'Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw' (2019) Movie Review
Furiously Fast at Being Quick, While Also Somewhat Angry.
The Fast & Furious franchise has now finally gotten big enough to where it’s spawning spin-offs with secondary characters. Wow! In all honesty, I did not predict that to ever happen back in 2001 with the first installment; a film that felt more or less parallel to a discount version of Point Break, but still extremely entertaining. For the most part, I find the majority of the Fast & Furious series to be solidly entertaining. Are there sequels that I care for less than others? Yeah, I’m not all that crazy for 2 Fast 2 Furious; even the title sucks. Other than that, I tend to have a good time watching these flicks. They’re fun popcorn action that doesn’t take itself too seriously and borderlines on total science fiction territory nowadays. The series knows what it is, embracing the goofiness with well-rounded and colorful characters to follow in all the madness. With each addition to the franchise, the more ridiculous the story and action becomes. Yet I remain along for the ride every time.
Hobbs & Shaw Become Buddies!
The characters of Hobbs and Shaw have been some of my favorites from the entire series. When the two teamed up together in the last picture, Fate of the Furious, I thought the comedic chemistry between Johnson and Statham was hilarious. To the point where I was totally onboard with the idea if these two ever costarred in their own movie together. To my delight, that was actually going to happen with their very own spin-off, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. A spin-off that, in my opinion, paid off fairly well as a satisfyingly entertaining ‘buddy cop’ flick. Would I say that it’s one of the best examples of that particular subgenre? Not necessarily. The runtime is a tad bit on the “too long” side and some other minor issues that I’ll get to, but I still had fun with this movie and I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel as well.
Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a man of the law. Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a total outcast secret agent. Together they have to team up in an uneasy alliance to take down a cyber-genetically enhanced Terminator Idris Elba before he ends the world through a virus injected into Shaw’s sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby).
The CharactersClick thumbnail to view full-size
The best thing that Hobbs & Shaw has going for it is the characters, with emphasis on Hobbs and Shaw of course! These are some fun and kick ass protagonists that we gradually invest ourselves in. I’ve always been a huge fan of Jason Statham as I believe him to be one of the greatest cinematic action heroes of all time; charismatic, suave, cool, intense, and downright hilarious. A lot of the same can be said about his co-lead in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who I also have a great fondness for in most projects I see him in. Together, this was one hell of an enjoyable sit since I find their bantering to be a blast to watch with the clashing of their strong personas. I’ll admit that these aren’t the deepest of characters to ever be written, but the performances given by these phenomenally capable actors really shines through to bring some major entertainment value. Plus the insults they come up with for one another are pretty humorous.
What came as somewhat of a surprise was from actress Vanessa Kirby since I haven’t had all that much familiarity with her work prior to this. Granted, I did sense an amazing screen presence from her role in last year’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout. However, she really stood out to me here. Kirby gave quite the solid performance as someone who was a total badass with a cool edge, yet brings some quality emotion when the scene calls for it. I really liked her in this movie and I hope to see a lot more of her soon. She made me laugh, cheer, and a little bit sad because of how good her acting chops were. Fingers crossed that there’s a Hobbs & Shaw & Shaw in the future.
Idris Elba is an actor I get excited to see pop up anywhere. I’m disappointed that he won’t be the next James Bond, but I’m sure that there will be other projects to keep him plenty preoccupied with his awesomeness. At least there better be… or else. Anyways, as much as I like Elba, the script seemed to not give him all that much to work with. He’s perfectly serviceable as the antagonist, in fact he can be rather intimidating as he’s practically the Terminator hell bent on killing everyone in his path. Which was pretty freaking sweet. Unfortunately it doesn’t go any deeper than that. From time to time the dialog will allude to maybe something more that wasn’t quite developed enough between Shaw and his character, ideas that could have injected a little more of an interesting villain. As it is, he’s fine and he handles the action terrifically. Not much more to say on the matter.
There’s Action, Action, and Just in Case… There’s More Action.
Hobbs & Shaw has freaking action to spare for the next hundred action pictures to come out in the next decade. Holy hell. The pacing of the movie always feels as though it is on the go, which for the most is a good thing. I’ll be honest though that there were the briefest of instances where I would have preferred the movie slowed down for just a couple minutes to catch a breath. Don’t get me wrong, the fight choreography/shootout sequences/etc. were cool to watch. Occasionally though, I would have like a tiny bit more time to spend on the characters. Especially since there are subplot threads that could have been supplied a tad more attention and fleshing out. Giving the audience a few extra minutes to allow these characters a chance to engage us more, rather than relying on the bare minimum before moving onto the next big explosion. It wasn’t terrible by any means and didn’t distract me too drastically, I would have appreciated a little more character defining moments is all.
