Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham lead this buddy cop Fast and Furious spin-off helmed by Deadpool 2 director and John Wick co-creator, David Leitch. There was magic in this franchise for a while, but as a disappointed Daniel Rutledge explains, Hobbs & Shaw comes close to being a complete misfire.
The first Fast and Furious spinoff is a major disappointment that comes close to being a complete misfire. It’s a sci-fi comedy action mashup that gets the tone all wrong, squandering the giddy casting of the two action behemoths it has as leads. There was magic in this franchise for a while, but its gas tank of goodwill is slowly being drained and Hobbs & Shaw pushes it dangerously close to empty.
First and foremost, the action is underwhelming. There are flashes of joy in the fistfights and gun battles, which are not completely terrible, but sure aren’t great. More astounding is the lack of four-wheeled action. It’s debatable if this is the worst Fast and Furious film yet, but it undeniably has the worst car action. There’s zero races and just a single car chase, and that one is a shitty, incoherent mess. The climactic CGI truck versus helicopter battle is fairly enjoyable, but that’s seriously all there is.
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This franchise has been wobbling back and forth across the line between silly fun and silly shit for several years. Here, it falls well onto the wrong side of it. The bad guy, Idris Elba’s Brixton, is a wildly superpowered literal cyborg who only uses his superpowers when the plot needs him to. He’s controlled by a weird distorted voice represented visually by digital soundwaves projected onto walls. Then there’s stuff like a ’90s-style computer hacking scene and various other elements that give this thing an unintentional Austin Powers feel.
Brixton isn’t the only superpowered character. The Rock falls off a cliff at one point and a skyscraper at another, but never suffers a scratch. There is still an attempt to make the stakes high as the fate of the world is on the line, but any time something perilous presents itself, Hobbs and Shaw just react with another set of daft jokes. Nothing really means anything, it’s all just a laugh. Remember a few movies back where these two were murdering members of each other’s family? Serious then, but hilarious now.
And then, after all the average action and lame jokes, Hobbs & Shaw ends with three or four post and mid credit sequences, one of which appears to throw shade at the Fast and Furious theme of “family”. It’s a foolish attempt at schoolyard level one-upmanship that only hammers home how, somewhat unbelievably, these movies need Vin Diesel in the driver seat to work.