Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

By sati (harlequinade) Tuesday, August 13, 2019 , , , , , , ,

(cast spoilers!)

The audience and critics alike loved the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in The Fast and the Furious films so much that the studio decided to green light a spin-off featuring both of them. And now it has finally arrived. I myself only started watching the series when Statham joined it and as far as dumb action movies go, they are really good. And this spin-off has the added bonus of Vin Diesel, the black hole of charisma that actually sucks out the charm of surrounding actors, being nowhere in sight.

Hobbs & Shaw doesn't feel like one of the main franchise's installments. Thanks to David Leitch, the director of John Wick and Atomic Blonde, there are many instances of very stylishly shot action here - mainly with the first time we see Hobbs and Shaw fight and the sequence where Shaw battles the goons as his sister Hattie fights with Hobbs. But the standout action moment is the chase in London where Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie are in the car while Brixton follows them on a motorcycle. It's one of the best action moments of the year, that brought to mind the similar chase in last year's Fallout, except the one in Hobbs & Shaw was even more exciting.
In addition to really impressive cinematography there is a great score, provided by the same composer who gives us those amazing John Wick soundtracks - Tyler Bates. Then there is a great selection of music - mainly terrific use of The Heavy's Better as One as we are reintroduced to Hobbs and Shaw in the split screen intro where we watch them go about their lives. It's one of the best moments of the movie, that terrifically sets the whimsical and fun tone of the film that follows.

But the best thing here is the amount of humor in the movie. Johnson and Statham brought plenty of that to the main franchise but they really get to shine here and because of their mutual chemistry their bickering never stops being amusing. The scenes where they both exchange insults are the best in the movie and that's why the third act - where they find mutual respect - feels a bit off. It's because the writers seem to forget about the comedy and things turn very serious, too serious to sustain the felling of fun we had before we arrived to Hobbs' home.

While The Rock and Statham shine both in humor and charm department, Idris Elba is yet again saddled with the role that makes it difficult to remember he is actually a talented actor. Though not quite as embarrassing to watch as Charlize Theron in The Fate of the Furious, Elba has very little to do here and the cliche script sucks the life out of him. He is a formidable enemy to two capable action heroes but after a while it stops being exciting because we know, in the end, they will beat him.
Then there is lovely Vanessa Kirby, who enchanted everyone with her performance in The Crown and also showed up in Fallout last year. Kirby is wonderful - she is spunky, capable, fun and confident. The only problem is that she plays Shaw's sister and Hobbs' love interest yet she had far more chemistry with Statham than Johnson. And there's Helen Mirren, who shows up for two scenes but clearly has a lot of fun and brings a lot of warmth and charm to the movie.

It's very impressive that the studio had enough restraint now to advertise that Ryan Reynolds is in the film. He shows up quite early on, as a CIA agent who has a serious man crush on Hobbs. Reynolds plays the part like goofier, PG-13 Deadpool without his mask and he is a delight to watch. There is also a mid credits scene - with him in it that is very funny (the film also has post end credits scene). That's right, thanks to MCU we are never leaving cinema before the end credits are over these days.

Hobbs & Shaw is big dumb fun and the best blockbuster of the summer. We had so many bland, poorly made and not fun movies released in the last few months that this one is such a welcome delight.
73/100 (2019, 137 min)
Plot: Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Chris Morgan (screenplay by), Drew Pearce (screenplay by)
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba

14 comments:

  1. Ah, dammmit. I'm not sure I'm going to see this theatrically (can I bring my son?), but I'm glad it's a good time. I still haven't seen the last two Fast and Furious movies (I think), and I wanted to get those in first.

    That's awesome about Ryan Reynolds! I imagine he'd have a really good time in that role.

    Poor Elba. He and Rebecca Ferguson need to make a movie together...uh...unless they already have?

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    1. The last Fast and Furious movie is so much fun and worth seeing for a certain sequence with Statham and a baby :)

      I don't think they had and with the agents they have it would probably be one shitty movie anyways :)

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  2. Fun review. This thing is just what you expect (and want). I gotta say I did enjoy Elba but not because of the material he was given. More because he has such charisma. But why do so many of these big blockbusters struggle to get the villains right. You see it so often.

    As for Reynolds, I'm kinda in the minority with him here. He almost felt like he was acting in an entirely different movie. Something about him felt off to me.

    I love your definitely of Kirby. It's spot-on. She's all of the things you mentioned. And (as you know) I'm weak when it comes to television, but did she stand out in The Crown? I've never seen the show but definitely remember her from "Fallout".

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    1. Oh yes, she was wonderful in The Crown! Even with so many amazing performances there - it's laughable Oldman got an Oscar comparing to how well Lithgow played Churchill in the show - she was still the stand out. The show is great, so well done and very entertaining

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  3. I thought Kirby was fantastic as Margaret so happy to see her getting good notices here. But I don't know what it is about Elba. Is he just not picking the right films or roles for him? I mean I know not every role can be Luther but he doesn't seem to have much luck with roles at all recently.

    Maybe Cats will be great ;)

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    1. His agent just sucks. Him, Hemsworth and Rebecca Ferguson really need to fire theirs, they are wasting their talents so badly

      Oh Cats....will be something for sure :P

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  4. Great review! I'm hoping to see it this weekend. I lol'd at that first photo you have here. I love how this franchise discards physics.

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    1. Oh God just wait till you see The Rock's own "Cap holds the helicopter" moment here :D

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    2. Jumping in here to laugh about the holding the helicopter moment! I'd already seen it 100 times in the trailer but it was so damn funny!

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    3. People in the cinema both laughed and gasped at that :P

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  5. You've totally nailed why I didn't find the final phase of the movie as enjoyable as the rest. I could have happily watched 3 hours of Statham and Johnson insult each other!

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    1. Yeah! I wish there was more humour in there or at least one final jab, but there is one in post credits scene :)

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  6. I had to skip most of this, cos as soon as I saw 'David Leitch' I realised I need to put aside my instinctual assumption that I won't enjoy movies like this at all. I'm such a snob!

    This just came out today, I'll give it a go I think - damn, even blockbusters like this get pushed back a week down here. I know I bitch about it way too often but goddamn, it is infuriating! At least its out now, I'll make it my weekend chill flick =]

    thanks for yet another recommendation!

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    1. I know, it sucks so bad when movies are delayed in certain parts of the world! There's this fun movie out in USA now "Ready or Not" that looks really great and it doesn't even have a release date here :/

      I hope you'll enjoy this one, it's dumb as hell but very entertaining!

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