I should begin with a disclaimer, this was my first ever F&F. It wasn’t that I’d actively tried to avoid them, I just hadn’t really gotten round to it. But a combination of Jason Statham and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was enough of a draw – and boy am I glad of that. After a summer season that has provided the odd gem with its fair share of disappointments, this film is just like Ronseal – it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Even the briefest glimpse of a poster or trailer will inform you of what is going on here, perhaps unsurprising as the plot could fit on a postage stamp. A deadly virus is being sought after by a terrorist organisation. Our heroes need to stop it. That’s what plays out in the following 135 minutes.
Admittedly there’s a tad more to it, Hobbs (Johnson) & Shaw (Statham) don’t get along – so they’ll have to find a way of getting past it. Shaw’s sister (a superb and refreshing Vanessa Kirby) is at the centre of it, so this is now first and foremost a family matter. She’s also quite attractive and Hobbs is single… The terrorist operative Brixton Lore has a history with Shaw. Hobbs has a daughter but has cut himself off from the rest of his family.
There’s nothing new, different or particularly smart about these proceedings. And yet… it’s a whole lot of fun to watch.
This kind of feels like a sorbet, a palate cleanser after action flicks that try so hard to be serious that end up being dull, or confuse dark with bland murkiness. This is a buddy comedy and an action movie, with both parts sitting very comfortably together – unlike Hobbs and Shaw themselves…
It’s the charisma of both leads, and their innate rapport, that makes the film. There’s utilisation of split screen that charmingly, albeit less than subtly highlights their differences. Then, once they reunite, comes the film’s stand-out moments (aside from that bit where Johnson manages to pull a plane to the ground…) Their insults vary from glorified ‘your mum’ jokes to personal attacks on appearance and disdain over each others fighting styles – each exchange invoking at the very least a smile, more often than not proper laughs.
More of these laughs come from a supporting cast member who was a genuine surprise appearance who briefly completely and utterly steals the show. Disclosing who would spoil the surprise! Elba’s role is minimal and rather comprised, but it’s clear he’s having a whale of a time an evil operative with a dodgy name who is determined to assist in ‘augmenting the human race’ at all costs.
Friday and Saturday nights are made for this serving of an ‘ice cold can of whoop-ass.’
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is out in UK cinemas now.