By Laurie Coker
Remake after remake demonstrates that Hollywood has little regardless of the genre. Sequels, too, abound. The Fast and Furious series proves sequels do work and now the series also boasts an entertaining spinoff. Featuring three extremely HOT commodities, Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw serves ups a massive dose of action along with some decent humor for good measure. While filled with holes a jumbo-liner could fly through, the film offers pleasing eye-candy, electrifying car chases (using sound effects a la F&F) and muscle-flexing fight sequences.
Leaning on characters from its 2017 parent film, Hobbs and Shaw stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as the titular leads and Idris Elba as Brixton, the films sinister villain. The story begins when Brixton attempts to hijack a truck carrying a deadly virus but before he can get his hands on it, MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) injects the serum into herself and gets away. Infuriated, Brixton, ex-soldier and genetically enhanced super-warrior, kills her entire team, pins the murders on her and follows in hot pursuit. Enter Hobbs and Shaw, reluctant co-heroes who want to independently save the world, if only their egos and loathing of each other would let them. Shaw, a former British military operative who has a history with Brixton and Hobbs an America’s Diplomatic Security Service operative cannot stand each other but they love their families and the world.
Notably, Johnson and Statham have excellent comic timing. Johnson signature smile and Statham’s sexy gruff demeanor, carry the limited storyline and nearly 2 hours and 20 minutes of run time. Kirby keeps up with the boys, making the trio worth our time. As a super-villain, Elba, whose Brixton refers to as the “Black Superman,” gets all the fun gadgets and extremely cool motorcycles, but it is the stars and final battle sequence – playing out like a medieval war scene – that makes the otherwise butt-numbing adventure thrilling. Sure, there is a need to completely toss realism out the window but that’s okay since the entire film is predictable and over the top. Some interesting minor characters, like Lori Pelenise Tuisano, as Selina, Hobbs’ Samoan mother and Cliff Curtis as Jonah, Hobb’s brother, add some sugary spark. There are other bigger name cameos, but obviously, the roles work more for the surprise and any contribution to the film’s sieve-like story.
Like most movies in the genre, Hobbs and Shaw asks little from its audience. Sit back, suspend belief and hang on for a good time ride of laughter and madness. It’s a global adventure, with all the elements that make action-films fun – bulky, buddy heroes, witty banter and an evil villain with a grudge and a connecting backstory – and oh, yeah non-stop, smash ‘em up hand and car combat. Hobbs and Shaw earns a B for better than expected. As sure as the Fast and Furious franchise is far from finished, Hobbs and Shaw will return to quibble and quash more threats to humankind.