Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) – Film Review
Director: David Leitch Writer: Chris Morgan Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, and Helen Mirren Runtime: 135 min Rating: PG-13
There has been A LOT of talk around Hobbs & Shaw, from why it was getting made to the various discussions on the sets of other Fast & Furious movies. Let me tell you what you should care about, simply, and save you some time: Hobbs & Shaw is one fun, mind-blowing, thrilling, exciting, hold-on-to-your-seats rollercoaster of an action film. Just. Get. Your. Tickets.
Hobbs & Shaw sees the team up of two whoop-you-in-the-face characters we’ve come to love from the Fast franchise: Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). The two not-so-subtle characters are brought together to take down the big bad, genetically enhanced wolf Brixton (Idris Elba), hell bent on altering humanity. Textbook action film right? You’ll be in for a surprise.
A spin-off film tends to be a challenge, especially when it comes off the heels of a successful franchise. A bar is set for what audiences come to expect for the film, and sometimes that bar is too high and unfair for a completely new piece of work. We’ve seen this historically in other spin-off films; Deadpool and Creed being very successful in moving away from their origin franchises to become standalone, epic films. Hobbs & Shaw joins that family of successful spin-offs, and for many reasons.
From a 30,000 foot level, the film is a celebration of what the Fast franchise has been all about: driving fast cars, characters showing love and appreciation for family, and making a hell of a lot of noise doing both. From the moment the film opens, till literally the end credits (yes, you better stay till the end!), the film immerses you in that very familiar, high-octane thrill ride. You actually want to pay attention to every little nugget of activity as it all comes together. David Leitch has successfully weaved together a story that you want to enjoy.
What Leitch has also done is bring his own, signature approach to filmmaking to the table, reflected in his other productions. I really don’t want to give anything away, because there are moments in the film that you just don’t see coming. It is filled with surprises, creative and engaging dialogue, and a pace to the story that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Sure, everything blows up, and everything is fast, but you should know that going into a “fast” and “furious” film!
What I have a great appreciation for in this film are the characters, their dialogue, and how they are presented on screen. What the creative team has done is tap into the strengths of each of the cast and bring out their iconic personal brands within their film characters. Vanessa Kirby is a fabulous talent, both on stage and on screen, with an ability to really dive into her roles. She does exactly that in Hobbs & Shaw, providing the franchise with a new character that we are likely going to see again very soon. With films like this and Mission Impossible under her belt, expect to see many more action films from Kirby in the future. Johnson pairs his iconic past with his popular present to bring a character that you just appreciate even more, while Statham gave a performance that reminded me of one of his classic characters (and one of my favourites): Bacon from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. For course, you then have the baddie. Elba is no stranger to taking on unique, and interesting characters. From his stint in the Marvel universe to the mind-boggling Luther, Elba delivers a villain that you actually appreciate it. Pair each talent’s characters with the beautifully weaved dialogue, and sprinkle in some explosives, and you’ve got a party.
Honestly, there is a lot to love about this movie. It is a proper summer blockbuster, popcorn movie. One piece of advice: you aren’t watching the film to think. Is it going to be a unique story that is going to blow your mind away? No. There are films that are intended to do that, while others are simply meant to thrill. People sometimes go in thinking they are about to be changed because of the experience. This isn’t one of those films. You are going to watch it to feel and experience the awesome ride, and that is what the whole Fast franchise is all about. Excitement. If you treat it like an experience, trust me, you won’t be disappointed.