Is it a yay or nay for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw?
Warning: minor spoilers ahead
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is the latest chapter of a franchise that’s been around for almost two decades—that’s a long time for anyone in the entertainment business. And as they might all tell you anyway, falling under the umbrella of a title, no matter how popular, doesn’t necessarily spell success.
So how does Hobbs & Shaw even fare?
The film follows America’s Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs and former British military elite operative Deckard Shaw as they are tasked to work together to save the world.
The Hobbs & Shaw connection
There’s no denying that Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs has some real on-screen (mis)chemistry with Jason Statham’s Shaw. The two battle it out with words and angry faces from their first scene together and this comedic battle follows through in some of the film’s most pivotal moments. It starts off as hilarious—especially if you are unfamiliar with the franchise’s more recent releases—but it somehow gets old as Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw continues on.
You just want to say: we get it; you guys don’t get along and you can throw some major shade each other’s way. Congratulations.
Fortunately, the connection between the actors and characters goes beyond this shallow hatred. They push each other to be better and work off of each other’s charm, mic-drop statements and humanizing moments. In the end, it makes their roughly sewn relationship something worthy to watch.
That sprinkle of Vanessa Kirby magic (plus some Idris Elba badassery)
New to the franchise is Vanessa Kirby, The Crown’s Princess Margaret, and Idris Elba, who you might remember as 2018’s sexiest man alive. To say that they were great additions is a little bit of an understatement.
Kirby is spectacular; she is the strong, intelligent and independent woman that 2019 requires her to be. She’s swift and manipulative but can still charm the pants off of Hobbs as she stands atop a mountain to take in a breathtaking sunset. A woman that can kick ass and look great doing it may not be the most realistic but it she is definitely an aspiration to strive for.
Meanwhile, Elba delivers as the film’s antagonist. He gets your blood boiling—whether in agreement or frustration is completely up to you—and you believe his performance, which is really all you can ask for in this situation.
20 percent story, 80 percent action
The first 30 minutes of the film flies by as each aspect of the bigger picture is dropped one after the other. One scene flows into another in almost perfect symmetry (made easy, of course, by the contrast between Hobbs and Shaw). There’s potential—you can almost feel it—but then it drowns in all the action that eventually follows.
Yes, you’re bound to get your fill (and more) of fist-to-face punches and elbow-to-jaw strikes. You’re going to see a lot of throws to the ground, pushes to the wall and the muscles to back it all up. Sit tight, everyone, you’re going to get it all (including a Captain America situation).
But you gotta ask: What happened to the cars?
When The Fast & The Furious franchise began, it was all about the cars: what they could do, how they looked, who looked great in them. As the years (and movies) have passed, it’s become less about the speed and definitely more about the action.
If you’re good with that, good for you—but there’s something missing there for those of us who see the films to get a glimpse of the unattainable rides, the vehicles we can only wish we'd one day have. Sure, there’s a great McLaren 720S that gets some serious air time, as well as some decked out trucks at the rear of the film, but you still have to ask: What happened to the cars?
All in all, not a bad movie. But it was definitely a long one.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is now showing in cinemas. And if you’re willing to sit for 136 minutes of film—a great deal of which relies on speed, CGI effects and impossible strength—then enjoy yourself.
Art Alexandra Lara