The Fast & Furious franchise goes into a different spin-off than usual in Hobbs & Shaw, swapping vehicular muscle for the human – and superhuman – kind.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have their action buttons clicked to the extreme setting, and are ably assisted by Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) in a battle against a cybernetically-enhanced Idris Elba? Seriously, do you need to know more?!
Bullets fly within about a minute of Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw rolling. This sets the pace for a couple of hours of gloriously preposterous action that scarcely lets up.
Law dude Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and former military bloke Deckard Shaw (Statham) are brought together like oil and water after Shaw’s sister Hattie (Kirby) steals – to save it from falling into dangerous hands – a rather nasty human-engineered virus that melts people from the inside. Her method of pilfering involved injecting it into herself, so a race against time commences to get it the heck out of her before it triggers. The problem is, more nefarious types really, really want to get hold of said virus for their own plotty-plot-plot ends. Chief amongst these is Brixton Lore (Elba), who is seemingly at quite the advantage as he’s been made all truck-hurling, computerifically superhuman. Can a combination of American and British muscle and guile outdo him? Grab a snack, sit back and drool contentedly…
While this bears little resemblance to the vehicular extremes of the franchise that’s spawned it, one key tenet of Fast & Furious lore carries over – the importance of family. From the sibling Shaws of Statham and Kirby (who gets to have a whole bunch of fun here), through to Dwayne and his onscreen daughter, and beyond to the big guy rekindling his Samoan roots, it’s almost as prevalent as insane, over-the-top stunts (many of which hit in slow motion, of course).
Having been involved with John Wick and Deadpool 2 previously, director David Leitch knows how to pump up the action, and how to do it with visual flair. He has a lot to play with here, with some of the action set pieces bordering on the ridiculous (and wonderfully so). If the sight of some old banger utes bringing down a military helicopter isn’t enough to get you grinning, just wait until The Rock pulls the chain…
Beyond the action lies a decent line in buddy cop tradition, with the lead duo bickering their way through with insults that range from clever right down to C-grade playground material. Their chemistry is never deniable, and is key to delivering the comic relief – it can’t all be about the explosions. Furthering the comedy tones are a couple of cameos that we’re itching to divulge, but are probably best left as surprises – at least for a few hours before the internet detectives tell everybody and their pet bunnies about them…
Ultimately, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is possibly the biggest, dumbest, actioniest and, erm, flickiest Big Dumb Action Flick ever made. Naturally we mean that as high praise.
In cinemas: August 1, 2019
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Directed by: David Leitch