Seven Bucks Production/Chris Morgan Productions/Universal Pictures
Directed by David Leitch
Produced by Dwayne Johnson/Jason Statham/Chris Morgan/Hiram Garcia
Screenplay by Chris Morgan/Drew Pearce
Story by Chris Morgan
Music by Tyler Bates
Cinematography by Jonathan Sela
Edited by Christopher Rouse
Two thoughts occurred to me about an hour into FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW. Don’t worry, they’re not bad thoughts as I loved the movie from start to finish. Hey, if Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham want to continue playing Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw in a series of insanely goofy screwball comedy/action movies (They very rightly could have titled this movie “The Road To Samoa”) I’m in. But there’s two things that hit me and I want to get those things down before I get too caught up in my own review and forget them. Here goes:
So I suppose that we’re all okay that Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) was introduced to us in “Furious 7” as a coldblooded assassin who straight up murders most of the staff of a hospital and a couple dozen military soldiers to visit his comatose brother? He also kills a member of Dominic Toretto’s team and tries his damndest to slaughter the rest as well as DDS agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). In my review of “The Fate of The Furious” I mentioned that the movie never really resolves the issue of Shaw having killed one of Toretto’s best friends and does quite a bit of fancy dancing in a subplot involving the rescue of Toretto’s son to allow Shaw to be redeemed and to actually join Toretto’s crew. To give FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW credit, the story does go into the background of Shaw in some detail and attempts to provide a reason for why he was a zero-bullshit stone cold-blooded killer in “Furious 7” and is now a wisecracking twinkle-in-his-eye rogue in this movie. Which brings me to the second thing:
FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW does an excellent job of swiping the theme that the “Fast And Furious” movies ruthlessly bludgeons us with in every installment: the idea that Family Is Everything and If We Stay Together As A Family Nothing Can Beat Us. But this spin-off actually does its mother franchise one better as the story gradually reveals that both Hobbs and Shaw made their life and career choices based on their relationships with their dysfunctional families. And in the case of Luke Hobbs, when he’s reunited with his family on Samoa and we find out his family’s background then we fully understand his near fanatical pursuit of criminals. In between dodging blizzards of bullets, explosions and legions of mercenary killers, Hobbs and Shaw work out their family issues while saving the world.
Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are forced to team up due to Shaw’s sister being implicated in the slaughter of a MI6 Black Ops team and the theft of “Snowflake” a supervirus that can actually be ‘programmed’ to kill selected targets. MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) injected Snowflake into her own body to keep it out of the hands of Eteon, a terrorist organization dedicated to speeding up the evolutionary development of mankind through technology. Believing that the weak must first be killed off to allow the strong to thrive and reap the benefits of the advanced technology at Eteon’s disposal, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) pursues Hattie. Brixton himself is a recipient of Eteon’s technology as he has cybernetic implants that make him a superman.
And so Hobbs and Shaw go off on their globe-trotting adventure taking them from England to Russia to Samoa, all the while insulting and constantly trying to upstage each other. The situation is complicated both by Shaw’s past history with Eteon and Brixton and the growing mutual affection and respect between Hobbs and Hattie.
Not for a minute should you take anything seriously about this movie because it simply isn’t that kind of movie. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, one of the most depressing things about the Daniel Craig James Bond movies is that both the “Mission: Impossible” and the “Fast and Furious” franchises have figured out how to do James Bond movies better than James Bond himself. The chemistry between the two leads are what makes a lot of this movie work. Johnson and Statham are obviously having a lot of fun throwing insults at each other as well as punches at the bad guys. And speaking of Idris Elba, much as I like seeing him as the hero, he can play a villain equally as well and he does so here, throwing himself into the insane plot with a straight face that gives the character the weight he deserves. And the global criminal/organization of Eteon in this movie is what S.P.E.C.T.R.E. should have been in the James Bond movie of the same name.
I enjoyed the cameos a whole lot. I always love seeing Helen Mirren in anything and both Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds appear to be setting up their characters to appear in future Hobbs & Shaw adventures and I wouldn’t mind a bit except that I wish Reynolds had actually taken the time to make Locke his own character and not just play him as a maskless Deadpool.
I had an absolute blast watching FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW. It’s an undemanding action movie, one that is designed to do nothing more than provide you with laughs in between the thrilling bone-crunching fights, explosions, car chases and gunfights. It runs mainly on the jaw-droppingly outrageous stunts, the charisma of its stars and your willingness to let yourself sit back, relax and be entertained. I highly recommend that you do so.