Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw is the ninth installment in the franchise, and the first spinoff from the current crop of films from 2009’s Fast and Furious through to The Fate of the Furious in 2017. Co-starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. They face off against Idris Elba as Brixton, an assassin working for a shadowy evil company who have ‘upgraded’ him with cybernetic enhancements.
So pretty much everyone has agreed that Jason Statham was the highlight in The Fate of the Furious, his dynamic with Dwayne Johnson was great, and their back and forth was very funny. However, when this becomes the basis for the entirety of Hobbs and Shaw it very quickly becomes tiresome. It doesn’t help that a lot of the ‘banter’ between the two is often reduced to schoolboy bickering, very repetitive and highly unimaginative. That said the two do have good chemistry, it’s just a shame that there isn’t the writing behind it to back that up.
The story too is uninspiring and rehashed from most of the past Fast and Furious movies, except this time there is the addition of a shadowy background organisation, Eteon, being run by a shadowy figure we never get to see, only hear. Instead the face of them in this film is Elba’s Brixton. The motivations of Eteon are to eradicate most of the world’s population in order for the strongest, those enhanced by Eteon. But really the loose story is just there to set up the action sequences and set pieces.
And with David Leitch, who has worked on John Wick and made Atomic Blonde, directing the action should be where the film excels. But whilst the set pieces are very well thought out and generally cool the actual action is often poorly done. Bar one great fight sequence with Statham in a hallway, the entirety of which is shown in a trailer, the action sequences are too effects driven rather than allowing these actors who are known for action films show off their talent.
As well as Elba there are a number of other newcomers joining the cast. Vanessa Kirby is the main one as Hattie Shaw, Deckard’s sister and she is easily the best aspect of Hobbs and Shaw. She’s badass, great with action, funny, and easily the best character in the film. The only negative side is the attempt to force a romance between her character and Luke Hobbs despite the fact that, as Hobbs says himself, there’s zero chemistry. There are also small roles for Eiza González, Ryan Reynolds, and Rob Delaney who are all completely wasted in the film with very little to do, although Reynolds is by far the funniest character in the film.
The Fast and the Furious franchise has recently prioritised how big they can make the action over how good it is. When you consider we are living in an age with action franchises like John Wick or Mission Impossible these films just don’t match up, and despite the incredible list of talent that Hobbs and Shaw accrued it ends up disappointing.