Directed by David Leitch
July 13, 2019 (Dolby Theatre) / August 2, 2019 (United States)
Hobbs and Shaw are forced to work together to stop superhuman bio terrorist Brixton Lore who is funded by a technological cult called Eteon.
That is a really ridiculous sounding plot, but the movie is surprisingly good action-comedy gold. The humor in Hobbs & Shaw, and there is a lot of it, comes in large part from the insults traded between Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham). And there are some really good ones. The action as per the rest of the FF franchise is vehicular driven and physics defying. They upped the physics defying a little bit here with the enhanced Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) who has a connection to Shaw’s past. The man is a cyborg with a transforming bike that does stuff Transformers would question.
Hobbs & Shaw continues the theme of family that runs through the main films by Shaw having to help and ultimately save his newly introduced sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) as well as Hobbs finally making amends with previously unmentioned family members such as Hobbs’s mother Sefina Hobbs (Lori Pelenise Tuisano), Jonah (the amazing Cliff Curtis), Mateo (Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i), Kal (John Tui), and multiple other relatives that compromise a small army which really comes in handy in the finale. Helen Mirren even returns as Owen and Deckard’s mother Magdalene Shaw.
Mirren is an especial joy here. She is a quality actress in a role that someone of her stature would be expected to refuse. She is obviously having fun here. How they got someone like him Helen Mirren in these films is amazing. She is a fantastic actress and you just do not picture her doing something like this even though when you look back on your career it has plenty of lighter films as well as dynamic roles.
This was a very fun movie. Hobbs & Shaw is much more like what was once called “sci-spy” or “spy-fi” than it is anything else. And it was way funnier than I expected it to be. My only gripe at the moment is they used the term “sideways” a lot in this movie. “Things could go sideways” or “This has gone sideways” are said to an annoying degree. It was to the point you were expecting a joke to be made about it but nope.
It is definitely much more of a spy caper than even the most recent FF films. It is weird how this all started from a single movie about street racing and a criminal ring and now we have Idris Elba as an individual that’s been enhanced by a technology worshiping group of people. If you would show the first movie and then this movie to someone who never had seen any of them they could not see how they connected but strangely the progression when you watch the films is quite logical even if a bit unusual.
The introduction of the Snowflake virus makes the threat a global threat. In the mix is Eteon that has access to very advanced technology and the plot has more to do with a pre-Craig Bond film than it does with any previous FF film. It is a serious threat in a fun story if that makes any sense.
Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart make uncredited cameos. Reynolds pulls his usual schtick as CIA agent Victor Locke and Hart makes an entertaining appearance as Air Marshal Dinkley. That is in addition to Helen Mirren who reprises her role as Shaw’s mother. The characters are important enough that they are not extraneous.
Noticeably absent from all this family is Owen. He gets one or two shoutouts but taking his place (and extending the family) is Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw who is an MI6 agent currently being hunted by Brixton and a romantic interest of sorts for Hobbs. She currently houses the only dose of a programmable virus called ‘Snowflake’ after injecting it into herself to keep it from Brixton and being framed for the death of her team by him and Eteon.
The plot of the movie is world threatening as the virus designed by a Russian scientist (Eddie Marsan) to more effectively deliver vaccines is going to be used by Eteon to wipe humanity. That is seriously high stakes when you think that that this is a movie spun off from a film series that started with a movie about crime and street racing.
While the chase with the helicopter chained to the tricked-out truck is great, I had hoped for a little more from the battle that had immediately proceeded that. The finale takes place on Samoa and the family has had years prior gotten rid of all their firearms, so they were forced to use ancient Samoan weapons. They just did not do enough with that. I had wanted to see more ancient weapons kicking modern tech butt but what we got was over before I knew it. That in my opinion was the major action flaw/letdown in an otherwise well-done adrenaline-fueled film.
Hobbs & Shaw is a great example of the mindless fun that the FF films have come to encapsulate. You go in and just watch something silly and borderline ludicrous for two hours and enjoy yourself. Just sit back and watch it!