It's another day, another Fast and Furious affair. Well, a spin-off to be precise, but same difference.
Since the past few years, the Fast and Furious franchise has been successful in retaining a faithful band of movie enthusiasts even as it added more muscle, brought in faster cars and got increasingly ridiculous. Unlike the Rocky, Rambo or the Lethal Weapon series, the Fast and Furious franchise focused more on cars, speed and action than the men and women behind the wheels. And so, while Vin Diesel remained the staple, Universal Pictures brought in the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham to pump up the series, which chugged on despite some unkind reviews.
The latest in the Fast and Furious series, Hobbs & Shaw, has, well, Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaws (Statham and Vanessa Kirby), super cars, superbikes, guns, trucks, some crude Samoa weapons, and Idris Elba as Brixton Lore, an MI6 field agent gone rouge to become a supersoldier, but no Diesel.
An unkillable supersoldier in the like of T-1000 (without the shape-shifting qualities, of course), a militant organisation and some sort of a deadly virus that could eliminate the entire world are added to the aforementioned cars, bikes and trucks to create a storyline that could serve as a thread to piece together the chase and action sequences. After a failed attempt to kick the villain's supera**, Hobbs and Shaws decide to get some help from the estranged family (yes, I have been told that Fast and Furious is not just about fast cars and furious drivers, but it is also about family as well) of Hobbs in Samoa. So they fight the baddies, blow up stuff, kill the baddies, and supervillain gets deactivated. The end!
Now, if you are someone who never bothered about the series and have no clue of the history between Hobbs and Shaw, all you need to know is there is this “big, brown, well-endowed, tattooed mountain of a man” who likes to quote Nietzsche and Bruce Lee and there is a smaller, but equally ferocious man, and these two cannot stand each other. While the first man works for the DSS, the second is a British Special Forces assassin-turned-mercenary. They are forced to team up and save the world while trading insults, which of course is the best part of the movie. The end!
While the jibes and insults are mostly enjoyable, the rest of the dialogues are juvenile. David Leitch, the man behind Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 could very well have employed a high-schooler and could get better dialogues. Sample this, “Genocide, schmenocide,” is an actual dialogue said by Elba's supersoldier, while Hobbs says something like "In life, things happen," on one occasion.
But if you are the kind who gives two hoots about plot, characters and dialogues and want to be be blown away by the chases, gravity-defying actions and explosion, Hobbs & Shaw has plenty of that. The action sequences are well-choreographed and brilliantly executed, especially the one at the fag end of the movie. When the action shifts to Samoa, cinematographer Jonathan Sela shines with some fine aerial shots.
It helps that none of the actors take themselves too seriously in this overstretched affair. Johnson is aware that those that go to theatres to see him are aware of his love for tequila, how huge his cheat meal is and how much he loves his good friend Kevin Hart. You get to see all these and more. Now, if you are more of a Transporter person, there is also plenty of him doing what he does best, kicking and punching his way through dozens of baddies and being the best man behind the wheels. Elba looks menacing enough as the supersoldier and has a few moments in the end, while Kirby revels in being the other Shaw. For a few brief moments that Ryan Reynolds is on screen, he continues with his Deadpool act which includes taking a dig at last season of Game of Thrones, and Hart gets a few lines that would make you chuckle.
In the end, you get exactly what you look for—lots and lots of action and explosions. If you are looking for anything more, well, why would look for anything more in a Fast and Furious series anyway!
Movie: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba and Vanessa Kirby