Ever since hulking lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves.
The long-running The Fast and the Furious film franchise is among of the highest grossing of all time, with a number of the entries managing to gross over one billion dollars. It appears that audiences agree that there is something oddly entertaining about a group of high-testosterone men driving fast cars and beating each other up for a couple of hours, and that is exactly what David Leitch’s Hobbs & Shaw is.
When it comes to the entertainment value here, it is truly a blast to watch and there are barely any boring scenes throughout its titan-sized running time. Whether its The Rock running around and punching villains in the face, Statham getting caught up in car chases, or the two of them together simply trading hilarious insults with one another, it is a genuinely fun film to sit back and enjoy.
You don’t go into a Fast and the Furious film expecting Oscar levels of filmmaking. You go into these films expecting an absolutely ridiculous popcorn flick that in all reality makes no sense and can be over-the-top corny at times, but still manages to stay highly amusing. What makes it work so well though, is that the filmmakers are extremely self-aware about the film. They know that this is not a film to be taken extremely seriously, and therefore, it all feels like a joyride that we can sit back and relax for, rather than one with high stakes.
The action sequences throughout the film are actually a ton of fun to watch, and there are gratefully a bunch of them. For the majority, the action scenes are handled fairly well, managing to stray away from the loathed “shaky cam” tactic of filmmaking, and instead attempting to focus the camera on the actors. There are two true standout scenes in Hobbs & Shaw that are so highly unbelievable yet incredibly amusing that you just cannot help but smile while watching it.
Idris Elba portrays the main antagonist of the picture, Brixton Lore, a cybernetically enhanced man who has a big evil scheme up his sleeve and will take out anybody in his path to succeed. He is most definitely the definition of a mustache-stroking villain. A villain with no real motive if you really stop to think about it, but that all ties into my earlier point – the filmmakers are aware that Lore is a corny villain and they manage to poke fun at him numerous times here and there.
Hobbs & Shaw is an absolutely absurd film, but that’s why its so much fun. It is a blast of a blockbuster with a bunch of action, over-the-top moments and some great comedic banter from Johnson and Statham.
Overall Grade: B-
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren
Directed by: David Leitch
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 135 minutes