Stuck Between The Rock and a Hardcase
Chris Kavan - wrote on 08/10/19
It was inevitable that we could get a Fast and Furious spinoff at some point - especially once the action started turning from "awesome car races" to "physically impossible insanity" which pretty much has lasted for the last three films. In fact, I'm surprised it took this long. Even though it caused some animosity among the "family" Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham make a damn good dynamic duo, and have great on-screen chemistry. The film is as ridiculous as you would expect, but it's the perfect way to cap off a summer.
The premise is this: Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), MI-6 agent and sister to known criminal Deckard Shaw (Statham) is tracking down a dangerous biological agent with her team. This agent, code-named Snowflake, has the ability to liquefy your insides and, as an added bonus, has a 100% mortality rate. But just when her team has things under control, super-solider Brixton (Idris Elba) shows up on the scene, decimates the team and wants to claim the sample for Eteon (your typical cult/global conspiracy tech company) in order to thin out the herd - that is kill off anyone they don't deem worthy of continuing the human race. Before he can get his cybernetically-enhanced mits on it, however, Hattie injects herself and makes a getaway.
Enter Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw - who are contacted separately for the same mission: retrieve the sample (and thus Hattie) and defend against Eteon and their Black Superman (I think he's more like Black Terminator - but potato - potahto). In a bit of great casting, Hobbs' contact is none other than Ryan Reynolds, who has a huge man-crush on Hobbs (and also spoils the final season of Game of Thrones - you've been warned).
Thus the duo who hate each other grudgingly decide to work together in order to save the world (for the third time, as Hobbs points out). Of course this involves a trip to a decomissioned Russian nuclear site-turned laboratory (I'm not sure if it was supposed to represent Chernobyl, but it looks awfully close) as well as Hobbs' home in Samoa, where he has not visited in 25 years. It also involves crazy chases, lots of punching, gunfire, explosions and at least a dozen things that wouldn't be possible in reality - the most extreme example (no spoiler since it was in the trailer) is Johnson holding onto a chain attached to a helicopter and not getting his arm ripped off by the sheer force.
As I said, Hobbs & Shaw is not based on reality - but that doesn't mean it's not fun. I especially like the inclusion of Kirby, who, despite her makeup choice, holds her own with the boys. She kicks ass and takes names - and even though she is a damsel in distress, she's no princess and will gladly take down the bad guys as well as our main boys. Speaking of which, the banter and insults between Johnson and Statham is just fun to watch. There is a thin line between love and hate, and the two dance around it like trained professionals. And while the rest of the Fast and Furious cast is MIA, the theme of "family" still resonates strong - with Hattie and Deckard coming together and Johnson reuniting with his estranged brother (played by Cliff Curtis) and mother (a spitfire played by Lori Pelenise Tuisano). It may not be a main entry, but it still manages to convey the same message.
Hobbs & Shaw is an enjoyable action film. It may not have the most substance but sometimes you need a bit of fun in your life and this delivers on cue.