hobbs and shaw
Universal Pictures
2019
PG-13

“I’m trying to save the world, which, for the record, will be my fourth time. ‘Cause I’m really good at it.”

  • Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs and lawless outcast Shaw first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever–these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves. Hobbs & Shaw blasts open a new door in the Fast universe as it hurtles action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to the lush beauty of Samoa.

Up until now, I haven’t seen any entry in the bafflingly extensive Fast & Furious series of movies. They never really grabbed my fancy, even after the series got more and more ridiculous as it progressed. I know plenty of fans of the franchise who have tried to get me to watch them (and failing miserably, I might add); for me, they always seemed to be Monster-fueled dude-bro flicks that had a sorry lack of zombies or vampires or Cthulhu for my taste.

So, it would make sense that the first entry in this series of movies happens to be the first spin-off featuring a couple of side characters, played by The Rock and Jason Statham. “Why start here?” you may be asking yourself. Fair question. The answer is, the trailer for Hobbs & Shaw was so utterly over-the-top and ridiculous that there was no way I wasn’t going to watch this. Just, not in the theater during the initial run. Yeah, I waited until the DVD release to check it out.

One thing I’ll give Hobbs & Shaw is, it’s a movie that seems to gleefully disregard little things like, you know, realism and the general laws of physics to just flat out entertain you with enough nonstop action and a barrage of testosterone-fueled banter that your brain has no choice but to throw its figurative hands up into the air and go, “I’m out,” leaving you enjoying things with a big stupid grin on your face and probably a bit of drool pooling on the side of that grin.

So, we open up in London, where a bunch of MI6 agents are being dropped at a site to take down a bunch of anarchists in the process of stealing a deadly bio-engineered virus called “Snowflake”, named as such because it will literally liquefy the insides of everyone it comes into contact with. Which could mean genocide on a global scale. That’s bad. They manage to take down all of the minions, but while one of the MI6 agents starts to try and disarm the virus, the cybernetically-enhanced leader of the baddies shows up on a physics-defying self-driving motorcycle–of which I mentioned to the friend I was watching this movie with that I half-expected an antenna to pop up on the rear of the bike and start wagging like a puppy–and makes quick work of the MI6 agents, but loses the agent that manages to sneak the virus inside herself and escape. Of course, said agent is framed as the one who doublecrossed the other agents and absconded with the virus. So now, an agent from the United States–Hobbs–and a former British Special Forces agent–Shaw–are finagled by their respective gov’ments to track down the supposed rogue agent and get the super-virus out of her before it kicks in and makes the Black Death look like an outbreak of the common cold. That’s the easy part. The hard part is getting the two to play nice long enough to actually do that. Adding to the drama is the fact that the actual agent in question is also Shaw’s estranged sister. Not to mention that the supervillain is hot on everyone’s tail as well, complicating things further. Then they all go to Samoa to have Hobbs’ equally estranged family help fight the bad guys in a manner that brings to mind the epic Ewoks Vs. Stormtrooper battle in Return Of The Jedi. Wackiness…it ensues…

This. Movie. Is. AMAZEBALLS. It has a cybernetically-enhanced Idris Elba spouting dialogue such as “Genocide, shmenocide,” and “Look at me, I’m Black Superman!”, which is just delightful. The big action scenes are pretty much non-stop, not giving you much time to breathe, let alone try to process everything that’s going on; also, there’s a couple of times where I’m pretty certain they lifted transforming sound-effects from the Michael Bay Transformers movies. Therefore, I demand the Fast & Furious / Transformers crossover. Get on that, guys. The interaction between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham are essentially epic Alpha Male phallic-waging insult contests that I’m speculating the writers consulted several Middle School-aged boys for the dialogue. I imagine the writers pounding away at their word processors, writing the airport scene and giggling uncontrollably. And of course, since this is technically a Fast & Furious movie, we get a scene where a bunch of supped-up tow trucks link together to take down a military-grade helicopter.

Essentially, Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw is the action movie I didn’t know I needed in my life. Yes, I know I said the same thing about John Wick. But this here…I needed a cigarette afterwards, and I haven’t smoked in nearly ten years. Good, mindless fun, this is.