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Film: Fast and the Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Alba, Vanessa Kirby

Directed by: David Leitch

Duration: 2 hrs 15 mins

Rating:  * * 1 / 2

 The good news is that Fast and the Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, is better than most of the other mindless films from the franchise. The bad news is that is it is just marginally better. An offshoot of the Fast and the Furious series which has eight films prior to this one, stunt man turned director David Leitch focuses on two secondary characters from the main films, which kind of acts as a relief. Being an offshoot, this is not considered to be the ninth film in the series, that will be out next year, with the regular cast of Vin Diesel, et al.

Here, Dwayne Johnson plays Hobbs while Jason Statham reprises the role of Deckard Shaw, a reformed criminal. They’ve got the characters and the cast right; there is enough testosterone on screen with those two guys around. As for the plot, well, let’s say there is hardly any.

The talented Vanessa Kirby (of The Crown fame) plays an MI6 agent, she is in possession of a biological weapon and when the bad guys led by a cyborg (Idris Alba) launch an attack she is does what she thinks is most sensible although not everyone will agree – she injects herself with the virus, assuming it will be safe there.

Meanwhile, she is declared as a rogue agent and the frenemies, Hobbs and Shaw are called upon to hunt her. The film tries too hard to be cool and many of the scenes, particularly when they are pitted against each other, are intended to be funny but don’t quite turn out that way. There are references to Keith Moon and Mick Jagger but even those jabs fall flat.

Turns out that the virus is safe in her body for three days and the men then have to protect her from the villains even though she seems to be fairly capable of dealing with trouble herself – but then the film wouldn’t have been called Hobbs and Shaw.

Up to a certain point, the film holds your interest but then it all becomes way too familiar and by the time it reaches the climax in Samoa, you are itching to head to the exit.

Given the nature of the franchise and a stuntman director heading the film, you can expect a fair bit of action but like the majority of the films these days, it is done with a lot of CGI, whether it is the car chases or other stunts. A film like Baby Driver (2017) or the last Mission Impossible had better chases than the entire Fast and the Furious films put together. 

Statham and Johnson do what they can with ease, even if they are woken up in the middle of the night. They have the potential to display some quality chemistry but they are let down by the screenplay. Having said that, their bonhomie is still the best thing in this film.

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