Current Issue #488

Film Review: Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

Film Review: Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

A spin-off from the endless Fast And The Furious franchise, this gets a few laughs from the comic charms of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham but still leaves you feeling concussed

Rumour has it that Dwayne and Jason were given this blockbuster after they sparred so well in the previous pic (The Fate Of The Furious or Part 8) but also as a kick in the guts to Vin Diesel, who used to be the star of these movies with the late, lamented Paul Walker.

He rightly feels that Johnson (introduced in Part 5) and Statham (introduced in Part 6) hijacked his damn series and reportedly locked horns with Johnson several times on the set of the last outing, which is a real no-no given that Dwayne Johnson is, well, Dwayne Johnson. But surely he smiled when he recently discovered that this is actually the weakest, dumbest (no, really!) and most exhausting F&F movie yet.

We open with some confused business about a team of MI6 agents including Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby from The Crown and the last Mission: Impossible entry) attempting to seize control of a super-virus that’s sure to cause a sort of worldwide Ebola-like epidemic (or something). This leads to the appearance of rogue loon Brixton Lore, who’s played by a sort of Terminator-like Idris Elba, no less, and prompts Hattie to inject herself with the virus for some ludicrous reason or other.

We’re then introduced to the titular heroes in a split-screen, with Johnson’s family man Luke Hobbs seen in sunbaked LA and Statham’s Deckard Shaw shown in a grey, rainy London as both zoom off to beat up some baddies in unrelated and violent setpieces. Deckard later visits his incarcerated Mum Queenie (Helen Mirren again!) and the plot mechanics grind as a goofy CIA agent played by a big uncredited star turns up to convince Luke to travel to London to team up with Deckard and take down Hattie.

But Hattie, of course, isn’t the one they want, and soon all three are on the run but still managing to globe-trot (even if this was mostly filmed in England and Scotland), as Elba’s Brixton keeps turning up and trying to grab the super-virus at the request of some kind of dopey apocalyptic cult. And you know what that means: one long, drawn-out, preposterously expensive and overly-CGed action sequence after another, most of which are so extreme that they’d almost be funny if they were actually, you know, funny.

As ringmastered by stuntman-turned-director David Leitch (of Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2), this is built upon the stars and their shtick, although they aren’t really allowed to do much besides improbably insult each other and belt the stuffing out of armies of extras who kindly line up to be thumped, shot, strangled and so on. They also take a few blows themselves, which is odd for this sort of thing, and, just to remind us what blokes they are, get kicked and walloped in the balls more than a few times.

Nevertheless, get ready for F&F 9 and 10, and also remember to stick around during the end credits here because, just like a Marvel movie, this offers a bunch of cliffhangers and cringing laughs for those diehard F&F fans out there, all of whom are badly in need of a service.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (M) is in cinemas now

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