The first Fast and Furious franchise spinoff does exactly what it says on the tin: two fan-favourite characters team up to fight a cybernetically enhanced super-soldier intent on speeding human evolution by unleashing a super virus. Hobbs and Shaw features various vehicular chases, ridiculous stunts, and carefully choreographed displays of bravado in this quest to save humanity. It never reaches the heights of Fast Five or Furious 7, but it is still a grand way to spend a couple hours.
Though Vin Diesel and his crew are absent save for the titular characters, family is still a running theme – this time, the heroes must face their pasts and reconcile with blood relatives in order to save the world. Statham and Johnson bring their established charms to their constant one-upmanship. Vanessa Kirby is a welcome addition (though the 20-year age difference between her and her onscreen brother is rendered laughable by the flashbacks to their simultaneous childhoods), matching the men on all physical and verbal battles. Elba is unfortunately given little to do aside from play the human machine, but his imposing screen presence makes the most of weak characterisation.
Rounding out the cast are some choice cameos that cement the film’s levity, which is only slightly hampered by its bloated run time. On that note, there is a similar anxiety about fake news and drone warfare as seen in this summer’s Spider-Man: Far From Home – it does not allow these themes to upend its universe, but it ties into the cultural unease.
Hobbs and Shaw is not the franchise’s strongest entry but it is one of its silliest and most fun. Its action sequences are not the prettiest 2019 has seen but the over-the-top escapades and charismatic cast – mixed with the ideal level of self-awareness – make it a strong summer blockbuster.
CAST: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Helen Mirren
DIRECTOR: David Leitch
WRITERS: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce
SYNOPSIS: Two Fast and Furious franchise frenemies team up to take on a superhuman terrorist and reconnect with their families.