3. Hobbs & Shaw
With Furious 7 cracking $1.5 billion worldwide and these movies beginning to burst at the seams with the bevy of talent involved, it was just a matter of time before the franchise ventured into outright spin-off territory.
And so we have Hobbs & Shaw, which cannily shifts the tone further away from vehicular worship towards a buddy cop setup, filled to the brim with rat-a-tat quips. Not everything here hits – the jokes could be punchier in places and the shadowy Eteon organisation isn’t terribly interesting – but it also never dares to sit still for even a second too long.
Co-written by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce, the latter having worked with buddy cop maestro Shane Black on the Iron Man 3 script, this peripheral Fast joint shrewdly exploits the electrifying chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham for every sweaty drop it’s worth, while inserting an appealing foil in the way of Shaw’s sister Hattie, played with kick-ass gusto by Vanessa Kirby.
In its best moments Hobbs & Shaw is like a Shane Black movie on steroids, its exaggerated action sequences matched by an unexpected emphasis on meaningful character development for the title characters and their respective families. Ironically, the film to most convincingly broach the family thematic in the entire series doesn’t even have Dom in it.
Beyond Kirby, the supporting cast is a sure embarrassment of riches; Idris Elba kills it as cybernetically enhanced super-soldier Brixton Lore (aka Black Superman), while amusing cameos are carved out for the likes Rob Delaney, Eddie Marsan, Eiza González, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, and most surprisingly, Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart.
But it’s the three-hander between Johnson, Statham, and Kirby which ensures the film doesn’t want for Dom and company, accented by stylishly helmed action from David Leitch (Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2). Some spotty CGI aside – especially during the excessively drab, industrial warehouse settings of the second act – there’s incredible variety to the chaos on offer, culminating in a wonderfully bonkers third act showdown in Samoa which strips away the digital excess…until it doesn’t (but in a good way).
If many spin-offs end up struggling to justify their own existence beyond the obvious pecuniary concerns, that couldn’t be further from the case here. Between its smart structure, energetic script, and superb cast, it posits promise for other future universe-expanding entries away from the Toretto clan.
Hobbs and Shaw proves the series remains viable without the rest of the Family, taking an inspired detour into steroid-injected buddy cop territory while dishing up some slyly effective character development.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Click below to continue on to the next page…