Does this flick deliver everything fans of the series have come to expect and love, or did it crash and burn? See what our movie critic has to say.
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Eliana Sua, Cliff Curtis, Eddie Marsan, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, Eiza González and Helen MirrenDIRECTOR(S): David Leitch
THE BACK STORY: The Fast & The Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw centers around two men who could not be more polar opposites: Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is a hard-nosed, meat and potatoes, truck-driving badass who splits his time working for the DSS and being a father to his 9 year-old daughter Sam (Eliana Sua). Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is a suave, suit-wearing former Mi6 agent with skillful hand-to-hand fighting skills to go with his beloved sports cars. His imprisoned mother Queenie (Helen Mirren), however, wishes he would reconcile with his sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) so she could see her kids together before she possibly gets out of jail.
As luck would have it, Queenie may get her wish because Hattie, who is currently a top-level Mi6 agent, just got framed for murdering the rest of her crew by Brixton (Idris Elba), a cybernetically-enhanced worker for a mysterious corporation named Eteon that looks to speed up the next step in human evolution … By releasing a super virus inadvertently created by Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) with a 100 percent fatality rate. But guess who stole the virus and injected into her body before Brixton could get his hands on it, leaving her only 72 hours to live unless those capsules get taken back out of her body first?
Now with Hobbs and Shaw commissioned by their respective agencies to go recover the virus and save the world – and if they can in the process, save Hattie, too – these two dudes are going to have to learn to get along before they kill the bad guys … Or each other.
THE REVIEW: After eight Fast & Furious movies, you could say that the series pretty much has its formula down pat: You get a bunch of guys (and girls) who are equal parts pure sex and testosterone who in turn exhibit traditional values of family over everything, staying faithful to those faithful to you … And forgiving people who have been coerced into seemingly turning against only to find out they had good reason to do so and/or never did. Hobbs & Shaw continues this tradition, pausing only to add two big name comedic stars in roles that could have long-term implications, a precocious child in Sua’s Sam and another female lead that proves she can more than hold her own.
In short, if you’ve liked the last say three or four Furious movies, you’re going to love Hobbs & Shaw which does everything in its power to prove the old adage of “too much of a good thing” never applies when you’ve got insane driving sequences, rampages of hand-to-hand combat and gunplay and a group of Samoans ready to throw down.
Evoking a strong “I hate you/No, I hate you more” vibe not seen working this efficiently since the days when Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte were also paired up against a clock, Hobbs & Shaw focuses on everything Johnson and Statham are good at: Kicking asses while dispensing quick one-upping one liners before turning to show the classic “badass with a heart” mode with their respective family members. Each actor makes all three elements of their characters work in a genuine fashion, never once feeling forced, out of place or silly in a way that would make an ever-so-tight-lipped Dominic Toretto smile.
Elba hits all his marks as the bad guy who doesn’t really view himself as the bad guy yet know why everyone thinks he’s the bad guy (besides all the killing), making his Brixton the baddest black Brit since Lennox Lewis was winning heavyweight titles. He fares well as a matchup for Hobbs and Shaw, playing his antagonist well in much the Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger vein of black supervillains. Likewise, Kirby more than holds her own as the tomboy girl all young boys would want to hang with before growing up into the girl next door you’d love to date … If she and/or her older brother didn’t beat you down first with their fighting skills.
Throw in a final showdown in Samoa that pays homage to both The Rock, er, Johnson’s wrestling roots (complete with a signature move by his cousin Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i) and the Fast & Furious longstanding foundation of family and you’ve pretty much got everything you need to make Hobbs & Shaw a worthwhile spinoff. (The three well-known comedic actors who also lend their talents to the film also carve out great comedy niches in their abbreviated screen time, making their roles more effective in the brevity.)
But for a franchise now nine films deep with at least two more on the way, brevity is not something Fast & Furious fans are going to have to worry about – at least not while Hobbs & Shaw has anything to say about it.