Usually in a “buddy cop” type of movie, the two main leads are best of friends and work well together no matter the case assigned to them. The team handles the bad guy with ease and saves the day. In the latest installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw” flips the script and pins together two lawmen that absolutely loathe each other. The two lawmen, Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, then are expected to save the world from a deadly virus held within Shaw’s sister, Hattie (played by Vanessa Kirby). A robotically enhanced bad guy, Brixton (played by Idris Elba), wants to get his hands on the virus so he can unleash havoc on the world.
“Hobbs and Shaw” is exactly what you expect it to be, being a part of the “Fast” franchise. It has an incredibly thin story you have seen before, the hand to hand combat and car chases. It also delivers jokes (that land for the most part) at a blistering pace to help you enjoy the two hour and fifteen minute explosive joy ride of the summer.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (playing Hobbs) and Jason Statham (playing Shaw) actually have excellent chemistry on screen and do more than enough to keep you laughing at their often constant bickering. Hobbs and Shaw argue over everything like an angry old couple through a good two thirds of the movie. Armed with a huge arsenal of insults to throw at each other, the comedy does manage to stay fresh for the duration of the movie. I thought it would get stale over time, but the script does have some very creative and funny insults that keep you intrigued. Admittedly, the movie is pretty formulaic; bicker, fight, chase scene, bicker, fight, chase scene and repeat. There is no crazy twist that ever comes along which makes the movie super predictable from the starting line. Hobbs’ “crush” relationship with Shaw’s sister is predictable, but does not really go anywhere. There are even some small plot holes along with one giant glaring continuity mistake. Since the movie does a bit of globe trotting, one of the final scenes in Samoa starts at night with a huge fire (that does not really have much of a purpose other than looking cool at night) and within three minutes, the scene is in total daylight. It was a huge oversight that could have been easily fixed. Huge mistakes like that can take you out of a movie real quick.
One other thing, besides the comedy that “Hobbs and Shaw” nails is the slick tech and car chases. Brixton’s motorcycles have Transformer vibes, and even sound like a Transformer, as they can bend and jump on the sides of walls in order to keep pace with the supercharged McLaren. It was almost as if the bikes could break apart to avoid a pole and come right back together without missing a beat. Brixton’s army’s guns also require a chip in order to be fired which was a pretty cool concept that plays well into the story. The audience really receives the “man vs. machine” message that the cool futuristic technology was trying to convey.
The fighting choreography was well done and when it was fueled by a Dolby Cinema sound system, you almost felt every punch. In a loud theater, it was fun to hear the loud engine roars, gunshots, and various explosions. The sound really added to the experience.
Even though it is a spin off of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, the movie did not really feel like a “Fast and Furious” movie. If it weren’t for the Hobbs and Shaw characters introduced in the previous movies, “Hobbs and Shaw” could have easily stood on its own. For what it is, it’s fine because it is ushering in a new “Fast” team and I must admit that I am pretty excited for the new era.
“Hobbs and Shaw” is your typical mindless, popcorn munching, summer blockbuster, stunt extravaganza and there is nothing wrong with that. I did enjoy it for the most part, because I am a fan of the franchise. After all these years, if you’re familiar with the “Fast” franchise, you should know what you’re getting yourself into before you buy your ticket. At the finish line, it does deliver spectacular action and jokes that you and your friends will enjoy. Just don’t expect much of a story to go along for the ride.