As the film begins, the screen splits into two halves, on the left Luke Hobbs (Johnson), and on the right, Deckard Shaw (Statham). Hobbs lives his life in the rays of the sun, doing curls and lifting weights; Shaw lives his in the darkness of the rain, spending his time reading the paper at a pub. The two agents are polar opposites, made clear within the opening moments of the film, as their contrasting lifestyles and the accompanying colorations of said lifestyles prove so; a simple, yet effective storytelling device director David Leitch pulls out to establish what will be the most important aspect of the film: Hobbs and Shaw’s disunion. Not only does this cause the two agents to be reluctant to work as a team, creating a compelling problem and turning the first act into less Hobbs and Shaw, and more Hobbs vs. Shaw, but also sets up for a lot of fun banter in this testosterone-filled, pack-a-punched action fest. With beautiful women and plenty of explosions, Michael Bay would be proud.
“Black Superman” (Elba) wants to wipe out a large chunk of the global population in an attempt to evolve the human race, and the only men who can stop him and save the world? Mortal enemies Hobbs and Shaw.
I’ve never been keenly interested in the Fast and Furious franchise, having only seen the original 2001 film, but how could I not be excited by an over-the-top action film starring two of the genre’s biggest stars? And because it is a spin-off, I didn’t feel pressured to watch the other Fast and Furious films beforehand. And trust me, you do not have to see the other films (although I’m sure it doesn’t hurt), and this movie is nothing but over-the-top. The franchise has become known for defying the laws of physics to provide exciting and awesome stunts and action sequences, and Hobbs and Shaw makes sure to raise the ante with high-speed car chases and fist fights galore. Dwayne Johnson is charming, Jason Statham is stone-cold, and both are bad-ass as they make the whole effort look easy. Idris Elba also makes for a good villain, relishing in the power-hungry role of Brixton. But don’t let the male stars distract you from Vanessa Kirby, who plays MI6 agent and Shaw’s sister, Hattie; she impressively holds her own and adds a touch of grace to the film’s explosive nature. Lastly, watch out for a pair of celebrity cameos which make welcome surprises.
However, I must admit this film was over-advertised. The first trailer had me hooked, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this. Nonetheless, additional trailers showcasing more moments of the film were released leading up the film’s opening, to the extent of which a little bit of every plot point had been sprinkled into the public eye; even if only for a couple seconds, practically the entire film is revealed somewhat in the trailers. And as comedies sometimes suffer from using their best jokes in their trailers, Hobbs and Shaw hints at its best action moments in the trailers too. The film is able to meet expectations, delivering on what was already promised, but struggles to surpass expectations with fresh content. The film also falters in keeping the pace high-octane all the time across its 2-hour-16-minute runtime, the quieter moments also some of the more plain.
Taking a fan-favorite element of a film, and spinning it off in its own film, can be risky, but Hobbs and Shaw allays any doubt and proves the characters can carry a franchise of their own. Not only that, but the film reminds me of last year’s summer-hit, Mission Impossible: Fallout, just not even close to as clever. 7.5/10