It goes with saying that watching a Fast & Furious movie requires a huge suspension of disbelief. The kind where the law of gravity while words like “grounded” and “logical” do not apply, especially when it comes to action sequences.
So, as expected, the first-ever Fast & Furious spin-off continues the same go-for-broke, over-the-top formula that re-defined the long-running franchise in the first place. And given the fact it was directed by David Leitch of John Wick (though uncredited), Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 fame, the action in Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw doesn’t disappoint. No doubt die-hard fans of Fast & Furious movies would be pleased with the movie’s big, loud and insanely-choreographed action set-pieces that are best experienced on the biggest screen possible. Speaking of “insane”, a particular major action scene where Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs joins Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw in a climactic cliffside chase scene to “catch a helicopter” with a chain tied to the speeding tow truck is a must-see to be believed.
Now, if only the rest are as good as the action sequences. The story, which is co-written by franchise regular Chris Morgan alongside Iron Man 3 scribe Drew Pearce, is nothing more than a paper-thin screenplay stitched together into an unnecessarily bloated length of 136 minutes. How paper-thin? Let’s just say the whole movie is basically about Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) forced to team up as unlikely partners to save a rogue MI6 agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) from a cyber-genetically enhanced super-soldier Brixton (Idris Elba). Seasoned moviegoers should know the drill: The kind of guilty-pleasure entertainment that is mostly fillers with some expositions here and there to fill in the gap between the copious amounts of action set-pieces.
Sure, it was a common knowledge that whoever went in for a Fast & Furious movie shouldn’t expect to see a story-driven action film. It was clearly meant to be a fun, dumb and leave-your-brain-at-home kind of popcorn-friendly blockbuster.
Frankly, I have no problem with that as long as such a movie able to sustain my interest throughout the duration of its running time. While I could forgive the hastily-written screenplay, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw fails to establish the buddy-movie angle between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham where it matters the most. I was half expecting a Tango & Cash kind of vibe that Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell used to deliver with flying colours back in 1989. But for all the endless banter and bickerings, most of them are either too cringey, shockingly juvenile or tries too hard to be funny. It also goes to show that even the popularity of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham’s respective characters in the previous Fast & Furious movies hardly mean a thing if there is a little chemistry between them.
Vanessa Kirby, on the other hand, surprises me the most as she steals most of the show from both Johnson and Statham. Idris Elba has a field day playing an over-the-top, though largely one-note antagonist role as Brixton.
Look out for the surprise movie-star cameos and do stick around for its mid- and post-credits scenes.