Movie Review: "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw"
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) works for MI6 and is tasked with transporting a dangerous virus when her unit is attacked. The attacker is extremely strong, extremely fast, and is seemingly bulletproof. Hattie is able to escape with the virus, but she is being hunted by a top secret organization who plans on unleashing the virus on the human population. The man who attacked Hattie’s unit, Brixton (Idris Elba), claims to be the next step in human evolution, as his body has been given a variety of cybernetic enhancements, and will stop at nothing to retrieve the virus.
With Hattie and the virus on the run, the CIA recruits Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to track her down and retrieve the virus. Luke Hobbs simply wants to save the world, but Deckard Shaw is desperate to save his little sister. Both men are fast to jump on this mission because of what is at stake, but both are furious when they learn who they will have to work with. Their mission will not be an easy one, as neither stand a chance against Brixton on their own, so they need to find a way to work together. However, their egos and their disgust with one another may prevent them from being able to do so.
The Pros & Cons
Hobbs & Shaw (+8pts)
The Plot & The Mission (-2pts)
Brixton & Hattie (+5pts)
Brixton’s Abilities (-3pts)
Samoa & The Cameos (+4pts)
Pro: Hobbs & Shaw (+8pts)
Most of the fun in this movie stemmed from Hobbs, Shaw, and their relationship together. These two have very different styles, both during combat and in every day life, but they complement each other well. Now you definitely should not misread that last sentence. The two characters complement each other, but they absolutely do not compliment each other.
Both characters have massive egos, both characters have their own unique style and methods, and both dislike the other strongly. This results in constant banter between the two characters, and a constant game of them trying to one-up the other. They each see themselves as being better than the other, and although they share a common goal, that does not prevent them from trying to berate the other. They hate each other, yet complement each other really well and the two actors have pretty great on-screen chemistry. All together, this made for a reluctant duo that was a lot of fun to watch.
Con: The Plot & The Mission (-2pts)
Okay, so these two things are really the same thing. I know that it is unfair to go into a movie like this expecting a thought provoking plot. However, even with a movie that does not take itself very seriously, I still expect an at least half way decent plot. I expect the antagonist to have a goal that I understand (not one that I agree with) and a plan that makes sense for their goal. I also expect the same from the protagonists. On top of that, the plot gets bonus points if it feels original.
This movie had far from an original plot, and it’s characters’ goals and plans definitely needed some work. Brixton had a pretty generic goal, he wanted to “save“ humanity, but his plan did not make any sense. He wanted to achieve his goal by unleashing a virus that would wipe out most of the population, claiming that people like him are the next step in evolution. However, he did not achieve his abilities through evolution, he achieved his abilities through cybernetic enhancements. Basically, his plan and his goal did not go together at all. The protagonists had a simple goal (stop Brixton) and their plan nade sense, but I did not get why Hobbs and Shaw had to be the ones to do it or why Dom (Vin Diesel’s character in the franchise) and his team would not have been involved. It did not hurt the movie much, due to the cheesy and over-the-top nature of the movie, but the plot was absolutely full of holes and issues as soon as you start taking a closer look at it.
Pro: Brixton & Hattie (+5pts)
While Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw were busy insulting one another, Brixton and Hattie were the two characters who kept the plot moving. Brixton was the formidable, almost unstoppable, antagonist who was hunting Hattie and would let nothing stand in his way. Hattie was essentially the objective of the story, was on the run, and just so happened to be Deckard Shaw’s sister. Both characters were important to the plot in very different ways, but I liked both characters for what they brought to the story.
Brixton, was a formidable antagonist on paper, but Idris Elba gave him a pretty intimidating and charismatic screen presence. He was dangerous, that much was very clear, but Idris Elba gave the character the kind of personality that was threatening in the kind of way that made the movie so much more interesting whenever the character was on screen. Hattie could have been a very typical character, but Vanessa Kirby made the character so much more. She had pretty good chemistry with both Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson, and I liked the tension that her being Shaw’s sister added to the relationship between Hobbs and Shaw (as if their relationship needed any more tension). I also thought Vanessa Kirby did a good job of carrying the plot of this movie and she did a great job of making me care about her character, when another actress could have easily been drowned by the over-the-top personalities from each of the main characters. Hattie was able to hold her own in the story, and Vanessa Kirby did the same with her performance.
Con: Brixton’s Abilities (-3pts)
Brixton’s abilities were either dialed way up, or dialed way down, depending on what scene he was in at the time and what he was doing. I got the impression that the filmmakers made him really powerful, then later regretted how powerful they made him, so they made him pack less of a punch to give the protagonists a fighting chance. For example, we see Brixton severely damage the back of a truck with a single punch, and then we later see both main characters getting punched directly in the face, only to get back up quickly as if they had been hit by a normal man. It just seemed conveniently inconsistent.
Pro: Samoa & The Cameos (+4pts)
The story brought its characters to Luke Hobbs' childhood home, Samoa. We meet his family and learn about his past, but I really just enjoyed the setting. It consisted of a few beautiful locations, and I really enjoyed the action sequences that took place there (although the overall action of the entire movie was pretty good). Setting part of this movie in Samoa was visually stunning, and it made this movie feel unique.
On a somewhat unrelated note, there were also a number of cameos in this movie. I do not want to give them away, but they were both surprising and entertaining. Both major cameos also played a more significant role than I expected. They each had multiple comedic scenes that I really enjoyed. The filmmakers definitely did not need these cameos in the movie, but the movie was certainly better for it.
Con: Realism (-2pts)
This franchise has been no stranger to unrealistic stunts, but this movie had some exceptional ones. There was a parachute landing where the parachutes were deployed far too late and should have killed the characters who used them. There was another scene where Hobbs throws his arm out of a car window and catches a man who was riding in the opposite direction on a motorcycle (with Hobbs' arm not even wavering). There was yet another scene where Hobbs is holding down a helicopter by simply holding onto a chain. There were a number of other similarly unrealistic moments, and none are enough to hurt the movie on their own, but these things consistently took me out of the movie (albeit momentarily).
Grade: B+ (85pts)
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw was a pretty entertaining movie. Was it realistic? Absolutely not, and was it cheesy? Absolutely, but it was quite a bit of fun. If you have seen the last movies in this franchise, then you know that these two characters are a lot of fun to see interacting with one another, and this movie is another example of that. Their constant banter, their competitiveness, their complementary styles, and the chemistry between the actors in these roles makes this pairing so much fun to watch. While these two characters were entertaining the audience, Hattie and Brixton were the characters that kept the plot moving.
I liked both characters (Hattie and Brixton), and I thought both actors did a good job with these characters, but the plot around them was a bit weak. Brixton had his goal, and he had his plan, but the plan did not make any sense given what his goal was. The movie also had the typical, unrealistic moments that you have come to expect from this franchise. Fortunately, it had two strong, entertaining lead characters, plenty of entertaining action, some awesome cameos, and the stuff set in Samoa was awesome. It had some minor weaknesses, but was really a fun time at the movies.