Monday, August 5, 2019

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! The next one is 2 Hobbs 2 Shaw.

Fast & Furious Presents:  Hobbs & Shaw – 4 out of 5

I’m a fan of the Fast & Furious franchise.  Each film is filled with exciting action, fantastic cast members, fun characters, and they are delivered in a slick presentation and slathered in energetic soundtracks.  Also, it’s an insanely lucrative and successful franchise that is built on diverse casts, so that is impressive all by itself.  When I first heard they were going to do a spinoff about Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw I was all-in because they are two of the series’ best characters.  The trailer made the film look fun as hell so I definitely had to check it out.  Does it live up to the standards this franchise has created?  You bet it does!

                                                                                                         Universal Pictures
They both are mad because the other won't pull their finger.

In an effort to stop a deadly programmable virus called Snowflake from falling into the wrong hands, MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) injects herself with the virus, leaving her safe but for only a limited amount of time.  However, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba); a cybernetically enhanced agent of the terrorist organization Eteon, has been assigned to retrieve the virus by any means necessary.  In an effort to save the world, the CIA and MI6 bring in Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Hattie’s brother Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) with a mission to bring her in and stop Lore…that is, if the two can get along long enough to save the day.

                                                                                                         Universal Pictures
Put this walk in slo-mo and add "Why Can't We Be Friends?" to it.

One thing that impresses me about the Fast & Furious franchise is how it has evolved.  Street racing was its main emphasis during the early days and now it has become a full-blown action franchise.  Fast paced driving action is still a main dish but the days of it centering on street racing and street crime is long gone.  This film continues that evolution as this spinoff goes sci-fi and does so seamlessly.  Brixton Lore is, as the character puts it, Black Superman in the film due to his enhancements he is given.  These enhancements mean superior fighting skills, increased strength and agility and an almost invulnerable body.  This could have easily felt out-of-place in a franchise that was built on fast cars but due to the series constantly developing itself to be more of an action franchise this change never felt odd or like a curveball.  In fact, it felt like the next step this series needed to remain fresh and it opens the door to more sci-fi leaning stories in the future.

                                                                                                        Universal Pictures
Family is the franchise's running theme and this one manages to showcase family
without ever having to constantly use the word.  A rarity in the franchise.

This sci-fi-centric spinoff allowed for some new and varied action to take place.  The fast pace vehicle-based action is still here and a whole lot of fun but having a supped up bad guy allowed for some cool and very exciting hand-to-hand combat sequences.  And speaking of punches and kicks, this film has some terrific fight choreography—especially in Vanessa Kirby’s fight scenes.  Add in some guns and explosions and this movie doesn’t skimp on the popcorn action.

                                                                                                         Universal Pictures
"Alright boys...staring the death."

The cast in this one is pretty fantastic.  Hobbs and Shaw are already two really fun characters in the franchise and both are played by terrifically charismatic action stars.  Additionally, Johnson and Statham have a fantastic and amusingly antagonistoc chemistry that makes their partnership pretty fun.  Vanessa Kirby is a great addition to the franchise as she is incredibly talented but is a legit badass who hangs with the rest of crew without a problem.  She has a fight scene with The Rock that was just awesome-sauce.  Idris Elba was just an incredible antagonist.  He had that right balance of being tough and cocky without being annoyingly arrogant.  Finally, the supporting players really helped bring life to the rest of the tale.  I loved Cliff Curtis as Hobbs’ estranged brother and there were some fun cameos that I did not expect to see.  I won’t say who they are but their moments were very entertaining and amusing.

                                                                                                        Universal Pictures
Is it too much to ask to have Idris Elba in every movie being made?!?

I had a lot of fun with Hobbs & Shaw but there were two drawbacks to the feature.  The first one is the story tries to have a romantic subplot between Hobbs and Hattie.  This isn’t developed very well and it ultimately goes nowhere but the hard part about was how they only really explored it in a very specific way and that was putting Hattie and Hobbs into a sexual suggestive situation during the action.  For example, there would be a fight and she’d wrap her legs around his neck or she would straddle him while he was driving in a getaway.  This is pretty much the only time they try to develop a relationship and attraction between the two characters and it comes off very lazy and extremely lame, in my opinion.

                                                                                                         Universal Pictures
It could have been worse, I guess.  She could have had no fight scenes and
only existed to be a damsel in distress and an object of lust.

One element that was fun but also frustrating was the animosity between Hobbs and Shaw.  For the most part, they are very amusing with their hatred of each other and that forms into a great partnership but it too often transformed into tasteless toxic masculinity.  It’s fun when you have Hobbs calling Shaw short or Shaw calling Hobbs a giant who sticks out like a sore thumb but there were too many times where they just insulted each other’s dick sizes.  When their arguments became dick measuring contests the exchanges felt lazy and the fun was no longer there.  We live in a world of toxic masculinity, I was hoping their animosity would have been a little more lighthearted and silly rather than watching a frat boy-esque argument that you can see too often in daily life.

                                                                                                        Universal Pictures
Fun Fact:  I felt like I was a hundred pounds fatter looking at The Rock
for two hours.

Hobbs & Shaw is a great first spinoff to the Fast & Furious franchise.  The action is exciting, the cast is fantastic and the story does a great job of standing out but also feeling like it belongs with the series it budded off from.  It has some minor drawbacks but that didn’t stop me from having a good time with this one.

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