Rustle up a simplified plot of Terminator into a glass. Pair it with the laughs of Deadpool 2 and top it with some of the visual effects from a Transformers movie. Toss in a splash of self-awareness and charm and your cocktail, certainly strong as it may be, known as Hobbs & Shaw is ready.
The Fast & Furious franchise is launching its first spinoff film in the form of Hobbs & Shaw. It's a franchise that has already exceeded its life expectancy by cranking out eight films but it's only gained momentum with each release, making a spinoff seemingly inevitable in the current movie culture. Fortunately, the Hobbs & Shaw spinoff not only boasts the same ridiculous, gravity-defying aspects the franchise has come to embrace but it offers them up in a self-aware, largely entertaining format.
While knowledge of the original Fast & Furious films (or, more accurately, the three most recent Fast & Furious films) will supplement a moviegoer through Hobbs & Shaw, the ties are not nearly as thorough as other interconnected cinematic franchises. Logic can be left at the door in favor of a giant popcorn flick as a couple of stunt-heavy, laugh-loaded hours give the stars an opportunity to carry the film more so than its story. The only time Hobbs & Shaw stumbles is when it takes its story a little too seriously, which is difficult when its premise and the obstacles are often so outlandish.
Dwayne Johnson checks in as Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham is opposite with Deckard Shaw. The two together on screen only build on their electric chemistry from Fate of the Furious, with director David Leitch checking in to bring out the best of their action abilities. However, it's a bit of dream team as Leitch also brings a similar, self-aware and side-splitting funny vibe for the film as he did with Deadpool 2. Meanwhile, Idris Elba comes full force as Brixton, an enhanced human referring to himself as "Black Superman." Through a globetrotting trek, the titular heroes are forced into entertaining scenarios, each of which they try not only to save the world but to do it in better style than the other.
Statham and Johnson are veteran action stars with all of that experience on display but also flex their comedy muscles a good bit here. Still, Vanessa Kirby comes along for scene-stealing moments and abundantly displays that the girls can hang in a blockbuster action flick just the same -- if not more so.
Ultimately, Hobbs & Shaw's plot feels a lot like the original Terminator movies with a Marvel entertainment formula, certainly not in the fact that those franchises were innovative, but in that it borrows elements which already worked there. A story of an enhanced and relentless being trying to wipe out humanity is juxtaposed with levity and humor to make sure the audience has a good time -- and it works -- but it’s not anything we haven’t seen before.
While the plot is certainly not the star of the film, there a handful of shocking surprises along the way which in themselves justify the price of admission. The laughs are genuine and plenty while the action sequences are wild and massive.
In the end, leave your logic at the door if you want enjoy Hobbs & Shaw. Gravity and real world rules don’t apply in this movie nor should they, which the Fast & Furious franchise has now proved several times over. It’s a big, ridiculous, hilarious good time at the movies and its rare missteps only come when it tries to be something more. The Fast & Furious franchise might have just launched another franchise.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.