If there’s a film that qualifies to be the biggest blockbuster of the year then it is undoubtedly Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw! This enormous action event starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham is loaded to the brim with awe-inspiring visuals and it cranks up the adrenaline!!
Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be abadder than themselves. Hobbs & Shaw blasts open a new door in the Fast universe as it hurtles action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to the lush beauty of Samoa.
One director who is leading the charge when it comes to reshaping what the action genre is capable of in Hollywood is the sensational David Leitch. And he goes for it here with Hobbs & Shaw. It’s a full-on action rush and Leitch applies considerable detail and concentration to realising every aspect of it. Narrative, character and action all weave a seamless dance between one another and the result is a richly imaginative story that pulls the audience into the massive spectacle on screen.
While it’s a given that a film of this calibre would be packed out with epic action set pieces, and these are extraordinary, Leitch has captured the family drama and comedic riffing that makes this film so compelling. His noted visual style is also on display here, and Hobbs & Shaw is one very sleek production that shines with glossy detail and slick production design that makes it pop.
Hollywood megastar Dwayne Johnson again takes centre stage here and as always he’s a treat to watch. As former DSS Agent Luke Hobbs, he’s the total package of an action man at work and when it comes to applying a beatdown on the bad guys, well, he knows how to open a can of whup ass! Johnson’s considerable charisma is on full display and he has a blast up on the screen. There’s comedy galore, and his ultimate nice guy persona creates plenty of humourous moments for audiences to indulge in.
There’s also considerable character development for the character of Hobbs and it’s extremely interesting to see Johnson stretch out in his performance. While Hobbs has always been a full-on tank of a character who can wreck anything, in Hobbs & Shaw audiences get to see his strategic mind at work and this combo of brains and brawn keeps things interesting. Johnson builds a portrait of the ultimate action hero in Hobbs & Shaw and he entertains in every way possible.
Standing next to Johnson’s Hobbs is Jason Statham’s rogue spy Deckard Shaw, and this all-around tough guy Brit goes to work. Suited up and rocking all kinds of suave charisma, Statham makes for one very debonair hero in Hobbs & Shaw! Then there are his considerable action talents, which are amongst the best in the business, and they are on display in full force with very entertaining results.
Like Johnson, audiences get to see a different side of Statham’s Shaw and while he’s been vilified as a particularly nasty bad guy in the past you learn that he might not be as bad as we think and when it counts this tough guy will have your back. Like his co-star, Statham has the time of his life here as Shaw and his talents for creating jaw-dropping action moments and jumping headfirst into the fray create plenty of fun.
Joining this mismatched pair is the sensational Vanessa Kirby and this British thespian brings plenty of sass as Deckard’s younger sister and MI6 operative Hattie Shaw who gets mixed up in Hobbs and her brothers plan to save the world. As Hobbs & Shaw’s primary female lead Kirby holds her own and she gives Johnson and Statham a run for their money when it comes to Hobbs & Shaw’s key action scenes. This girl knows how to fight and she’s got a cat-like agility to her and a talent for aerobatics that makes her utterly fearless.
Another fun part of Hattie’s character is that she doesn’t put up with the petty bickering of her brother and Hobbs and she certainly checks these boys when they need to be put in their place. With a performance that is packed out with elegance, adrenaline and a style that’s all her own, Kirby is a great new addition to the Fast & Furious franchise and I certainly hope to see more of her in this burgeoning Hobbs & Shaw franchise.
A pair like Hobbs & Shaw demands a bad guy who’s going to test them to their limits and Iris Elba’s Brixton certainly takes these two for a ride. This cybernetically enhanced superman assassin is one very dangerous opponent and he’s one villain who is always five steps ahead of the plucky Hobbs & Shaw. Elba happens to be one of the coolest performers on the planet and he radiates an effortless style in whatever he does and that’s certainly on display in Hobbs & Shaw.
Then there’s the fact that Brixton hits harder than a Black Hawk attack helicopter. Elba comes in with full force for Johnson and Statham and the resulting confrontation makes the screen shake with energy. He’s a true test for our heroes in Hobbs & Shaw and Elba makes this bad guy one very cool uber-villain.
If you’re seeking action overload, well, you can be very happy because Hobbs & Shaw delivers on it. Leitch’s history as one of the leading stunt performers of his generation, with the full resources of his 87Eleven action team, leads to one hell of an entertaining watch. Set piece after set piece, Hobbs & Shaw vibrates with energy.
This story is led by its action sequences and through the actions of our characters we learn more about who they are as characters. There are plenty of glorious moments, and some seriously beautiful hardware to light up your eyes. One such thing is Statham’s turn behind the wheel of a supped up McLaren 720S which leads to one epic joyride of a chase through the streets of London. Hobbs, on the other hand, turns his native Samoa into a full-on playground of BOOM as he takes on Brixton’s private army with plenty of old-school mana force.
But while Hobbs & Shaw is a full-on action ride, there are also plenty of light-hearted moments on display here and this is comedy that will get you giddy. Hobbs & Shaw could best be described as the high-tech version of a buddy-cop action-comedy dialed way up and Johnson and Statham have a hell of a lot of fun here. There’s plenty of macho competition going on and this gets expressed through a continual battle of one-upmanship to see who can rib the other guy with the better, more creative insult. And the laughs do follow.
Oh, and one more thing keep your eyes open because there are a few surprise appearances that will really bring a smile to your face.
One of the biggest keys to the success of Hobbs & Shaw is the concept of family and this forms a big part of the narrative of the film for both Johnson and Statham. For Deckard, it’s all about the relationship that he shares with Hattie and these siblings once again have each other’s backs as they come to terms with the consequences of the past.
The past also weighs heavy for Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and this native son heads back to his homeland of Samoa where the concept of Aiga is incredibly important for the film and when it counts Hobbs can call on his Aiga for help. And he’s got plenty of heavy hitters in his family including New Zealand sensation Cliff Curtis, WWE star Roman Reigns, football talent Josh Mauga and comedic kiwi John Tui, and the Hobbs brothers prove that family always wins out in the end.
If you’re seeking that ultimate blockbuster rush this year then make sure you check out Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw. This film delivers everything you could want out of the action genre, with a good serving of heart and family love, and it makes for a very entertaining watch.
Image: Universal Pictures