The Fast & Furious franchise is a strange beast. What initially started off as a series of films about street racing has evolved into heists and espionage with over-the-top action. Oh, and family as well. We can never forget about family. This franchise has gotten better since Fast Five, which starred Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Luke Hobbs, who is slowly, but surely, stealing the spotlight from Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto. Furious 7 features Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, as the main villain who killed one of the supporting characters of the franchise. This same character becomes an anti-hero in the next film Fate Of The Furious, where his scenes with the Rock were so lauded that it gave Universal Pictures an idea of making a spin-off series with those two. And thus, here we are. How is this movie? Well, let’s find out. This is Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
When an MI6 agent possesses a deadly virus, it’s up to Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw to put aside their differences and keep the virus from ending up in the hands of a genetically-enhanced terrorist. Nobody goes to a Fast & Furious movie for the plot. No one does. The plot to this movie isn’t anything you haven’t seen in any typical action film. You got two people who don’t get along and they must team up to tackle a worldwide threat that involves a bioweapon. Standard material that doesn’t have much substance to it. Also doesn’t help that the movie is ridiculously lengthy at two hours and 15 minutes. Some fat needed to be trimmed for more cohesion.
The best part of the movie is simple: The Rock as Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw. These two were a riot. Most of their scenes are mainly dick-measuring contests to see who could insult the other the worst. Their back-and-forth banter makes up some of the funniest parts of the movie. Vanessa Kirby plays Shaw’s sister Hattie, the MI6 agent who has a supervirus in her possession that’s basically the driving force of the plot. Idris Elba plays Brixton Lore, a terrorist with cybernetic enhancements that increases his strength and improves his fighting skills. He’s a very cartoony bad guy with not a lot of depth to him, though it’s implied that he and Shaw used to work together. He works for a terrorist group that has a lot of connections. There’s also two cameos that I didn’t expect to see: one of them was Ryan Reynolds. The man was so good at playing Deadpool that he can no longer escape that shadow even when he’s not playing Deadpool. The other cameo is Kevin Hart, who plays an Air Marshall that hooks up the titular duo with a plane and is in a scene that goes on for way too long. Also, Helen Mirren makes an appearance as Shaw’s mother, reprising her role from Fate Of The Furious. Didn’t Shaw have a brother? Where is he now?
There’s not much to spoil with this movie since the trailers gave away every plot beat, which means that the movie is even more predictable. I will say this, though; ever since the fifth movie, the Fast & Furious franchise has been getting more and more implausibly cartoony and this is exemplified with Hobbs & Shaw. This shit is a live-action Saturday morning cartoon on steroids. You come into a movie like this for the action and they did not disappoint on that front. All of the ridiculous shit that’s become a staple for the recent Fast & Furious movies are on display and it’s pushed to the point where this might as well be a superhero movie. I mean, they are fighting a legit supervillain. You also gotta love how Hobbs has become more superhuman with each movie. This dude was able to hold down a helicopter Captain America-style and he’s been taking hits that would kill a normal man. Shaw brings more of those kickass martial arts, which is to be expected from Jason Statham. Every action sequence was a hit: the chase in London, the attack in Moscow, the final battle in Samoa, etc. They’re not as well-shot and edited as, say, John Wick 3, but they get the job done. There are mid and post credits scenes, so stick around for those.
I give Hobbs & Shaw a solid 6/10. This movie does have issues: the story is generic as all hell, there’s not much smart or clever writing, the editing’s a mess, and it’s way too long, thus, dragging things out more than they needed to. But on the flip side, the Rock and Jason Statham were great, the action delivers, and the movie embraces its own absurdity. It’s perfectly fine junk food. There’s not much nutritional value to it, but it tastes good. If they decided to make more of these over the main Fast & Furious movies, I would be perfectly okay with that. I am not looking forward to Fast & Furious 9, especially with the Rock not being in it. And I’ll go back to not caring about this franchise.