Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are back in action in the first spin-off from the Fast & Furious franchise. While this may have seemed a long time coming, it is finally upon us and while it does have its moments, it is missing some of the elements which made its franchise family fun.
The film begins MI6 field agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) on a mission to secure a dangerous viral asset. Of course, while things begin according to plan, suddenly a mysterious figure rolls in on a motorcycle and single-handedly takes down all of Shaw’s fellow agents. Turns out this mysterious figure is Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), and he quickly sets his sights on Hattie in as she is the last person standing in the way of himself at the viral asset he’s looking to take. The two face-off witch Hattie having the upper hand, leaving Brixton with nothing that he set out for. However, this means Hattie’s a wanted woman and Brixton will stop at nothing to find her and the virus she’s run off with.
This is where Hobbs and Shaw come into play. The duo are charged with finding and retrieving both Hattie and the virus, before it is unleashed upon the world with devastating results. Unknowingly set up to work together, the first meeting between the pair doesn’t go very well. Trading barbs with one another and making all of the secret intelligence agents around them feel very uncomfortable, Hobbs and Shaw are set in their ways, vowing to find both assets on their own. Easier said the done, the duo ends up begrudgingly joining forces when they know they cannot combat the superhuman ‘Black Superman’, Brixton Lore, on their own. This sets off a chain of events that are both entertaining and utterly nonsensical, but somehow the grouping of Johnson, Statham, Elba and Kirby make it work – for the most part.
The downfall of Hobbs & Shaw isn’t with its cast – in fact, the cast is great for what was asked of them. The movie’s downfall comes from its script which has some ‘schticks’ that last for far too long, has some lazy elements by way of plot, and ultimately a villain who could have been written much better, but really felt underused. Brixton Lore could have been much more than he was and despite Elba’s charisma, the film left me wondering what was even the point. With a last name like Lore, I was hoping that we would have received more about the character’s background and where he came from than what we got. Lore was written in a way that any random actor could have played him to the same effect and reminded me of Elba’s role in Star Trek: Beyond. He starts off as menacing, but by the film’s end, that element disappears far too easily. Yet again, we have Elba in a role that was a waste of his talents, despite the audience getting to see him do a few cool things.
That being said, something the film does right is delve into the meaning of family and the importance of having someone’s back. Much like the films in the Fast & Furious franchise, Hobbs & Shaw seems to play off of Dominic Toretto’s “I don’t have friends, I got family” ideal, and it works. Whether it’s Hobbs and his daughter, Sam (Eliana Sua), his mother, Safina (Lori Pelenise Tuisano) and his brothers, Jonah (Cliff Curtis), Mateo (Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i), Kal (John Tui) and Mateo (Joshua Mauga). Or, Hattie and Deckard’s sibling rivalry and relationship with their mother, Magdalene (Helen Mirren), and ultimately the family all of these characters build with one another along their journey to battle Brixton.
Despite the heartfelt message the film tries to portray (when things aren’t blowing up and cars aren’t zooming by), it wasn’t enough to keep the movie afloat as a whole. Unfortunately, the movie is simply okay at best, and doesn’t quite keep up with some of the movies from the Fast & Furious franchise. It’s decent for what it is – a mindless action movie, but that being said, I’ve seen better. It’s the kind of movie that might still be fine to see in theaters if you go on a cheap day, but it’s not necessarily something you’ll be happy to spend full price on.
Directed by David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2), Hobbs & Shaw is in theaters now.