Sunday, August 4, 2019

Movie Review: "Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw" (2019)

Director: David Leitch
Year: 2019
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 17 minutes

Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are tapped by the CIA to make sure the deadly virus called "Snowflake" doesn't fall into the wrong hands.

Movie still for the new Fast and Furious film Hobbs and Shaw where Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham argue in military gear before they go into battle
"People cannot be trusted to do the right thing." (Image Source)
Even without Dominic Toretto, the "Fast and Furious" franchise is, and will always, be about FaMiLy, now in spin-off form. "Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw" is directed by David Leitch, who has directed "Deadpool 2" and "Atomic Blonde." Leitch was also an uncredited co-director on the original "John Wick," so it's safe to say he knows his way around an action movie. The screenplay is written by "Fast and Furious" mainstay Chris Morgan, who has been a writer on the series since "Tokyo Drift," as well as franchise newcomer Drew Pearce, who worked on "Iron Man 3" and "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation." A crew of MI-6 agents attempts to recover a deadly virus known as Snowflake from a criminal syndicate called Eteon when they are ambushed by its agents. Agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) injects herself with Snowflake to keep it out of the hands of Eteon's top killer, a mechanically-enhanced super-criminal named Brixton (Idris Elba). Since Eteon controls many media companies (and therefore, the public narrative), Hattie finds herself on the run and framed for treason. Meanwhile, the CIA taps DSS agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and former spy-turned-criminal-turned-rogue operative Shaw (Jason Statham) to find Hattie and keep the virus out of corrupt hands. Hobbs and Shaw must also attempt to set their differences aside so they can save the world...again.
Vanessa Kirby and Jason Statham flip upside down and go airborne in a car in a movie still for the 2019 action film Hobbs and Shaw
"The population of the world is in their hands." (Image Source)
We know exactly what to expect when we sit down to watch a "Fast and Furious" movie: a big, dumb, loud, fun summer action flick. What started out as a "Point Break" knock-off about drag racers who hijack big-rigs has turned into a full-blown super-spy franchise about characters with superhuman abilities. Screw Batman! In the next few years, kids will have posters of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw on their walls! These movies are ridiculous and are loaded with over-the-top action, explosions for days, and incredible-but-unbelievable stunt work. For us, this series has had both hits and misses, so we're glad to report that "Hobbs and Shaw" is a blast and a half. Sure, it's excessively long, it's full of unnecessary exposition, it has way too many characters, and it talks about family every fifth sentence, but that's all part of its charm, right? Speaking of charm, Dwayne Johnson, everybody! Much of "Hobbs and Shaw" consists of Johnson and Jason Statham doing their back-and-forth action hero banter shtick with one another as they look for (and find) excuses to beat each other up. Johnson gets to (literally) throw and drag people around while exuding swagger and oh-so-much-panache, and Statham shows off his signature martial arts agility and dry, deadpan British delivery by the fistful. Statham takes care of his opponents in a more graceful and stylized manner than his beefier counterpart, who prefers flexing his muscles (the ones on his arms and in his head, duh!) and showboating to stomp his enemies. Johnson and Statham both look like they had a helluva great time kicking ass and taking names, and we know we had a helluva blast watching them do it. Joining them is Vanessa Kirby as Hattie, who can definitely hold her own in a fight. We got a taste of Kirby's action movie abilities in "Mission: Impossible - Fallout," and here, she proves (yet again) she's tough as nails and can easily kick it with the likes of Statham and The Rock. We also appreciate that they never sideline her character, which we were afraid they would do considering a project like this oozes masculinity from every pore. Finally, we'll watch Idris Elba do anything (seriously, how is this dude not James Bond yet?!). Even when his character doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of in-depth backstory, Elba makes it work. He is believable as the cybernetically enhanced villain Brixton, who describes himself as "Black Superman," though his philosophy is closer to Thanos' (world peace through mass genocide). The stakes couldn't be higher with him as a baddie, but there was never any doubt in our minds that Hobbs and Shaw could take him, which is a little bit sad to say.
Movie still for the 2019 film Hobbs & Shaw where Idris Elba shows off his cybernetic enhancements as the villain of the story
"You don't save the world with genocide." (Image Source)
You know what you're getting when you buy a ticket to see "Hobbs and Shaw." It is ridiculous and implausible, the special effects are physics-bending, the dialogue is cheesy as hell, and the story is rudimentary, but despite all this, there is an endless amount of entertainment to be had in a movie that is, by very definition, a quintessential summer popcorn flick. Kick your feet up, turn your brain off, and just enjoy the ride. You won't regret it.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
RT Rating: 67%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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