05th Aug2019

‘Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw’ Review – Second Opinion

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Eiza González, Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, Eddie Marsan, Cliff Curtis | Written by Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce | Directed by David Leitch

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Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw is the first spin-off in the infamous and insanely successful Fast and Furious franchise, bumping the ongoing entry as the ninth piece into this ever-growing puzzle. Directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2) and starring heavyweight cinematic giants and returning franchise members Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw. Leitch’s film finds both characters brought together in an unlikely alliance in which they need to stop the trafficking of a new deadly virus from the hands of villain Brixton (Idris Elba).

The Fast and Furious franchise is becoming increasingly bizarre as time goes on. A producer of the series very recently would not count out the possibility of these characters one day going into space, after Hobbs and Shaw such a possibility is assured. If the viewer at any point in the past has found the last few entries absurdly entertaining, then Hobbs and Shaw will be right up your street. Everything is heightened and ridiculous to a point in which it becomes almost delirious to indulge in, that being said, there is not a frame in Leitch’s film that is not packed with exciting entertainment value.

Of course, the overly indulgent toxic masculinity is as present as ever, and often it becomes a hard task to humour as the audience are relentlessly overlayered with such a theme. It is an element that never gives up, and with that, the repetitive nature is not only tiresome, but it also becomes wasteful within the context of the narrative and bumps the running time into the danger of pure excessiveness at just under one hundred and forty minutes. It is the notion of excessiveness that ultimately defines this ongoing series. Every entry has to outdo the last, and the action set pieces here, while wild and astonishingly brash in the visual department, ultimately blur into a slight eye strain.

It is the same issue regarding the edit from Christopher Rouse. It is relentless in the context of how fast-paced it is exercised. The audience ultimately cannot see anything with clarity. Of course, it helps the blur of actor and stunt man, and contextually feels appropriate to highlight the skills of each character respective fighting skill, but the negatives of it being overly brash and visually obstructive outweigh any positives found.

Newcomer Idris Elba injects a welcoming addition to proceedings. He is cavalier but wonderfully menacing. His backstory limited to a few throwaway lines of dialogue but suffices in a terrific bravado and just about puts enough effort in for the audience to buy his character. Vanessa Kirby continues on her espionage trend after Mission: Impossible - Fallout and is slowly but surely cementing herself as an action heroine. Kirby is terrific as Hattie Shaw. The charisma and strong screen presence are in full swing, but her dedication in the more action-oriented side to her performance is equally on par to her male co-stars who have defined their careers with such skills.

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw suffices as a quick fix in terms of entertainment value. Beyond that, the film struggles to define itself as anything other than the fast-food equivalent of cinema. Everything imaginable is thrown in for good measure. Random cameos feel erratic and overly ridiculous with a strong indication of trying to set up another franchise without paying the audience due diligence with the entry they are serving in the first place.

Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shawis in UK cinemas now.

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