Thursday, 1 August 2019

Film Review: Fast and Furious – Hobbs and Shaw

Not even a Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham team-up is strong enough to save Hobbs and Shaw from crumbling under the weight of its own stupidity.
Since finding a new gear in its fifth entry, the Fast and Furious franchise has only gotten bigger and faster as time wears on. Tanks, cargo planes, nuclear submarines – you name it, they’ve raced it. 

Now onto the ninth film in the series, Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw sees the franchise pivot even further away from its neon-soaked street racing origins for an international spy mission that pairs two former antagonists – Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) – together to save the world from rogue cybernetic black ops agent Brixton (Idris Elba).

A disgraced former MI6 operative, Brixton has set his sights on unleashing a powerful virus on the world, one that would solve overpopulation and cull the weak (you know, classic and derivative villain stuff). It’s up Hobbs and Shaw – who hate each others guts – to put aside their differences and save the day by tracking down the latter’s wayward sister (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby) before Brixton can. 

Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde), Hobbs and Shaw dials up the dumb fun (emphasis on the dumb) to a level scarcely imaginable before. The action set pieces, which bounce from London and Los Angeles to Chernobyl and Samoa, have zero regard for gravity or physics. Vehicles are tossed across the screen like Matchbox cars, with all pretence of plausibility out of the window. This is a complaint that can be levelled at previous Fast and Furious films too, but in Hobbs and Shaw the weightless, visual effects-laden action set pieces quickly grow tiresome.

The high-tech gizmos and elaborate set-ups soon dissolve into another string of elongated car chases where Hobbs, Shaw and Brixton punch one another in the jaw, where each earth-shattering blow is punctuated with a dramatic thunderclap sound effect. Throbbing machismo is par for the course in this series, but Hobbs and Shaw takes it to the next level – it’s exasperating.

Roughly 90 per cent of the humour stems from stressing just how odd the titular bald, beefy pairing is. Hobbs is fire; Shaw is ice. One is a hulking juggernaut; the other is subtle and stealthy. It’s wall-to-wall banter and barbs, with the misfiring jokes coming thick and fast. Two surprise cameos (that I won’t spoil here) are a cute novelty at first, but even these are far too long. As a whole, Hobbs and Shaw needs a serious trim – at two hours and fifteen minutes, it seriously overstays its welcome. The third act, while strong on its own, left me itching to head for the exit.

When all is said and done, Hobbs and Shaw sees the Fast and Furious franchise stuck in cruise control; Johnson and Statham have a great on-screen rapport, but the film clobbers you over the head with the same gags about comparing car (and cock) sizes that you just zone out. 

Soon enough, the dizzying fights, stilted scripting and broad performances just become white noise that washes past. Worst of all, Hobbs and Shaw is knowingly derivative – it revels in emphasising just how stupid and artless it is. I didn’t think this was possible, but watching Hobbs and Shaw actually made me miss Vin.

Truth be told, the series should have gone out on a high back in 2015, with Diesel and the late Paul Walker quite literally reaching a fork in the road and driving off into the sunset with Wiz Khalifa blaring through the speakers. Nothing since has come close to replicating that potent mix of goodwill, earnestness and high-octane insanity.

The Verdict: 3/10

Too ludicrous, not enough Ludacris. If Hobbs and Shaw is anything to go by, the Fast and Furious franchise is running on empty.

Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw is in cinemas across Australia from today.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this movie. Maybe it's a matter of approaching him, because I didn't require too much either. I treated it as a movie for a casual evening and a background for talking to my friends. We had a great time!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...