Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba
Director: David Leitch
Running Time: 135 mins
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is an American film and a spin-off of the Fast & Furious franchise. After a deadly pathogen falls into the wrong hands, the CIA recruit American and British operatives Hobbs & Shaw to join forces. However, as they search to save the world from an indestructible menace, their egos clash, making the mission all the more difficult.
A spin-off to a franchise that feels light years away from its humble street racing roots, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is more like some sort of alternate-universe Mission: Impossible sequel. Complete with the highest order of preposterous action and what seems like sci-fi, the film is a plainly ridiculous watch, although a thoroughly enjoyable one for the most part thanks to fun-loving writing, some good humour, and two great performances from Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.
In fact, that’s the main draw for this movie, because while it’s got the Fast & Furious name plastered all over it, Hobbs & Shaw has pretty much nothing to do with the main franchise, and is more for fans of The Rock and Jason Statham to enjoy the pair in what is hardly a match made in heaven.
The best thing about the whole film, though, is those two, both of whom are brilliantly charismatic and energetic right from start to finish. Playing off one another with great banter, it’s a real joy to watch Johnson and Statham bicker as their egos clash, and when the action picks up, the pair work brilliantly together too, with the dynamic of their love-hate partnership playing brilliantly into making the action as fun as it can be.
All in all, that’s pretty much what the first two acts of this movie are: an hour and a half of the pair strutting their stuff with great energy and charisma, backed up by a screenplay that makes up for its lack of good storytelling with very enjoyable humour, and a great capacity for fun-loving ridiculousness when it comes to the film’s most outrageous moments.
As I said, Hobbs & Shaw is a film that feels a million miles away from The Fast And The Furious – the very first film in the franchise. What was once quite a down-to-earth film about street racing has evolved into a world of absurd action and preposterous storytelling, and as fun as that is to watch, it doesn’t always make for the most gripping storytelling.
While the main Fast & Furious franchise has also taken a turn for the ridiculous in its most recent instalments, the surprisingly touching running theme of family and loyalty around Dom and Brian brought something more to proceedings. Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t have that to fall back on, and as such is an insane action extravaganza, and little else.
Fortunately, that doesn’t prove too much of a problem for most of the time, thanks to the entertaining dynamic between Johnson and Statham, as well as a sense of the film’s self-awareness in being so ridiculous. However, when those parts of the film aren’t shining so strongly, it is exposed for what it actually is at the core – a very, very generic action movie.
It may be a bit of a rehash of your average Mission: Impossible plot, but that franchise impresses with electrifying stunts and, more recently, excellent storytelling. This film, however, really falters when it comes to properly entertaining action and espionage intrigue, with the final act in particular proving an exhausting and frankly tedious drag to the finish, playing out over the course of one half an hour-long action finale.
The stunts are impressively insane, and will make you laugh too, but in terms of getting you on the edge of your seat, Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t do a great job, proving to be far more generic and ultimately underwhelming than it seems to promise at first.
Overall, I did have fun with Hobbs & Shaw, but not quite to the extent as the most recent main Fast & Furious films. Its main draw of banter and action heroics from Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham doesn’t disappoint, and with good humour and fun-loving, preposterous action, the film is a harmless and enjoyable watch for the most part. However, it really struggles in its weaker moments, lacking the depth of the main franchise, and also sticking to the most generic of blockbuster premises, finishing off in rather poor and even dull fashion, which is why I’m giving it a 7.2.