Friday 2 August 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Movie Review)

As far as movie titles go, I don't believe they can get more silly than Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the first official spin-off in the ever-popular series about fast cars and the people who like racing them. And silly is a word that can be used to describe this movie (and the entire series as a whole), as it embraces the comedic firepower of its two leads, while also fully veering into the realm of science fiction with its outlandish plot and action sequences.

That plot involves a rogue MI6 agent called Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), who is tasked by a terrorist organization (Eteon) to retrieve a weaponized virus (Snowflake). But Lore is no mere rogue agent, having had his body augmented by cybernetic implants that allow him to perform superhuman feats like punching through walls and generally being badass. To prevent him from getting the virus, a female MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby) injects the virus into her own body. But she is framed for the theft of the virus and the murder of her entire team, forcing her to go on the run.

This prompts the authorities to bring in their greatest assets for just such a situation, the titular heroes Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). And almost immediately, both men find themselves at loggerheads with one another, even as they are forced to put aside their differences in a race against time to find the virus and its carrier before the bad guys do. Or worse, before it goes airborne and threatens to wipe out the entire human race.

I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of the Fast & Furious films, even though I absolutely adored the first one as a kid for the mere fact that it starred my two favorite action movie stars at the time, Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez. Both actors are missing from this installment but the on-screen chemistry of its two leads make up for that, with their constant bantering and one-upmanship. Some of the jokes are hit or miss, but the dynamic between the two is always a joy to behold.

As for the action sequences and stunts themselves (because let's face it, that is the only reason why most people would be considering seeing this movie), they more than live up to the franchise's name, with their complete lack of respect for the basic laws of physics. Especially egregious in this one was a particular scene towards the end involving a helicopter and a number of cars and trucks hooked up to it. Not only was the action logic-defying, but the scene manages to shift from night time, to day time, to full-blown thunderstorm, all within the span of a few minutes!

There's a certain B-movie appeal to movies like Hobbs & Shaw, with their leave-your-brain-at-the-door sensibilities and the reckless abandon with which they present their events. So if you happen to subscribe to such, then sure, you'll get your money's worth from watching this one. But if you never liked the Fast & Furious franchise or you're hoping this one might be the one to win you over, then prepare to be somewhat disappointed because this is as cheesy as they come.


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