Film: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

I'm going to get straight to the point – this is the most ridiculous, over-the-top, let's-just-do-it-because-we-can, macho bro-fest I have ever seen.

Now, I've not seen a Fast & Furious film since perhaps the 2nd or 3rd, so I wasn't the most prepared for this, what I know understand now latest offshoot/side story and for a while kept wondering when aul Vin Diesel was going to pop up. Perhaps if he had've, this might have been a better film. It's not a bad film, it's just not a very good one.

The basic premise – and I would guess this could only be spoilers if you shared my complete lack of fore-knowledge of the ongoing, and seemingly never-ending, film franchise – is Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) are repelled by each others extreme manliness. Like big rugged, muscular magnets. Extreme alphas who "do things their own way" but... For the sake of humanity... And good old fashioned family values (because yes even big rugged, loner, happily beat someone to death with a hammer, men care about family)... They simply must work together. All the while bickering with and insulting each other. The bickering and insults are meant to be funny.

I'm guessing that lots of this is meant to be funny, and it sort of is. To A degree. For a while. But the jokes never really get beyond the confines of the opening premise. And my goodness it's long.

So long in fact I find myself with time to start questioning just why exactly this is happening. For example, the bit with Idris Elba's bike in the trailer (Idris plays the bad guy, Brixton, who is some sort of augmented human hybrid, he's alright like, although they kinda give ye all of his best bits in the trailer), ye know the bit, when he slips off the back and it folds up and skims under a truck – why does it do that? Like, why does it have to fold up like some sort of baby Transformer? What are the circumstance under which such a function would be designed? Surely just a regular bike laid flat and skidded along the ground in a dramatic shower of sparks would have been just as exciting?

Then there is the whole truck-train vs. helicopter sequence. It is obviously meant to be this big thrilling chase scene, pitting the good guys, and all their mates, against the well-equipped bad guys, but two things: a row of five or six pick-ups all race along a dirt track, each one connected to the one behind it, with the last one, containing Hobbs and Shaw connected, via a big chain to a very large helicopter, imagine the noise of this, yet throughout the scene, all dialogue is at conversational level.

Now, I know I am nitpicking in the extreme, but come on now. Surely just a bit of shouting would've been acceptable? And at the conclusion of this scene, which has involved a row of trucks connecting themselves together with chains and hooks to prevent the aforementioned helicopter from escaping, all the trucks are just now disconnected! Come on.

Yes, I realise they couldn't have given any time to how the vehicles became disconnected, but why even bother, just have all the trucks remain connected and stop together. And zero blood. No-one in this film bleeds. Aul Statham is running around mashing people with a sledge-hammer and not a single drop of blood is spilled. Weird.

Also, when did Jason Statham start talking exclusively out of the side of his mouth? He does it almost constantly throughout this film. It that a thing manly men do or has he recently suffered a stroke?

It's a weird film. What they have tried to do is obvious, but it is perhaps so obvious that all involved adopted a "aye, that'll do" approach. Kevin James is funny though, briefly. He appears in a cameo aimed at nothing more than introducing his character for, I assume, the next instalment. The jokes again though, are obvious.

Obvious isn't always bad of course, and I kind of enjoyed the film, and you definitely don't need to have kept up with the franchise to jump into this – if anything, not having kept up might be beneficial, given the reviews I've read disappointed at the drop-off in quality in this film compared to others in the lineage.
I don't really have a better conclusion than a line I used in the second paragraph – it's not a bad film, it's just not a very good one.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is on general release now. Review appears in TBL issue 310, which is out now.

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