Director: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Eddie Marsan, Eiza González, Cliff Curtis, Eliana Sua and Helen Mirren
From the ludicrously spectacular The Fast and the Furious films, two of the most popular characters team up for their own adventure. Dwayne Johnson as Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham as the enigmatic former spy Deckard Shaw reluctantly take a break from their petty squabbling to team up and save the world from Idris Elba’s genetically enhanced mercenary.
With a plot lifted directly from Mission: Impossible II, a deadly virus finds itself hosted by Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) and it’s a race against time to neutralise it before it becomes airborne and wipes out most of mankind, but also to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Director David Leitch has previous with outrageous, yet stylish, action films (Atomic Blonde and John Wick) and Hobbs & Shaw is crammed full of action, energy and excitement, indeed everything you’d expect from a Johnson / Statham double whammy. The set pieces are huge, the stunts are ridiculous, the script is topped with cheese, but it never takes itself seriously and encourages you to enjoy the ride, whether it be in a sport’s car or a Transformers style motorbike.
Bantering away with delicious creativity and hints of improvisation, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham bounce off each other with some hilarious put downs and their comedic chemistry is the film’s fail-safe. But, as funny as it is, every now and then their testosterone fuelled repartee does start to grate.
Idris Elba has a blast as Brixton, showcasing his skills to the max and dubbing himself, “Black Superman” (wouldn’t it have been naughty had he called himself Bond instead?) as he finds himself caught between The Rock and a hard Stath, but more than holding her own against the three boys is Vanessa Kirby’s Hattie. Herself an MI6 agent, she handles the combat scenes with style and an assured confidence which makes her a very welcome addition to the series.
20 minutes too long, there are the occasional dips in pace as we learn about the main player’s pasts and every now and then the shaky camera work and editing makes the fights hard to follow. Stunts defying the laws of physics, gravity and logic are present and not necessarily correct, but that was to be expected, right? There’s a visit to Russia where Eiza González’s Madame M and her criminal gang of girls disappear as quickly as they arrived and the final sequence throws continuity out of the window with the sun at varying stages of rising and setting throughout.
Featuring some surprise cameos, Hobbs & Shaw sticks to the high-octane formula of its parent franchise, but ups the ludicrous stakes. It won’t win any new fans and is filled with stuff and nonsense, not to mention absurd plot-holes and all too convenient solutions to problems but, sometimes, we all need a bit of fast and furious frivolousness in our lives.
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw explodes into UK cinemas on Thursday 1st August.
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Film critic. YouTube channel www.youtube.com/benpeytonreviews
Former actor. Band of Brothers, Emmerdale, Holby City and a regular (PC Ben Hayward) in The Bill.
Voiceover artist with Rhubarb Voices.