Hobbs & Shaw

UNIVERSAL PICTURES (2019)

 

Director: David Leitch

 

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren

Big, brash and burly.

 

Of course I’m describing Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, AKA Hobbs & Shaw respectively, the stars of the pithily titled Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Two manly men who live for the gainz and the desire to be seen as tough, macho men. That said, both seem like genuinely nice people. Hobbs & Shaw marks the first spin-off from the wildly successful series that used to be about CARS and FAMILY (now it’s just Vin Diesel dribbling on about FAMILY…whilst raking in massive box office returns) and pits probably the last two real ‘action’ stars out there together in an uneasy alliance.

This time around, the old enemies are forced to work together when a world-altering bio-threat is on the verge of falling into the wrong hands – those hands belonging to the cyber-enhanced terrorist Brixton (Elba). However, the key to everything is fierce ex-MI6 agent Hattie (Kirby) who happens to share a fairly significant link with one of our buff heroes. Cue car chases, big bangs, guns, fistfights, fast cuts, rock music, sweat, and testosterone – they’re pretty much the filler between the narrative. The use of narrative is loose, may I add. Hobbs & Shaw is pure daft, sweaty fun which is exactly what it’s intended to be. Anyone who has seen the more recent Fast and Furious offerings will know what to expect – here, a man manages to overpower a helicopter (which is in-flight) tethered to a rope using nothing but his hands and muscles, it really is that kind of movie. But did you expect anything less? I certainly didn’t and with that mindset, Hobbs & Shaw delivers an entertaining summer popcorn flick. The action is choreographed well by Leitch (his experiences on Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 clearly on show) and some of the set pieces bristle with a suffocating intensity, but the dialogue isn’t great. Leaning heavily on humour, it works for the most part but when the jokes don’t land, things clang and some of the character dialogue is poor.

 

Together, Johnson and Statham are infinitely watchable, their movie-star personas wrestling against each other with quick quips and hard stares. Throw in the Sexiest Man in the World (TM), Idris Elba, as the robotic bad guy and things get pretty muscly, pretty quickly. It’s Vanessa Kirby who suffers, her character is given short shrift behind the fellas and she isn’t utilised well at all, which is a shame. Some fun cameos help keep things moving along and the pacing itself is pretty good until the bloated final act takes charge.

 

You’re going to go into Hobbs & Shaw and expect big, brash action and that’s just what you get. Movies don’t always need to be deep and clever, sometimes you just want to see big blokes battering each other – akin to the action movies of old. However, in 2019, it feels ever so slightly regressive, but, to contradict all of that, it’s still a lot of fun. You’ll be able to smell the sweat and manliness dripping through the screen and whilst this is a pretty naff movie, it still carries plenty of fun and decent action.

August 7th 2019

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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