After making a big splash with its first trailer at the Super Bowl, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, a spin-off of the seemingly ever-popular automobile-centric action franchise, became one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the summer. With a majority of this year’s supposed big hits being of disappointing quality (even if they did cash in at the box office), this team-up may be just what we need this summer season.
Ultimately, if you come into this film expecting it to make any kind of sense, you are looking for the wrong thing. This is purely and unabashedly “turn your brain off” popcorn cinema, so abandon all logic ye who enter here, and you may just be able to enjoy what is one of the most ridiculous (and ridiculously fun) action movies of the year. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s easy to laugh along with the absurdity of some of the situations, such as Dwayne Johnson pulling a helicopter by a single chain.
The story… well… does it really matter? There’s a bad guy, a threat that can destroy the whole world, and heroes that are wrongfully framed, so it’s pretty much the plot of any Mission: Impossible movie (one of the writers, Drew Pearce, actually worked on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation). Again, you really aren’t meant to put much thought into the story and whether or not it’s cohesive. Instead, you should focus on watching things blow up.
The main draw of this movie is the eponymous duo. They are two of the most popular characters from the series, played by two of the biggest action stars in the series, so it is only fitting that they should receive their own dedicated film. Johnson and Statham have great chemistry together. They are great at bouncing witty one-liners off of each other (although they aren’t as effective when they are meant to perform with a straight face).
Also a big draw for the movie is the A-list star that portrays the villain, Idris Elba. The villain’s backstory is… questionable, at best. Nevertheless, Elba looks like he is having a blast as the “Black Superman”, and this fun is ultimately infectious. If you look at the character as little more than an excuse to see Elba deliver a few villainous monologues and participate in some cool action sequences, it’s a success.
That said, the film doesn’t take advantage of the rest of its supporting cast quite as well. Vanessa Kirby portrays the sister of Statham’s character, and although she has a few really cool scenes, she is more often than not used as either a plot device or a “third wheel” to the Johnson-Statham team-up. Eiza González and Eddie Marsan both have solid bit roles, but you can’t help but feel like they should have been used more. That said, be on the lookout for some great cameos.
In many ways, this is one of the funniest movies of the summer, not because of nuanced or complex humor, but because you can’t stop laughing at how ludicrous what you are watching is. There are plenty of funny bits too, most of which cash in on the chemistry of the stars to work. Additionally, there are a handful of lines that offer weird and almost inexplicable analogies that you can’t help but laugh at.
In terms of action, this film is definitely a new high for the Fast & Furious franchise, thanks to the contributions of director David Leitch. Granted, the action never meets the beautiful, almost dance-like choreography of John Wick, Atomic Blonde, or even Deadpool 2, but it is definitely more intricate than what we have seen in previous entries. Don’t fret if you are a fan of vehicular carnage, though — there is still plenty of that to enjoy too.
However, the bigger set pieces are noticeably heavy in CGI and green screen. This isn’t a problem for the closer hand-to-hand combat scenes, which are more impressive, but it can get to be a bit distracting in those higher-stakes moments. There are also a few dialogue scenes that were obviously shot against a green screen (most visibly once the movie goes to Samoa) for no apparent reason.
If you are looking for mindless fun this August, look no further than Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. It may not be a great film in the strictest sense, but it is a great popcorn flick, not even in a “so-bad-it’s-good” way — it’s just good entertainment.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw opens in theaters on August 2.