Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - High-octane and 'over-the-top' movie action - but does it hit the spot?
FILM REVIEW: FAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAW (12A)
CAST: DWAYNE JOHNSON, JASON STATHAM, IDRIS ELBA, VANESSA KIRBY, EIZA GONZALEZ, EDDIE MARSAN, CLIFF CURTIS, JOE ‘ROMAN REIGNS’ ANOA’I, ELIANA SUA, HELEN MIRREN, KEVIN HART & RYAN REYNOLDS
RUNNING TIME: 2 hrs 17 mins, DIRECTOR: DAVID LEITCH
The first spin-off from the uber-successful Fast & Furious franchise continues the high-octane and over-the-top action of the series - if little else.
It rides on the chemistry between main leads Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham - and co-star Vanessa Kirby (Mission: Impossible - Fallout) too - and throws in a few major set-pieces to give you ‘plenty of bang’ for your buck.
But it does get so ridiculously far-fetched and implausible - see the Samoa-set finale for reference - it makes the stunts in the original films now seem less extreme by comparison.
Johnson’s (who joined the series in 2011’s Fast Five) hard-hitting federal agent Luke Hobbs and Statham’s (who joined properly in Furious 7) former SAS operative-turned-mercenary Deckard Shaw - who traded blows and insults through the last two Fast & Furious films - are forced into an unlikely alliance when Idris Elba’s genetically-enhanced villain Brixton Lore threatens to unleash a deadly virus on humanity.
But when Deckard’s younger sister, and MI6 agent Hattie (Kirby), contains the infection by pumping it into her body, it’s down to Hobbs and Shaw to help her extract it before it kills her - with the self-tagged ‘Black Superman’ Brixton hot on their heels in such locales as London and Moscow.
Surprisingly the humour is a bit hit-and-miss - including cameos from Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart that are a mixed bag - and the family chemistry doesn’t come off with nearly as much heart seen between the likes of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in the earlier films.
But Johnson and Statham compensate for the robotic Elba’s nemesis and slightly too ‘slapstick’ tone with a likeable partnership and, if brainless action is your thing, it’s in an abundance here.
Without the rest of the crew, it does certainly have something missing - leaving it middling in the Fast & Furious movie pantheon - but ultimately just about ticks most blockbuster movie boxes.
Just nothing more than that.
3/5 Gavin Miller