard Shaw respectively. Foes become friends this time around as the alpha-duo are thrown together by the CIA to track down a genetically engineered superhuman tough named Brixton (Idris Elba) who, backed by a covert crew of technophile maniacs, wants to get his hands on a virus which will wipe out a load of people in a bid to refresh humanity. The plot is very much a device to move from one breathtaking set-piece to the next, setting up the character dynamics in London and Los Angeles before hotfooting to Moscow for a monster truck chase as a factory blows up, before eventually landing in Samoa (The Rock’s ancestral home) where the team resort to old-school clubs and fisticuffs before a batshit crazy helicopter chase.

So much of the film’s enjoyment stems from the two leads, who are charm-personified and nail the film’s tongue-in-cheek tone. Few Hollywood heavyweights could so convincingly wrestle both the physical demands of a globe-trotting smash-fest with muscle-car chases and over-the-top heroics, with the type of sassy, deadpan verbal acrobatics displayed during the movie’s (brief) quieter moments. There are laugh-out-loud scenes here thanks to a punchy, witty script (and no doubt some improvisation); a comfortable fit for someone like The Rock (a veteran of family fare), but Statham is the surprise joker in the pack. Since his scene-stealing spoof in Paul Feig’s 2015 film, Spy, Statham has proved himself to be no slouch in the comedy stakes, and he is an absolute hoot in this. Extended cameos from Ryan Reynolds, Rob Delaney and Kevin Hart are also completely hilarious.

Vanessa Kirby is not left wanting, either, overcoming the burden of being the only principal female cast member in a very male-dominated film. She is fabulously furious as Statham’s estranged sister (despite an age-gap of over 20 years). Elba is a solid, ass-kicking adversary and more than happy to inject life into his Terminator send-up, and Helen Mirren also drops in to pick up a paycheque. Frothy, inconsequential nonsense of the highest order. Play it loud and serve with beer.

AKA: Hobbs and Shaw.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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