Hobbs & Shaw [Review]

Or Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw.

One thing I didn’t expect coming out of this film was the overwhelming sense of boredom that I found in it. It’s cruel to say, I know, but the film runs way too long and for me, past its welcome. The film likes to stop and live and Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Statham) bickering for far too long. The only good thing that comes out of this, is that it reminds me of Statham’s great performance in the underrated Spy.

The film starts off by introducing Hattie Shaw (played by Vanessa Kirby) as she is chased down by Brixton (Idris Elba) before she inserts a virus into her hand. Hattie also is apart of MI6 and comes from a family of criminals. The film turns into what occasionally feels like a knockoff Mission Impossible film that lacks a sense of realism, therefore lacks all tension. It is the Fast and Furious films after all. 

There’s nothing wrong with that statement when those films are your wheelhouse. But not every Fast & Furious work for me. Justin Lin is a highlight for the series obviously, as is James Wan’s contribution but as a whole, they don’t call my name like other franchise films. Maybe it’s due to the meme-worthy reliance of family, or the semi confusing timeline (#JusticeForHan). 

It’s also an interesting experiment as when given a franchise that has grown and grown from its inception as a Point Break remake but with cars to what it is known for today, it’s surprising that it took this long for a spin-off. A spin-off was inevitable, and one can argue that Tokyo Drift was a spin-off, but they sort of retconned it to be included in the main series anyway. 

I’m just not sure why the film is longer than two hours. As much as the bickering between Hobbs and Shaw can occasionally be entertaining, when we let them go back and forth for more than five minutes, it now falls into what feels like a Judd Apatow film. And again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the back and forth between trying to do that is where the film sort of stumbles. 

But it’s not all full of stumbles. The action is where the film obviously shines. When directed by David Leitch, one half of the first John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2. If anything can be trusted in his hands, it’s that the action sequences will be top-notch. Or maybe that’s because action films are shot so blandly and cut so poorly that when we finally get an action sequence where we understand the geography as well, it feels next level. This isn’t to undermine Hobbs and Shaw or anything Leitch has done prior, just a statement on action films.

Hobbs and Shaw is an interesting experiment about franchises and their spin-offs. All things aside, all the proper respect paid to John Singleton, this is still better than 2 Fast 2 Furious.