By Bradley Lane
The Fast & Furious series is at the peak of its popularity after nearly two decades of film entries into the series. The original Fast & Furious released in 2001 and told a simple but effective story; an undercover cop infiltrates an underground racing community to try and catch a gang of thieves. It’s a relatively low-stakes story that makes sense for the type of over-the top street racing action they wanted to highlight. However, the Fast & Furious series has had to raise the stakes again and again to keep the series fresh for modern audiences. This has led the most recent installments to revolve around that same gang of motorists saving the world from total destruction. Quite a leap, but audiences seem to love the new direction, with the last two entries into the series having the best box office performances in the franchise’s history.
Now that we’re all up to speed on the history of the franchise, we can talk about the newest film, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. Picking up directly after the events of the eighth film, the “plot” gets set into motion by the attempted robbery of an apocalyptic virus that threatens to wipe out nearly all life on Earth. To track down the virus, the CIA enlist the help of Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson, and Ethan Shaw, played by Jason Statham. Having spent the past Fast and Furious films hating each other’s guts it sets up an odd couple, buddy cop style film, taken to the extreme.
If there is one thing that Hobbs and Shaw offers its audience, it’s action. The paper-thin plot only exists to further the banter between the two leads and provide plenty of explosions, car chases and fist fights. If that’s what you want out of a film, stop reading. I promise, this movie is made for you. However, I personally found Hobbs and Shaw to be a gruelingly long and dreadfully boring experience.
The dialogue only ever serves one of two purposes: to trade meaningless verbal jabs between the two leads, or to provide exposition for the impending action set piece. After the first act it gets old, after the second act it was grating, and for the entirety of the third act I could not wait for the film to end. As the characters kept repeating the same dull banter back and forth, I couldn’t help but try and wonder why this film was made. It felt devoid of meaning, heart or purpose.
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw is a film made to please audiences; if you like over-the-top action and don’t mind the lack of a cohesive plot, you’re in for a good time. If you prioritize storytelling and character in you films, stay far, far away from this one. 1.5/5.