Franchise spinning (off) its wheels …
I’ve always had a like/hate relationship with the Fast & Furious film franchise. I’ve never loved it, I’m not a “car guy,” but I do appreciate well executed action sequences and fight scenes, and they have some fun ones on their resume. The new Hobbs & Shaw spin-off (or whatever it is) is more of the same old F&F formula, without Vin Diesel and his “family,” but with an extra dose of moronic machismo.
This film has some of the stupidest, most cringe-worthy storytelling I’ve seen at the movies in a long time. It’s almost more of a spoof of the Fast and Furious films than it is an addition to that line. It’s a throwback to some of the more inane action movies of the eighties and nineties, but pumped up with modern day special effects.
An evil, underground organization, called Etheon, is using advanced tech to try and take over the world (except for the system that their unseen leader uses to communicate his orders; for that they use something akin to blown-out seventies car speaker, so who knows what that guy was actually saying.)
A secret service agent, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), captures a weaponized virus by injecting it into her bloodstream, just before the Etheon bad-guy, Brixton (Idris Elba), who is a cybernetically-enhanced, self-proclaimed “Black Superman,” shows up to steal the serum himself.
The chase in on to see who will recover the virus out of Hattie’s veins first: the Etheon villains, or Hattie’s brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), and his frenemy, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson.)
In addition to its hunky headliners, look for awkward cameos by Roman Reigns, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart and Helen Mirren. I’m not sure what any of them bring to this other than a gimmicky moment here and there.
Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2) , this film has three or four climatic action sequences, with each one attempting to one up the previous; and after a while it becomes predictable and tedious and you start to wonder if it will ever end.
All of that said, despite the dumb and dumber aspects of this film, it still has enough charm to make it an overall fun movie experience – in a Saturday morning cartoon kind of way. If you are going into this expecting to see tense and serious drama and edge-of-your seat suspense, then you’d be better off reading a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.