Review by J.T. Johnson
If I had gone back to 2001 and told my younger self that “The Fast and the Furious” was going to spawn a multi-billion dollar international franchise, I would have called myself crazy. If I then told me that it would spin-off another title featuring the Rock and the British guy from “Snatch”, I would have suggested that I be committed right away.
Yet, here we are and the “Fast & Furious” franchise has delivered its first spin-off with “Hobbs & Shaw”, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. It’s also directed by David Leitch, the man who helped bring us “John Wick” and then helmed “Deadpool 2”. The movie is loud, it features incredibly impossible moments of absurdity and it ends up having a lot of fun doing it and the audience is the one that ultimately benefits from it.
Immediately, the chemistry between Johnson, Statham and franchise newcomer Vanessa Kirby can be felt. In the movie, Deckard Shaw’s sister Hattie (Kirby) is framed for the murder of her team and she is carrying a deadly virus in her system. She is trying to keep it out of the hands of Idris Elba’s Brixton Lore, a former MI6 agent that works for a shadowy organization that has access to or controls much of the world’s technology.
In order to find Hattie and the virus, the CIA recruits Luke Hobbs and Shaw to work together. Obviously, these two don’t get along at first, making for a good old fashioned buddy cop action film. These two work extremely well together and by the end of it, I wouldn’t be mad if Universal decides to have another film featuring these two characters.
The movie is also helped by Leitch’s solid direction and well choreographed action sequences. They help showcase Statham’s martial arts skills and Johnson’s brute strength and size. Now, by the end of the film, the action does get just outright insane and completely impossible, but you’re already along for the ride at this point in the film so you end up accepting even the most ludicrous stunts and set pieces.
Another surprise is how good Kirby is as Hattie. Now, I’m not surprised that she could handle the action as she had already proven herself in “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”. What surprised me here was that her character was not just shoved to the side as the damsel in distress or there to simply showcase the movie’s two male leads. She gets just as much to do and she does a great job standing side by side with her two male co-stars.
Yes, I’m here saying that the improbable “Fast & Furious” spin-off actually works. It’s an old fashioned action film that knows it’s an old fashioned action film. It aims to provide nothing more than popcorn entertainment and, for the most part, it provides exactly that!