Hobbs & Shaw is 2019’s addition to the well revered Fast & Furious franchise. It’s clear from its crowd-pleasing dialogue and ridiculous scenes (where the time of day changes every two minutes even though it’s one continuous sequence) that this is a movie made specifically for the fans.
The entertainment factor is undeniable. Statham and Johnson are unstoppable as the film’s titular roles. Their on-screen chemistry is arguably the most enjoyable part of the whole film. Watching them embrace the ludicrous elements of blending comedy with action and throwing themselves full force into lines such as “the island will provide, brother” and “you may believe in machines, but we believe in people” makes its 135-minute run time almost bearable.
The first act is a wonderful display of how the movie could’ve worked. It was a fast paced, hilarious meld of two well-loved genres; action and comedy. The pacing was brilliant, from the romantic shots of London to Jim Croce’s Time in a Bottle into an action-packed sequence with the film’s villain, Brixton (Idris Elba), and then onto an excellent use of spilt screen to introduce our two protagonists. The first hour dances away with ease.
It attempts to challenge the idea of toxic masculinity as its two leads battle it out over who can be alpha-male. None of their attempts to get the job done prevail because they are too busy having insult battles that include creative quips such as “Harry Potter voice” and “Giant tattooed baby”. At any given opportunity they attempt to undermine each other’s authority with “no one tells me what to do”, and it isn’t until they learn to work together (a la Step Brothers) that any of their attempts at defeating the bad guy succeed.
There are two prominent female characters in this film, neither of which I can tell you the name of because they were frequently referred to as “the girl” or “that woman”. I sense this is some kind of parody off the back of the leads’ bravado. They almost refuse to see a woman as a being outside of their own desires, but I’m not sure the attempt paid off.
By the end it falls into a well of ridiculousness that becomes parodic. On the surface it’s a harmless, jocular tale of two enemies turned buddies fighting crime and having a laugh along the way. At the heart, it’s a wild ride of car crashes with terrible continuity to a nonsensical compilation of poorly crafted shots.
If you’re a fan (or even if you’re not) you’ll love it for its fun cameos and for the dynamic of Statham and John son who really do their best with a wacky script. Be sure to stick around through the credits for some further senseless hilarity.