Fast & Furious… the franchise that went from street racing to bank robberies, airplane chases, to nuclear weapon plots with fancy cars. If you thought it couldn’t get any stranger… you were absolutely wrong. Hobbs & Shaw has arrived and they certainly know how to make an entrance.
The spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, focuses on Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw and sees the two unlikely tanks team up to defeat a genetically-enhanced terrorist that threatens the world with a deadly virus that melts the body from the inside. The crazy film features superpowers, transforming bikes, the Hakka, crazy stunts, explosions, and some cars just in case you forgot this was part of the Fast & Furious franchise.
To put it simply, this film is absolutely ridiculous in every way- down to the script, the action and the characters. However, it is a fun watch. What is important to note is that to enjoy this movie you need to go in fully understanding how the franchise has developed. What started as an exploration of aesthetically pleasing street races is now centred around world-ending plots and the next biggest stunt. We’ve had cars jumping out of planes, cars jumping across buildings, The Rock guiding a missile with his brute strength, and now enhanced villains. I’m calling it now; the next stop is space.
As a spectacle, this film has it all. Some great hand-to-hand combat, particularly from Statham and Idris Elba who plays the main antagonist. There are some beautifully shot chases, over the top action, things that defy the laws of physics, and explosions and flamethrowers. If they are things you enjoy then this film is for you. Simple.
As someone who enjoys big screen action, I can’t fault this movie for its ambitious attempt to separate itself from the Fast & Furious franchise. While many traits remained the same, it didn’t feel like your typical Fast & Furious movie. However, what I felt dragged this movie down was that it felt like a 2-hour insult game where Hobbs and Shaw would just trade incredibly bad insults at each other non-stop. What it needed was a sense of urgency which I think it lacked. The build-up was certainly there. A worldwide pandemic could have wiped out most of the population and there was no cure. Yet, I forgot that this was happening. This didn’t take much away from the overall experience, but I found myself thinking back to Fast & Furious 5. What I loved about that film was that there was a believable conflict between two hulking characters that resulted in an epic clash and there was that awesome bank vault scene which, to this day, is my favourite sequence due to it’s intensity and innovative approach; I had never seen anything like it at the time. To put it simply, I was neither shocked nor blown away. There’s a little grey area in the middle. That’s where I am.
Hobbs & Shaw was a fun and cool experience. But it played on the conflict established in Fast & Furious 7 and became slightly dry and tedious. While certain cameos spiced up particular scenes, I found myself hoping that both Hobbs and Shaw would stop talking to each other. Maybe they do work better alone.
In terms of new characters, I hope they keep Shaw’s sister around and I am fairly excited as to where they will go with the new villain whose identity is a mystery. As villains go, Brixton Lore is pretty cool main villain. The introduction of cyber enhancements is handled reasonably well since science is irrelevant in the Fast & Furious universe. While Brixton is more of a puppet than a villain, I liked the fact that his presence was continuous. For the life of me I can’t name any other villain apart from Shaw… who is no longer a villain. So, the fact they actually created a memorable villain in a film fully focused on the action is pretty impressive. Having said that, I was fairly disappointed by the final fight. Some of the choreography was incredibly impressive but the jump from normal speed to slow motion created quite a clunky final showdown, especially when you compare it to their previous encounters.
As The Rock and many others have recognised, this is a fun movie created by people who wanted to create a fun movie. They succeeded. However, there are just little things that held it back for me. I am definitely not surprised by the film’s current success. It has already grossed over $300 million worldwide and is doing very well among audiences. I’m not entirely sure what this means for the franchise as a whole. Will we see Hobbs and Shaw meet up with the original crew again? And are we going to receive more spin offs? Only time will tell.
For now, go and check out Hobbs & Shaw and let us know your thoughts in the comments.