WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs, a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw, a former British military elite operative, first faced off, 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 gains control of an insidious bio-threat, which could alter humanity forever, and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent 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 they.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The Fast and Furious is a franchise that no one saw coming - the first and second movie didn’t show much of an indication of the money-making machine it would soon give birth to, and finally it has led to its first spinoff - Hobbs and Shaw - two characters that somehow went on to live beyond their limited roles. Expectations might have been reserved, but the sheer star power shared between Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby and Idris Elba makes this one helluva spinoff that will make you fall off your seat laughing, while at the same time thrilled by the complex rhythm that makes up the action sequences.
Hobbs and Shaw are living their own lives, fighting the bad guys the best way they can, but a deadly virus and black Superman bring them into a close partnership that both hate but neither can survive without.
While I was a big fan of the first two Fast and Furious movies, when it started rolling into a massive franchise, I completely lost interest in it, save when Charlize Theron turned up as a villain. Hobbs and Shaw was never going to be on my list of most anticipated movies of 2019, but it sure was one of the most fun movies I’ve seen this year. It has three core elements that create a surprisingly great movie - a sincerely witty banter written by snarky geniuses, action sequences that will leave you breathless and a duo that should never have worked on paper but somehow will become your favourite buddy-cop team-up.
Johnson and Statham don’t exactly do anything different than what they normally do in their performances, but the intense contrast drawn between the two’s style of action make it a delight to watch. This is further bolstered by the most legit badass sister - played by The Crown actress Kirby - and a handsome devil - Elba - whose villainous nature is easy to understand without being too simplistic. The cheese is constantly dripping off every line, but it works so well in the grand scheme that the audience will pretty much embrace it all and may even demand more.
The only downside is its length - with a runtime of two hours and 15 minutes, the plot stretches out itself way too thin - just shaving off even half an hour would have got the story moving faster without losing any real substance. The film surprisingly puts a lot of effort into character development for both lead characters, but I don’t believe this was wholly necessary for this kind of action movie. There’s also some question over the drive behind the villains - the technological armageddon threatening the world is slightly overdone in cinema, but the filmmakers reign it in just enough before it becomes too overbearing.
Despite its plot flaws, Hobbs and Shaw deserve its star rating purely for the surprising quality of a spinoff, and because the stunt choreography is pure art guided by the hand of physical genius - namely stunt extraordinaire and director David Leitch (who also directed Deadpool 2). Whatever your feelings are about the Fast and Furious franchise, this one can stand tall all by itself, and one can only hope that the duo continues calling each other asshole for a couple more movies.