Hobbs and Shaw

hobbs-and-shaw-posterHobbs and Shaw is the latest film in the Fast and the Furious universe, and the first film to not be a numbered entry in the series; instead being a spinoff. The film revolves around the characters of Luke Hobbs, (Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson), first introduced in Fast 5 and Deckard Shaw, (Jason Statham), first introduced in Fast and the Furious 7, as they try and stop the outbreak of a deadly, world-ending virus. This film capitalises on the ridiculous over the topness of the last few Fast films; it is not tied down by seriousness or reality, portraying a world of glorious dumb spectacle- worth the ticket price alone. Best shown in a third act car chase where Hobbs uses his sheer strength to keep a helicopter tethered to a truck only to pull said helicopter to the ground mere moments later in a fiery explosion of testosterone. This film is dumb popcorn fun to the fullest extent, it does not require you to think even for a moment, and in many ways that is the best thing about it, the escapism, however, it becomes a problem if your mind does find itself questioning the plot because then it all falls apart utterly. Personally, I found myself more in the former than the latter. What truly is the unexpected highlight of the film is the delightfully, surprising cameos that are peppered in throughout, with both Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart giving memorable, funny performances; which do deliver. Whats more the female members of the cast are given far more to do than in previous Fast entries, with Hattie Shaw, (Vanessa Kirby), Deckard’s younger sister, being the standout character in the film. Her characters struggle, which I’m not going to get into for spoiler reasons, drives the film and is very compelling.
Moreover, she has some of the best fight scenes in the whole movie with an early fight between her and Hobbs being particularly good. Kirby has a very believable physicality, so her character’s abilities are all very convincing and impressive. Sadly the same praises can’t be aimed at Eiza Gonzalez’s Madam M who until I wrote this I had no idea what her name was, she is that underdeveloped, really just being included for the gaze of juvenile men and teenage boys, but maybe future installments in this spinoff series will prove me wrong.
The dynamic between Hobbs and Shaw is everything you would want it to be, with the barbs traded back and forth between the two being consistently funny and entertaining. The ending of the film sets up this side of the Fast universe with it teasing a big bad for the upcoming movies; several post-credits scenes further highlight this. The bad guy for this film is Brixton, (Idris Elba) a former MI6 officer who jumped ship and has a past with Shaw. Brixton is by far the worst part of this film, with his character being entirely forgettable and his motivations being a mystery to everyone, maybe even him. Elba is equally as forgettable with the role easily playable by many other actors with no real difference in quality. Overall, this film is excellent for what it is a dumb fun popcorn movie; it knows what it is and has fun with it; which is infectious. Despite some of the weak characters weighing the film down slightly, Hobbs and Shaw still manages to not only step out from the shadow of The Fast and The Furious but also become better than it; seeding the groundwork for what could be one of the best action-comedy series of recent memory. A must-see for the escapism alone.

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