For those that have followed the evolution of the Fast & Furious franchise, they will know that the introduction of Luke Hobbs (The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is the reason why the franchise continues to flourish. In recent instalments, The Rock and Jason Statham have been the stand out performers, easily surpassing leading man Vin Diesel with their superior charisma. With Hobbs & Shaw, they cut the fat of previous films, add an all-star supporting cast, and what follows is a more entertaining final product.
The film’s story revolves around Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw being forced to join forces to stop a technologically advanced army, led by a ‘super-soldier’ Brixton (Idris Elba), getting their hands on a virus that could wipe out the world. And in their travels, they also encounter Deckard’s sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby).
Hobbs & Shaw’s introduction scene for their leading men kicks off the film in style and sets the tone brilliantly for what audiences can expect. A split-screen montage sequence shows both characters going about their daily activities while showing the audience their hilariously contrasting approaches. Whether it’s Hobbs lifting heavy weights while Shaw simply lifts a lever to pour himself a drink, or Shaw expertly beating up guys with precise martial arts technique while Hobbs flings the bad guys around like a basketball until he gets what he wants, every moment entertains you and explains who these characters are.
Naturally, the majority of people who pay to see this new action-packed spin-off will have paid to see the duo of The Rock and Statham kick-ass and ooze charisma in every scene they appear in, and that’s exactly what they do! Not only do they kick plenty of ass, but there is not a moment that goes by where these two do not make us laugh. From the two trading “sumbitch” and “wanker” comments, Shaw warning Hobbs about keeping his hands off his sister, or them trying to one-up one another with their fighting styles, there’s never a dull minute when these two are on screen.
Plus, audiences also get an insight into each character’s past and how it put them into the position they are in now. We can connect with them on an emotional level, as well as enjoying their hilarious banter. In addition to the laughs, Rock and Statham supply, Hobbs & Shaw has plenty of surprises that will keep the bar for entertainment very high.
The supremely talented Vanessa Kirby finds herself in another action blockbuster, and unlike previous leading ladies in this franchise, she’s much more than a pretty face. Vanessa is never lost in the shuffle or out of place next to her superstar co-stars, as she matches them for charisma, surpasses them in the acting department, and her chemistry with The Rock is almost as good as The Rock and Statham’s at times. It’s easy to say Vanessa has blown away all previous females in the Fast & Furious franchise with one performance.
Writer Chris Morgan also deserves a great deal of praise for maintaining the quality of verbal exchanges between the leading men and tying together all the character’s in the film and linking this narrative back to previous Fast & Furious films. Reincorporation is another great tool used by Chris to insert Hobbs Samoan background into the story, while also intelligently getting our heroes out of tough predicaments with certain lines of dialogue.
Hobbs & Shaw is also a visual treat, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the thrilling action sequences. However, the film does fall short in a lot of areas. The absurdity of situations and twists in the narrative can become a little fatiguing, so can The Rock randomly putting his shirt back on during an important battle for survival.
One of the biggest letdowns of this film was Idris Elba’s character Brixton. Although we find out he is part human/part machine, he felt like just another villain. He never felt like a genuine threat because he seemed to fall short far too many times, and the fact that you never felt like the heroes were truly in trouble made the action-packed finale a little less impactful as well.
Overall, this spin-off delivers the goods. The tone and use of car chases will satisfy diehard Fast and Furious fans. We even have good old fashion fisticuff action scenes and every type of weapon imaginable. Combine that with a giant scoop of The Rock and Jason Statham, Hobbs & Shaw gives us everything we want, and more!
Dir: David Leitch
Scr: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
Cast: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Eiza González
DOP: Jonathan Sela
Hobbs & Shaw is in cinemas now.