Saturday, August 03, 2019

Tonight's Movie: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Today it was time to see the long-awaited FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW (2019) starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Statham.

The HOBBS & SHAW spinoff from the Fast & Furious series was inspired by the comedic chemistry of Johnson and Statham in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017); in that film the clash of two incredibly tough guys who are otherwise polar opposites provided the movie's biggest laughs. (And who will ever forget Statham's rescue of a baby in that film, which might be the best sequence in the series to date?)

While honestly I think the filmmakers (including producers Johnson and Statham) needed to do more to develop the humor in HOBBS & SHAW, it was nonetheless entertaining, sustaining enjoyment for its full 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) are recruited to save the world (again!) from a lethal virus and super-powerful bad guy Brixton (Idris Elba). Shaw's sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby, THE CROWN) is also involved; she's an agent who also happens to be infected with the virus.

A wild chase ensues to save the world and obtain the machine which can extract the virus from Hattie's body. It all builds to a wild climactic battle in Hobbs' native Samoa.

The movie is completely over the top when it comes to death-defying stunts and driving, but isn't that what we expect from a Fast & Furious movie? Having seen Hobbs redirect a torpedo with his bare hands in the last movie, no one will be surprised this time around to find him single-handedly holding on to a chain which prevents a helicopter from flying away!

There's plenty of action, with Kirby acquitting herself impressively in this department along with Johnson and Statham. Kirby's Hattie is quick and lethal, and it's of note that she pretty much manages to save herself every time she's in trouble. Along with previously starring as Princess Margaret in THE CROWN, Kirby played an arms dealer in last year's MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (2018).

There's some delightfully campy dialogue in a couple of scenes; one of Johnson's lines near the end was right up there with his hokey "We rebuild" line at the end of SAN ANDREAS (2015). And I loved it.

As indicated, I did feel somewhat let down on the comedy end of things; the title duo's insults of one another early on, in particular, felt a bit rote and predictable. There is some funny stuff, but I simply felt they didn't quite take the film to the level viewers might hope. That said, I was engrossed from start to finish, and the action pretty much never stops. (I liked that they found ways to explain wardrobe changes in the midst of everything else!)

There are a couple big-name actors in the film who were not previously associated with the franchise whose appearances came as complete surprises; since that casting was successfully kept out of the media I'm not going to spoil it here. I was very confused when the first actor turned up and I thought "Wait a minute, he's in this?"

Helen Mirren returns for bookend scenes as the matriarch of the Shaw family. Cute and talented Eliana Su'a takes over from Eden Estrella of THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS as Hobbs' young daughter Samantha.

HOBBS & SHAW was directed by David Leitch. It was filmed by Jonathan Sela.

Parental Advisory: This film is rated PG-13. The violence gets a bit edgy a couple times (flame throwers are involved), but at the same time it's pretty much the usual non-bloody, non-graphic cartoon violence fans of series like Fast & Furious or Marvel have come to expect. There is also a memorable use of the "F" word. It's not for young viewers, but there are worse things older children could watch.

On the positive side, HOBBS & SHAW echoes the ongoing Fast & Furious theme on the importance of family, whether they're a bunch of British crooks or Samoan warriors (who build custom cars on the side). And Hobbs and Shaw always do the right thing, no matter how much it may annoy them. (Speaking of which, there is the unresolved matter of Deckard Shaw having killed Sun Kang's Han in an earlier film; "Justice for Han" is said to be addressed in a future film.)

A trailer is here.

The Fast & Furious franchise will wrap up its first two decades with the 2020 release of the ninth film in the series, and a tenth film is also in the planning stages. Based on the end credits tags of HOBBS & SHAW, there can be little doubt that we can also look forward to another spinoff film teaming Hobbs & Shaw.

Previous reviews in this series: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (2001), 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003), FAST & FURIOUS (2009), FAST FIVE (2011), FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013), FURIOUS 7 (2015), and THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017).


Blogger Margot Shelby said...

As much as I love action movies and Jason Statham, the entire Fast & Furious franchise never did it for me. I prefer Statham by himself. :)

9:50 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's interesting, Margot! As you probably gathered, I really love this series. But I also like Statham alone! He's terrific.

Best wishes,

8:39 PM  

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