The Fast and the Furious franchise has somehow become one of the longest lasting and endearing franchises of all time. Despite its many changes, audiences have continued to flock to each installment for almost twenty years. Played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, fan favorite characters Hobbs and Shaw have been given their own spinoff. But are the duo popular enough to draw in crowds without the rest of their fast and furious family?
Hobbs & Shaw is the story of Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) and how they have been forced to work together to save the world. A criminal organization has manufactured a super virus that can kill the majority of the world within a week. Not only are the two more comfortable working alone, they also do not like each other due to events from the main entries in the series.
The fast paced action flick can make a very strong argument for funniest movie of the year. The script has a series of back and forth one liners between its stars that are the highlight of the film. The jokes may seem juvenile – lots of questioning of masculinity and penis jokes – but they are delivered in such a rapid fire manner they work. The comedic banter does not linger for too long and the jokes are delivered so quickly only the stronger ones register.
This is thanks in great part to the two leads. From back in his days electrifying professional wrestling fans, Johnson has proven he has loads of charisma to spare. Hobbs & Shaw is no different as the former Rock is able to shine now that he is not sharing the screen with a gang of people. He is as charming and funny as ever. Hobbs & Shaw even has a little fun with how much people seem to love Johnson in a very funny scene.
Statham is also given the opportunity to flex his comedic muscle. Audiences tend to forget that the Transporter star is a very funny actor as shown by his roles in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Crank. In Hobbs & Shaw, Statham is able to show off the action movie persona most are familiar with, but he is also able to showcase his less serious side. Helping matters is how the two have such great chemistry. Make no mistake about it; Johnson and Statham carry this movie on their muscular backs.
Much of the humor is unintentional. The trailers have shows Idris Elba running down a skyscraper and Johnson pulling a helicopter out of the sky with a chain. As ridiculous as these moments are, the film has many more. A motorcycle that drives itself, a scientist who wields a blowtorch, and destruction that would make the creators of Just Cause blush are just some of the over the top silly moments. There are also many times when questions are answered with a monosyllabic grunt. It may hurt the overall quality of the movie, but it sure makes for one entertaining ride.
Anyone who watches a Fast & Furious movie for anything deeper than high octane action is sure to be disappointed. Hobbs & Shaw is no different. The plot is as bare bones as can be, yet the writing still makes it convoluted and hard to understand at times. It can be difficult to tell what is going on in some of the action scenes. Worst of all is the movie’s editing. Why don’t the bad guys want to kill Shaw’s sister (I think someone may have said her name once), why doesn’t Shaw just walk around and go through Hobbs’s door instead of bashing a bunch of bad guy’s faces into a retinal scan, and why does the climatic scene go from day to night constantly over the course of thirty minuets? These problems are impossible to ignore, yet the movie is so much fun it is hard to seriously care.
Hobbs & Shaw is a very interesting movie. The script, camerawork, and editing are barely passable. Just when you think you have seen the worst moment of the film it is topped by another one. Still, the movie is genuinely funny and entertaining. Does it make me want to see another Fast & Furious movie? Not at all. But I certainly would not mind seeing Hobbs and Shaw again.