Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw movie cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw movie director: David Leitch
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw movie rating: 1 star
It’s foolhardy, sure, to expect a franchise that is now into nine films and its first spin-off — apart from short films, a TV series, and theme park attractions — to reinvent its wheels. Still, if it’s all about being only fast and furious, one can hope that Chernobyl would be one of the places kept out. But in Hobbs & Shaw, the battle where the most things are blasted is staged in a location standing in for the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster; the eerie ruins of an abandoned plant a scary reminder of the fact.
Samoa, Johnson’s native place, as of his character Hobbs in the film, is another exotic location the film moves to — complete with bare-chested natives wielding rudimentary weapons and doing a war dance.
It’s only the plot regarding which Hobbs & Shaw makes no pretensions. Since it’s a film “derived” from Fast & Furious, it doesn’t have to carry any of that baggage either, only borrowing two of its many charismatic and action-friendly characters. If Johnson is Hobbs again, an American stealth forces expert, Statham is his British counterpart, Shaw. They started squabbling in Fast and Furious, and continue their mostly-tiresome banter here, even when the “fate of the world” comes to rest on their shoulders — doing it for the “fourth” time, Hobbs reminds. Lending more than an able helping hand is Hattie (Kirby), the good MI6 agent mistaken for bad.
The world is threatened this time by a cyber-enhanced former MI6 agent, Brixton (Elba), who now has powers that have rendered him virtually un-killable — a “Black Superman”, so to speak. He is after a genetically programmed virus — of “Biblical proportions” — with the potential to liquidate organs of anybody exposed to it. The plan is to eliminate “the weak” and replace them with many Brixtons, thus creating an “augmented” human race. (Though one wonders if it might not be just easier to clone Johnson, who in a mighty impressive scene, holds a helicopter down with a chain.)
So how seriously should we take this end-of-the-world exercise? Brixton puts it best — “genocide”, “schemoncide”, call it what you will. For, one thing is sure: this is certainly not the end of the Fast & Furious world.
P.S: Sorely missed after The Crown, where she played the delectable Princess Margaret, Kirby brings to the film everything her role demands and more — brawn, beauty, brains, and the hint of being human.