The first spin-off to the “Fast & Furious” franchise is a rollicking good time, as “Hobbs & Shaw” mixes charming characters with insane stunts.
The “Fast & Furious” films have been rolling along non-stop for nearly 20 years now, but I haven’t seen a single one.
That lack of franchise knowledge did not count against me when I took in “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” at the Rome Cinemas, wherein two supporting characters spin off into their own high octane, world-saving adventure.
“Hobbs & Shaw” is a simple winning formula. Take two hugely charming actors — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham — throw in several more very likable characters and just go hog wild with a bunch of crazy stunts and jokes. It’s simple, it’s silly, and it’s a lot of fun to watch.
Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are two supporting characters in the larger “Fast & Furious” franchise. Both of them are highly capable warriors and spies, but they are on opposite sides of the law and hate each other’s guts. So of course the CIA decides to pair them together to stop a super-villain from getting his hands on a deadly virus.
What more can be said about just how cool Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are in action films?
These guys are Hollywood superstars for a reason, and “Hobbs & Shaw” never lets up in having them butt heads, bash egos and hurl hilarious insults at one another. That they then learn to work together for the fate of the world is icing on the cake and works as a serviceable story arc.
Idris Elba plays the super-villain, and he’s just as entertaining. This movie is a who’s who of enjoyable movie stars having a good time. Up-and-comer Vanessa Kirby rounds out the heroic trio as Shaw’s sister Hattie, and she’s just as much fun as everybody else. It helps that “Hobbs & Shaw” is the sort of movie that doesn’t force the woman into the “eye candy” or “damsel in distress” role. Kirby kicks as much butt as the rest of them and the film is better for it.
The real standouts of “Hobbs & Shaw” are the action and the message. The “Fast & Furious” films are always about the importance of family, and this spin-off keeps that going. It makes for a nice foundation on which to build crazy action set pieces.
And these action set pieces get really crazy. There are fights, flamethrowers, car stunts, helicopter stunts, big, beefy transport truck stunts and even more. If you can help it, avoid any trailers for “Hobbs & Shaw”, because the trailers spoil the best stuff.
“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” is an action movie done right and done well. Here’s hoping it gets its own ongoing franchise.