Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw | Hollywood Movie Review by Anupama Chopra | Film Companion


Jaw-dropping action, cool one-liners and the
industrial-strength charisma of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw proves
that these ingredients are enough to make a reasonably entertaining movie. This is the first standalone vehicle of The
Fast and the Furious franchise – the previous 8 films have made more than $5 billion worldwide. For those who came in late, Luke Hobbs is
an American special agent. Deckard Shaw is a former British military
operative. The two first faced off in Furious 7. Of course they hate each other. And of course now, they must join forces to
save the world. The film is directed by former stuntman David
Leitch who’s also directed Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2. It’s no surprise then that action is the
centerpiece of Hobbs & Shaw. Writers Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce engineer
the simplest of storylines – a virus called Snowflake that melts your insides must be
prevented from getting into the wrong hands. Morgan and Pearce then proceed to weave stunts
and comedic banter into it. Hobbs and Shaw are polar opposites. Leitch establishes this early on in the film. We see them in split screen as they go through their day. It’s telling that Hobbs drives an SUV and Shaw, a sports car. Or that while Hobbs pumps iron, Shaw, in this
elegant suit, has an espresso. Johnson and Statham have such distinct personas
and physicalities. They make a great odd couple. In one scene, these two hurl glorious insults
at each other. Hobbs says something about Shaw’s Harry Potter accent and Shaw tells Hobbs that he sounds like a giant tattooed baby. Basically, they’re deadly assassins behaving
like five year olds. It’s a lot of fun. The action veers from standard issue car chases
in London to a staggering set-piece in which several cars and a helicopter are hooked together. Vanessa Kirby plays an MI6 agent. She also gets to execute killer moves including
putting Hobbs in a headlock. Her eyeliner and mascara are always in place,
even when her head is battered and bleeding. But this is not the sort of film in which
you question these things. The weakest link is Idris Elba as Brixton,
a biologically enhanced supervillain. In an interview, Elba described this character
as ‘part human, part robot, all ego.’ At one point, Brixton declares: I’m black
Superman. But mostly, Brixton is a personality-free
henchman, taking orders from this disembodied voice. This is the actual supervillain who runs
a biotech company. He wants to kill weaker human beings and augment others. I’m assuming we’ll meet him in a later
film. Meanwhile Brixton growls and furiously rides
this futuristic motorcycle, which just shows up whenever he needs it. This is the closest Brixton gets to a loving
partner. Elba could have pulled off a majestic, Thanos-like
bad guy but the writers don’t give him enough, either in depth or in wit. The script is cheerfully silly and honestly,
the lack of logic hardly matters. When you go into a Fast & Furious film, you
know exactly what you’re signing up for. But at 135 minutes, that last stretch becomes
an endurance test. The action is offset by family subplots. The franchise traditionally comes with a Karan
Johar-style messaging about loving your family. But here it just adds to the length and wears
your affection thin. But props to the team for taking the climax
to Samoa – I’m assuming it happened because that’s where Dwayne Johnson is originally
from. At least the backdrop is scenic and the weapons
are unique. Hobbs also does some deadly Samoan war cries. There isn’t anything particularly memorable
about Hobbs and Shaw, but I think the film does an efficient job of being mindless entertainment. It goes well with over-priced caramel popcorn.

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