Hobbs & Shaw attempt to drive down the spin-off route but rarely becoming fast nor furious. Hobnobs & Shoreditch. Hobo & Shawarma. How About Stop Milking A Franchise & Sir, I'm Milking This Cow Til It's Completely Drained. Whatever the heck this spin-off wants to be called (the several title iterations are ludicrous in itself), it's exhausting the furious fuel that has made the 'Fast' franchise the rejuvenated family-orientated soap opera that it is today. Obnoxiously loud bombastic action set pieces embedded in a derived plot that beeps out generic honks every chance it gets. Not exactly the result Mr. Juggernaut Johnson had in mind, let's be honest. Returning characters Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw must put aside their animosity and work together in order to prevent a terrorist organisation from releasing a deadly virus.
Sounds generic, right? That's because it damn well is. So much focus was put into managing the levels of testosterone, the chemistry of its leads and the unbelievability of the stunts, that seemingly an engaging plot was bottom of Leitch's agenda. Very reminiscent to the disappointing 'Deadpool 2', evidently. However, this feature is less "Doom & Gloom" and more "Meh & Snowflake-y".
The charisma brimming from the mountainous Johnson, suave Statham and absolute beautiful Kirby (who is substantially the best character, performer and badass of the three) grants the film some cohesion. The banter, dumbed-down quips and dynamics between them all, assisted in alleviating any fundamental downtime. After all, it's over two hours long. Yet despite Morgan's earnest attempt in progressing these flourishing characters, it doesn't quite work. The core of Hobbs & Shaw, is not necessarily family (although the forced Samoan third act would argue otherwise), but teamwork. Why is it then, that these two behemoths rarely exhume any natural progression of their characters, completely missing the point of working as a team? At no point within the first two hours, do these two unlikely allies work as a team. It's only until the climactic stormy encounter with the "bad guy" that they actually think to themselves "wait a minute, if we work together we might actually save the world!". Hobbs does his own thing, Shaw expressively combats everyone (thanks to Statham's commitment to the choreography) and the plot amalgamated the two disguising it as teamwork. More artificial that Brixton's enhancements.
Speaking of, Elba graced us with his presence as the antagonist. Now, in terms of 'Fast' villains, he is definitely one of the more memorable. Mostly due to a credible actor being involved, but whatever. A formidable, omnipotent, self-righteous terrorist with more cybernetic enhancements than Johnson's ability to keep hold of a military chopper with a chain (more on that in a moment). Unfortunately though, as expected, Brixton is one-dimensional and is nothing more than a ridiculously overpowered machine whose weakness is teamwork? Jeez. More cameos than a talk show, particularly a CIA agent and an Air Marshal who quite possibly are the two most annoying actors working today.
However, let's talk about the real reason why you would ever want to put yourself through this spin-off. The action. Let's see here...ah yes! A bulletproof villain with a malleable motorcycle that fully transforms Elba into a CGI mess? Sure, why not. Hobbs pummelling down from a skyscraper (heh heh), hooking onto an enemy, landing and crushing a vehicle yet walking away without a scratch? I mean, I guess I'll go with it. Shaw driving through an exploding inferno, landing on top of a moving vehicle and then narrowly avoiding a falling chimney? Probably more realistic than the previous scene. Hobbs and his family of Moana, I mean, Samoans attaching a line of cars together to prevent a helicopter from taking off, as he then holds the chopper in place by holding onto a chain with nothing but his bulging muscles? Whoa, time out. No way. There has to be some leniency on the action, particularly when the film knows its dumb fun, but some realism is required to actually make these situations engaging. There's none of that. Just obnoxiously loud, horrifically edited and woefully lit set pieces that try to outdo each other. Oh, and the film ends. Like that. No family barbecue whilst Wiz Khalifa starts playing. No monologue about family. It just ends. Who was the Eteon Director? Guess we'll find out during the inevitable sequel. Lucky us.
For everything Hobbs & Shaw executed correctly, it is then plagued by mediocre filmmaking content that pollutes the majority of modern blockbusters. Polygonal CGI monstrosities shrouded in noticeable green screen backdrops with direction that focuses on bombastic style over cohesive substance. Not the worst of the franchise, but forgettable in every sense.