Written by Tyrone Bruinsma
In 2001: The Fast and Furious was released. The film was little more than a Point Break clone with surfing replaced for street racing. And somehow-over the course of 18 years: the series would evolve into a save the world ensemble story and become the 10th highest grossing film franchise of all time. Now, it’s got a spin-off and this movie…is pretty awesome fun.
Hobbs and Shaw basically takes the two recent, popular and bankable stars of the prior films-Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham respectively, and just makes them go up against another save the world plot. It’s be like if the Han Solo Star Wars film happened immediately after Return of the Jedi instead of waiting 30 years. Both lead actors are really fun and charming, having extremely great chemistry that gives me hope in this as an ever lasting side series. Meanwhile, Vanessa Kirby who showed up recently as the daughter to Max from Mission Impossible in Mission Impossible Fallout turns in a really strong performance-while also just being badass. And while all the side characters and cameos are fun, I’m mostly a fan of Idris Elba as the main villain. He’s a cybernetically enhanced super soldier (aka “Black Superman”) who identifies as a villain and wants to help save the world still. To me, this is a show of:
1. Idris Elba being a great actor
2. A great villain character who isn’t cartoonish or glorified
3. His potential in James Gunn’s Suicide Squad film
4. Hope for a Black Superman in the DC movies
Now, I could tell you the plot…but the plot is much like the Mission Impossible movies, they don’t matter. The plot exists to create conflict, action and teach characters some lessons. Whoever complains about the plot…clearly isn’t the right audience for this. This film feels more like an 80’s action film, the plot only exists to get our big awesome leads to do big awesome action scenes. Think Commando or Predator or The Running Man, we’re not there for an interesting plot-but for Arnold Schwarzenegger to do awesome stuff.
Because let’s get this straight, the movie is an AWESOME action ride. It’s fun, inventive, engaging and incredibly well done with plenty of variety in its action. Gunfights, brawls, chases, rescues and possibly one of the mad bad ass showdown in the rain fights since The Matrix Revolutions. That’s all thanks to David Leitch. Leitch is one of the two stuntmen turned director who helmed the original John Wick, but while Chad Stahelski stayed in the awesome John Wick world-David expanded. He did the awesome Atomic Blonde, the very good Deadpool 2 and his next film will be the Ubisoft video game movie The Division starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain. Leitch knows how to shoot every action scene in this movie. Perfectly using wides, reversals, slow-motion, close ups and visual gags to create what might be the most Michael Bay film…that Bay never directed. So credit must also be paid to cinematographer Jonathan Sela, who went from directing John Moore trash like The Omen, Max Payne and A Good Day to Die Hard…to Transformers: The last Knight and Leitch’s other films-so clearly he was just missing better directors.
Speaking of visual comedy, this movie is just really REALLY funny. The dialogue has that 80’s movie punch, the action is less tragic and more hilarious and all the actors work well in that realm. While sometimes the main franchise gets very very serious, Hobbs and Shaw is probably the most enjoyable laugh out loud hilarious of the whole series.
And true to the whole Fast and Furious franchise, this movie talks about family. Not as cemented in the word usage, but in the dynamics, characterisations and emotions. It’s a film about how running from family can leave you somewhat cold and detached, how if repairs can be made-try. Don’t run from your problems, confront them and be proud of your heritage. I think it’s a pretty message.
So, if you’re not interested in any of the horror films or don’t wanna waste your money on an expensive remake with no other value, and just want a fun movie to enjoy-go for it.