The “Fast & Furious” franchise has been a favorite among fans for nearly 20 years, but there’s speculation the “Hobbs & Shaw” film may take a different direction that leaves the original crew out.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are both characters that were introduced a few movies back, but this film definitely is its own story.
When MI6 agent — and Shaw’s sister — Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) goes on the run with a virus that could kill billions, Hobbs and Shaw must work together to keep Hattie and the virus from falling into the hands of a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist named Brixton (Idris Elba, making his entrance into the franchise).
Hobbs and Shaw hate each other. No, they looooooathe each other. We’ve seen them trade punches and insults like they’re 10-year-old boys swapping Pokémon cards, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. A lot of the film is built around these two men and their open animosity towards each other. It’s hilarious, and their odd-couple relationship is a lot of fun to watch.
Johnson, once a professional wrestler, has made quite a name as a comedic actor in the past few years, with 2017’s “Central Intelligence” opposite Kevin Hart and “Baywatch,” as well as the “Jumanji” series. His resume is primarily action films with a lot more on the way. Oh, and he was a singing demigod in Disney’s “Moana.” He’s come a long way from his days of asking WWE viewers if they could smell what the Rock was cooking.
Statham doesn’t do so badly either on the comedic front, although his main focus has always been action films. Although, if you haven’t seen 2015’s “Spy,” you really should.
While “Hobbs & Shaw” breaks rank from the rest of the F&F franchise, it features some of the same elements. For one, it’s ridiculous and completely over the top. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you saw Johnson’s character lasso a helicopter and manage to pull it. (Of course, he did.)
The film also tries to create a theme of family. Not only do we meet Hobb’s 9-year-old daughter, Sam (Eliana Sua), but we also meet his entire family, from whom he’s been estranged for 25 years, when he takes the fight home to Samoa.
Shaw’s own familial ties are explored, as well. We see him visit his mother, Queenie (Helen Mirren), in prison, and his relationship with Hattie is a plot line, as they’ve also been estranged for several years. While Hattie proves to be a kickass member of the team, who holds her own besides the two alpha leads, she also proves to be a sticking point for me.
Throughout the film, we’re given flashbacks to the Shaw children’s childhood. They were always running cons and getting into trouble. Those little scamps. Here’s the problem, and it’s one that annoyed me as I watched the movie and still does. Kirby is 31, while Statham is 52. The film portrays the two as being quite close in age, and while I suppose it’s laughable, it’s also a bit ridiculous.
Granted, it’s a film about a bionic man, affectionately termed “Black Superman,” a daisy chain of trucks, a man dragging a helicopter, and a climatic battle between Samoans with ancient weapons facing off against mercenaries with guns.
“Hobbs & Shaw” may just be the most insane F&F film yet, although I don’t know that you can really call it an F&F film. The two leads, a few references to past events and the thematic elements of insanity and family are the only things that connect “Hobbs & Shaw” to the films that came before it.
It also has set up a completely separate universe. Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie easily carry this film and could do it again. The supporting cast, from Queenie to new addition Agent Locke (Ryan Reynolds), could round out the “crew.” Even Hart’s Air Marshal Dinkley could play a part.
All in all, “Hobbs & Shaw” met its goal for me. I wanted to see a movie that didn’t end with me having a prolonged visit to the theater bathroom. “The Lion King” had me crying in there, while “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” had me playing phone games out of boredom. “Hobbs & Shaw” kept me in the theater the whole time.
Johnson and Statham are funny; Kirby isn’t your typical damsel in distress; and Elba absolutely crushes it — like I knew he would — as the film’s big bad. Johnson’s arms are big — his shirt size is “spray-on,” as Shaw put it — but the action is bigger.
It’s ridiculous fun, which is exactly why you go see one of these films. It feels like F&F meets “A-Team” meets “Mission: Impossible,” but somehow it kinda works. It won’t win any Oscars, but it’s a diverting way to spend a couple of hours, which is all I needed.