Every major action scene feels as though it is the climax. For myself, that somewhat of a compliment and a criticism simultaneously because the action is undoubtedly grand, but I was almost convinced a couple times that the movie was about to wrap up because of how huge these big epic action sequences became. Not to mention the overly extensive runtime filtering into that factor. The action that was constantly thrown onto the screen amounted to so much that it got to the point where it was utterly cartoonish. Maybe that was the intent and I will admit that it kept me interested in how far the movie was willing to go with it, but it also contributed to my slight exhaustion of how filled to the brim the movie is with the action elements. It’s good action, there’s no argument that it gives a lot of bang for one’s buck. There’s just a lot of it with not all that much consequence from the events unfolded by them once we reach the end of our journey. Plenty of fun to be had, yet brings a few too many friends.
It’s a Little Too Long
Speaking of friends, with all the action squeezed into the picture, one would assume that there wouldn’t be any room for more content. Turns out they made room for cameos, as ill-advised as that may have been. Hobbs & Shaw has a runtime of two hours and seventeen minutes long; that’s heavy for a summertime blockbuster that has no business being any longer than a buck-fifty. Two hours flat at the maximum. Especially when it is so apparent where the excess fat could have easily been trimmed. I won’t lie, one of those cameos did make me laugh, but there were a few too many that overstayed way passed their welcome. Even the after-credits scenes are nothing more than extended cameos that do nothing except waste time. I won’t reveal who these cameo appearances are, I will say that one managed to make me laugh while the rest I mostly sat in silence. At no point did I think these cameos ruined the movie, simply made the pace drag when we could have moved along in the story more smoothly.
That’s a Good Looking Picture
Comparatively speaking, Hobbs & Shaw has the best looking cinematography out of the entire Fast & Furious franchise. Which isn’t all that surprising, seeing how David Leitch is behind the camera as director. The man behind the first John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2. Leitch certainly knows how to make a gorgeous film, there is no denying that. The fight choreography is perfectly shot with fast paced hand to hand combat, the lighting is drenched in gorgeous neon glows and other vibrant color schemes, the special effects I would say are at a B+ to A- ranged quality, and even some of the editing gets a chance to shine on occasion in the picture.
Oddly enough, like the rest of the Fast & Furious series, there is the gratuitous random camera shot of a women’s ass wearing a bikini. I’m not entirely sure how or why that has become a staple of the franchise… wait, that’s a lie. I know exactly how and why that has been a constant in probably every single one of these installments. Only reason I bring it up is because the ass shot seemingly came out of nowhere and was lingered on for so long, just to vanish and with nothing similar ever happen again for the rest of the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a nice ass shot… I’m a pig with an appreciation for the female body, sorry. All I’m saying is that the shot was needlessly random, but I guess it’s at least adopting the spirit of the franchise? I guess? Sure. Whatever, it’s a nitpick on fan service. I’m not going to get upset about one camera shot, it’s simply something I noticed as I watched the movie so I made note of it for my review.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the full title, is a decent time. Not perfect by any stretch, at this point though, I turn off my brain and have fun at these Fast & Furious flicks. If someone goes into any of these flicks expecting sophistication, intelligence, or logic in any form then they’re going to be pissed off walking away from Hobbs & Shaw. Please don’t ever do that to yourself, you will die from a brain aneurysm. I promise. The action is constantly explosive, for better or worse. The cast is fantastic with some pretty funny dialog to bounce between each other. The movie’s length feels slightly extensive for the minimal story that it is telling and the cameos run longer than necessary. Overall, I’d say it’s worth checking out at a matinee screening. There’s definitely plenty of high budgeted eye candy to witness for the big screen and if someone is already a fan of Fast & Furious then they shouldn’t run into too many issues during their experience. Take that for what it’s worth and see for yourself.
In terms of what I mentioned prior, with Hobbs & Shaw technically being a “buddy cop” movie, there are stronger films that I would place over this one. Some of which can actually be spotted referenced in the background of a scene in this movie; such as 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, The Hard Way, Hot Fuzz, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Beverly Hills Cop, Tango & Cash, etc. that I would recommend in a home setting over Hobbs & Shaw. Unless someone is a die hard fan of the Fast & Furious series that puts this series over all else, I’d say that going with one of those other suggestions would provide a tighter and more enjoyable thrill ride. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m saying that one should avoid Hobbs & Shaw like the plague or anything. I’m only stating that there are better films available at the convenience of one’s own television or laptop. Regardless, Hobbs & Shaw remains a good time.
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That’s All Folks!
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw… why is that the full title? Why is it “Fast & Furious Presents”? A movie series now presents spin-off movies? I feel like that’d be the equivalent to if the television show, Frasier, being officially entitled “Cheers Presents: Frasier”. That’s dumb. Don’t do that. Just label it Hobbs & Shaw. It’s fine. Anyways, what do you think? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Wish that the official title was simply Hobbs & Shaw because “Fast & Furious Presents” is unnecessary and relatively pretentious? I’ll drop it… Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a furiously fast day. I’m not good at closing articles!
© 2019 John Plocar