The “Fast & Furious” franchise has had one of the most fascinating lifespans in Hollywood, and with its newest spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw”, it has proven that there will always be a time and occasion for a film of the franchise to exist. What was once a localized series focused on youth street racing has now escalated into spy thrillers about bioterrorism and the forced biomechanical evolution of human beings. A very natural progression if you ask me.
The film is exactly what you think it is as all of the franchise staples are there. The action is dialed up to gratuitous-levels, where broken glass is meaningless glitter for “the Rock” to smash through, recoil only applies to people with hair, and sexual tension between the male leads is so thick that it puts Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper at last year’s Oscars to shame. But perhaps the film’s greatest strength is just how self-aware it is about how cartoonish everything is which translates plainly into unadulterated, ridiculous fun.
As you might expect, there isn’t a highly cerebral story in this film. In fact, Idris Elba straight up announces in the first minute that he is the bad guy. Not every movie has to be “Inception” to be fun. Fitting snuggly into the mold of its predecessors, the main theme tackled in “Hobbs and Shaw” is family… and how it is good. A very controversial stance, I know, but one it so boldly embraces regardless of public opinion. The world needs more leadership like this.
There are aspects of the film that are just cheesy caricatures and frankly, it is the appeal of it all. The shadowy head bad guy is nothing more than a comically modulated voice behind a screen, reminiscent of Doctor Claw from the 1980s cartoon “Inspector Gadget” where you never see his face but he is pulling all the strings and he assures you that “I’ll get you next time!”. On top of that, there are absolute gems of one-liners here. Classics like “We are doing things my way!” are here along with spy-thriller mainstay “Grab the asset”. But my personal favorite is “You want to tell me just what the fresh turkey Hell we are dealing with here?”. Powerful, thought-provoking dialogue to say the least.
If you think I am criticizing “Hobbs and Shaw” for being what it is then you are missing the point. In no universe was this ever supposed to be a sophisticated tale. It knows its role very well and fully embraces every quality that makes this franchise as successful as it is. It throws action, humor, big named surprise cameos and homoerotic machismo at you like it is a cafeteria food fight and the audience eats it up. Go see it, turn your brain off for 2 hours and enjoy yourself. There is not much more to say beyond that.
I give “Hobbs and Shaw” a 6.9 (nice) out of 10
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Runtime: 2 Hours and 17 Minutes