Now miles away from its franchise roots ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ is the first spin-off from what began as series of simple street racing films. ‘Deadpool 2’ director David Leitch is behind the steering wheel for this entry with series regular Chris Morgan, along with the help of Drew Pearce penning the story. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as the franchise favourite, titular characters here once more, but would they be able to carry this film without the rest of the fast family?
Well the action certainly doesn’t need any extra NOS as it’s as over the top as now has become expected with this franchise. It doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of some of the previous ‘Fast & Furious’ installments, maybe bar that one skyscraper sequence previewed in the trailers, but this slight reigning in of these sequences does the film the world of good. The best sequences of action are most definitely the ones that feel closest to the series’ beginning, with a car chase through London proving the most entertaining. If you’re worried that sounds a little tame fear not as there’s plenty of more ridiculous and far fetched action sequences for those who have enjoyed the trajectory of ludicrous action that the series has been on in recent years. The narrative is suitably far reaching too, especially when looked at in the grander context of the series but it works for what the film is trying to achieve. It has some striking similarities to ‘Mission Impossible 2’ but the story lacks a certain urgency which may well prevent viewers from becoming overly engaged and as a result means the action isn’t quite as gripping as it could be. Nonetheless, the action remains the strongest element of the film. The problems arise when the characters begin to converse.
We all know that Johnson & Statham can nail the tough guy role and there’s no denying that when they are in the midst of the the action they excel at this. It’s a shame that this doesn’t transfer over to the desired comedic rivalry that the pair are meant to share. Much of the dialogue present in these moments is cringe inducing and the pair ham it up to almost parody levels. Due to these bemusing put downs and elaborate descriptions written for the pair with the intention of constantly out doing each other at times it’s hard to distinguish Statham’s portrayal of Shaw from his appearance in Paul Feig’s espionage comedy ‘Spy’. There’s times this works but more often than not this comedy falls flat. The new additions to the main cast are actually far more entertaining to watch with Idris Elba’s villian proving a menacing foe for Hobbs & Shaw to face and Vanessa Kirby more than holding her own against this testosterone filled cast. On top of this there’s some other smaller roles/cameos including some pretty big names, none of these feel particularly natural though and all come across as bizarre rather than funny. But seriously where’s our Queenie Shaw spin off with Helen Mirren taking top billing?
Ultimately the film does benefit from its spin-off status giving viewers a break from the cinematic wrecking ball of dumbness that the main series resembles, if only to resemble a slightly smaller wrecking ball itself. The narrative is simple, yet flawed and in a bizarre turn of events the finale seems to turn in to live-action ‘Moana’ but it gets the players in place to provide the tire shredding action audiences have come to adore about this franchise. However, it’s unfortunate that to enjoy this aspect you have to put up with the worst element; the dialogue, which actually manages to be dumber than the action.
Written by Hamish Calvert
Star Rating –★★★
Question:Which actor do you prefer, Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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Thanks to Movie House Cinemas for screening access