After Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson rejuvenated the whole Fast and Furious franchise with his introduction in Fast Five, it was only a matter of time before he got a spinoff movie. That came to fruition with this week’s release of Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw which sees his character of Luke Hobbs team up in an uneasy alliance with Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw to prevent a deadly virus from being released into the world. To do so they are forced to go up against Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) who has been surgically manipulated to give him superhuman abilities.
The Fast and Furious franchise has been one of diminishing returns in recent years. After Fast Five, which many consider to be the best film in the series, each installment seems to be lower in quality than the one before in what has become a tired franchise. The marketing for Hobbs and Shaw seemed to push it as more of the same. Lucky for them and for all of us, this is easily the most surprising movie of the year. It is a ton of fun and worth every penny to see.
It all starts with The Rock and Jason Statham. They each turn in two of the best performances of their respective careers, but on top of that, have great chemistry together. The success of pretty much the whole movie, from the action scenes to the comedy, relies on that chemistry and they are the reason all of it works so well. Idris Elba also makes a great bad guy, mostly because he knows exactly what movie he is in and doesn’t shy away from the cheesy lines or over the top speeches.
The most surprising element of the movie was the comedy. The Fast and Furious movies tend to have some humorous moments in them, but this one doubles down on it. A big part of it consists of two completely unexpected cameos that I wouldn’t dare spoil here that nearly had me on the floor of the theater laughing.
Hobbs and Shaw knows exactly what kind of movie it is and embraces it. It’s a throwback to the action movies of the ’80s and ’90s. It’s just as much Fast and Furious as it is Lethal Weapon and it’s all the better for it. The comedy fits right in with the over the top action. There are a lot more hand to hand and gunplay scenes than the car chases that made this series famous, but there is still plenty of the latter. And while the storyline and action are both over the top, none of it is 30+ mile long airport runway over the top, which was refreshing.
Shockingly, I don’t have many complaints about Hobbs and Shaw. I walked in not really knowing what to expect, and came out having just had one of the most fun theater experiences of the year. I would much rather see more movies in this spinoff series than the mainline Fast and Furious series. If you’ve been disappointed by all the mediocre summer blockbusters, I highly recommend you give Hobbs and Shaw a shot.
Against all odds, I got exactly what I wanted out of Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. Because of that, it gets a Golden Donut.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut