Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls welcome to the latest film from the blockbuster Fast & Furious franchise, here is Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles of Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw respectively as the boys are back in town and this time they are on their own adventure. This time there won’t only be gravity-defying cars or tech that could bring the world to its knees. No, no this time we have super-soldiers, a virus that will cull the weak and leave only the worthy in the world and the greatest sexual tension seen on screen in recent years.
Set some time after the events of The Fate of the Furious this latest Fast & Furious adventure is deeply flawed and there’s a simple reason. It takes itself way too seriously for a film where Idris Elba’s villainous Brixton dubs himself the Black Superman (how great would it be if he played Val-Zod). He even has a Decepticon-esque motorbike that actually transforms to keep up with Shaw’s driving skills while his cybernetically enhanced body allows him to go toe to toe with the inhuman strength of Hobbs.
Barely fast or furious
Even though these bat-s**t crazy elements are happening, they don’t feel as bombastic and ridiculous as they should and I feel this is down to the director. David Leitch is one part of the team that brought us John Wick and he also directed Atomic Blonde and unfortunately, his distinct, realistic style clashes with the over the top style the Fast & Furious franchise has become famous for. In Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw all the moments feel neutered because a sense of flair is missing. It’s competently directed but there’s no sense of personality and for all the issues with the previous films you can definitely say they had personality.
The film does have a decent final battle, that is shot well, between the villain and heroes but it’s too short, too obvious and it comes too late to save the film from the mediocrity it places itself in. Hell, you’ll have seen most of the cool action in the trailer.
Plus the film is easily 45 minutes too long. There is a definitive moment when it could have ended and director David Leitch chose to turn the film into a Mad Max-esque battle arena in its final 30 minutes with a lazy ass montage included. Once again this sounds ridiculous and over the top instead, it comes off as cheesy and stupid in the worst possible way.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, a thin premise
It’s funny that I see Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw dealing with the same issues The Pirates of Caribbean franchise had with its later films. It turned interesting side characters into leads and it does not work. The reason being that Hobbs and Shaw are two sides of the same coin but both sides are testosterone-filled and bulging with machismo.
Watching the two of them going back and forth constantly is never funny because we had that in the previous film. The dialogue doesn’t help when 9 out of 10 times they’re just spamming size insults at each other. There is also a strange romance subplot between Hobbs and Vanessa Kirby’s character Hattie. It feels weird especially when there is a lot more sexual tension between Hobbs and Shaw.
If there was anything I enjoyed it was Idris Elba’s villain who is chewing up the scenario. He knows he’s a superhuman and he’s having a blast. He’s not given enough to do but what he is given is fun and that is the most fun I had in this film. The way his powers are designed are well choreographed and laid out cinematically in the film and I appreciated how this “superhuman” was built.
Ultimately Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is a pedestrian affair. The chemistry between the two leads is far too abrasive to be charming and instead of bouncing off each other they slam into one another. The villain has some decent one-liners and the action set pieces look cool but there are so many issues that stop it from being anything more than a rental when it releases digitally later in the year.