When a franchise’s two biggest stars can’t get along, what do you do? Give one of them their own spinoff movie. And thus the ludicrously double ampersanded Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw was born. With directors now constantly shifting gears, it makes sense to bring in yet another new director for Hobbs & Shaw.
Thankfully, Universal knows what makes these films work and director David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) keeps the action as overblown as expected. Writer Chris Morgan — along with Iron Man 3’s Drew Pearce — also loads stars Dwayne Johson and Jason Statham with hilarious banter to keep things moving along at a quick quip between set pieces.
MI:6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) is on the lam in London after injecting herself with a programmable super virus. Self-described “bad guy” Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) is hot on her trail, bringing Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) to find her. Together, they have 72 hours to keep the virus from going airborne and killing billions of people. That is, of course, if they can keep from killing each other first.
Hobbs & Shaw is ridiculous. If that’s not your cup of tea, well, why are you reading a review for a movie in the Fast & Furious world to begin with? Johnson and Statham continue to have the hilarious chemistry established throughout the seventh and eighth F&F entries. And Kirby adds a new level as Deckard’s sister, with good old mum (Helen Mirren) returning for more fun as well.
As absurd as it all is, there’s no denying these movies are fun. They’re not trying to be high art and never pretend to be anything more than the epitome of big dumb fun. To keep things fresh, Leitch has brought along some fun cameos. To spoil them would be criminal, but let’s just say one of them doesn’t rhyme with “Pulverine.” It’s also nice to see Leitch hasn’t lost his touch for crafting huge action scenes where you can always tell what’s happening. Even if he still can’t resist the cheapness of shaky cam during a few of them.
There are going to be haters who feel like this is just a way to milk the cow dry while the beef settles between Johnson and Vin Diesel. But for the rest of us, we can sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s big, bright, flashy, hilarious, action-packed, and even a little meta. It’s particularly hilarious seeing Brixton essentially being turned into a human jaeger like something right out of a bad Pacific Rim sequel. Hobbs & Shaw may not be much more than a way to keep the franchise idling, but it’s a damn fun ride from start to finish.