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Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw

I’ve been enjoying all of the THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS movies since the early 2000s, so even though part four, FAST & FURIOUS, does not rank high in the series for me, when it decides to present a separate movie about characters introduced in parts 5 and 6, respectively, it gets my attention. And also I like ampersands. For these reasons, FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS HOBBS & SHAW was one of my most anticipated movies of the summer.

Of course, you gotta have realistic expectations when it comes to presentations. There’s a pretty big difference between, say, DJANGO UNCHAINED, A FILM BY QUENTIN TARANTINO and QUENTIN TARANTINO PRESENTS MY NAME IS MODESTY. I definitely don’t think this spinoff is as good as the FAST series proper, but there’s a part where a helicopter is hooked onto a truck that’s chained to a line of several hot rods and they’re all raised off the ground driving on two wheels along a cliff. So I enjoyed it.

Because the story is about former Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne TheRock-Johnson, THE MUMMY RETURNS) and disavowed British-black-ops hero turned mass murdering brother avenger turned baby rescuer Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, GHOSTS OF MARS), it’s more of a spy movie type story. There’s no street racing and no heist. The two are sent on a mission to recover a dangerous man-made virus before it falls into the hands of Brixton (Idris Elba, 28 WEEKS LATER), an agent Shaw killed 8 years ago who has been brought back by sci-fi technology, wears bullet proof armor, has superhuman strength, speed and fighting skills, sees in Terminator-vision and rides a robotic super-motorcycle that can skid, jump, spin, slide and digital-animation itself all over the place, whether or not Brixton is riding it. That kind of movie.

Hobbs & Shaw are sent to catch the rogue MI-6 agent who stole the virus, not know she was framed by Brixton after she injected it into herself to get it away from him (see also: Thandie Newton in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2). So she has to convince them she’s on their side and find a way to remove the virus before it spreads or is captured by Brixton on behalf of Etheon, the mysterious… technology cult (?) he works for. And one reason this concerns Shaw is that she’s his little sister, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby, JUPITER ASCENDING).

It’s written by the usual guy, Chris Morgan (FASTs 3-9 so far) along with Drew Pearce (IRON MAN THREE). Unlike any FAST movie since part one it’s directed by a white person, but it’s a pretty good white person: David Leitch, the Brad Pitt and JCVD stunt double who co-directed JOHN WICK with Chad Stahelski and then did ATOMIC BLONDE and DEADPOOL 2 on his own. He uses the A FAST & FURIOUS STORY spinoff status as license to do a little bit of his own thing rather than completely mimicking the other ones. Particularly stylish is the split screen section at the beginning that contrasts the lifestyles of Hobbs & Shaw as they go through their morning routines, get recruited for the mission and then go to a place and fuck up a group of bad guys. Later there are some shots bathed in light of various primary colors that reminded me of ATOMIC BLONDE (which had the same cinematographer, Jonathan Sela). But they also throw in FAST staples like a gratuitous butt shot and (going back to the beginning of the series) a digital camera move that goes inside a machine and shows how it works.

The tone is more aggressively comedic than the FASTs. That’s partly because the two title characters always have to be bickering, but also it breaks the usual template, adding childhood flashbacks and two guest appearances by unbilled celebrities just there for extended comical riffing. I laughed a bunch and also I thought “I hope they don’t start doing this in the real FASTs.”

It seems to me the first half or so is heavier on fights than the FAST movies, and they’re generally well done. There’s lots of uses of props and improvised weapons – for example Shaw bases an entire brawl around a champagne bottle. I particularly like the first encounter of Hattie & Hobbs. She’s good at jumping up and head-scissoring people. After the recent hubbub about these actors not being willing to lose fights to each other it’s funny to see a small woman beating The Rock for a while. (But the fight ends amusingly with him raising her above his head with one hand.)

I’d say there’s more and better action than is standard for big budget Hollywood movies these days, with the aforementioned gloriously absurd helicopter set piece, lots of chases and battles and a more intimate final showdown with a clever solution to their problem. Fight/stunt coordinator Greg Rementer is Vin Diesel’s FATE OF THE FURIOUS stunt double who coordinated fights for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Statham’s personal martial arts trainer was the retired MMA fighter James Moontasri, who also did stunts in JOHN WICK CHAPTER 3.

It’s probly fair to say much of it is about on the level of the great first fight between Hobbs & Shaw at the beginning of FURIOUS SEVEN. That said, I never felt like it was pushing the envelope for the genre, or the series, or matching the level of thrills you’d get just watching half a JOHN WICK or a recent MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. And I think working with such an accomplished action director was an opportunity to do that.

What does it tell us that the two biggest action stars of the day can work with the same director as acclaimed actress Charlize Theron and come nowhere near matching the action spectacle she created on the lower budget ATOMIC BLONDE? They don’t meet the same level of choreography, they mostly do a move or two per shot, and generally just from the waist up. Does it come down to the preferences of the producers, the pressure to focus more on vehicle/FX based mayhem, or what? I feel like this was a good opportunity for Johnson and/or Statham to say You know what, I always do layups. Let’s work on some three-pointers.

Again I gotta point to fellow hulking WWE Superstar Dave Bautista’s great fights in MASTER Z. The Rock talks in gym poster affirmations, but something – Hollywood standard practices, maybe? – has prevented him for reaching for that level of action excellence. I say clear your schedule for half a year and go work with Master Yuen Woo Ping. Then talk to me about chasing your greatness and moving mountains and shit.

I think the new character of Hattie is my favorite part of the movie. She’s funny and cool, has the best fighting style, and honestly the sexual tension between her & Hobbs is pretty effective. But it’s surprising they don’t mine the FAST universe of characters at all. Other than the two leads I think the only returning characters are Hobbs’s daughter Sam (recast with Eliana Su’a, I’d guess because they wanted the character to stay young) and Shaw’s mom (Helen Mirren, SHADOWBOXER), now in prison, so she still doesn’t get to drive a car. And they invent new backstory for the main characters that makes everything even more ludicrous. Ludicrous is good in this series, I admit, but I’m definitely scratching my head as to why both have to come from crime families but then go into military/law enforcement and become heroes and then go rogue in the eyes of the law but actually be heroic. I guess it’s in keeping with the series theme of blurring the line between cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys.

Of course everybody knows the main theme of the series is “FAMILY” – it’s become a punchline, but I think the movies’ cornball sincerity about this topic is their biggest appeal. In a partly successful attempt to continue that emotional grounding, each of these characters ends up reconnecting with previously unmentioned estranged family members. In the case of Hobbs it’s his family in Samoa, who he’s avoided since a falling out with his brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis, COLOMBIANA). It’s commendable that Johnson, as producer, wanted to (however cartoonishly) glorify his Samoan heritage in a giant summer movie. And it makes sense that Hobbs would have a huge family of giant muscleman brothers (I guess including the WWE wrestler Roman Reigns) who protect and obey a beloved mother (Lori Pelenise Tuisano, FUN SIZE). And hell, why not also run a high end auto customizing shop?

You also have Deckard making up with Hattie. It amused me that this is so much about Deckard Shaw and his mom and sister and they talk about their pasts and flashback to grifts they pulled as children but I don’t remember them even mentioning the other brother, Owen, whose legitimate incarceration sent Deckard on a murderous revenge spree just two FASTs ago. If his name comes up it’s not much.

I liked this family stuff, but it’s not the same FAMILY that the FAST series talks about. Sure, Dom is protective of his sister Mia and his baby, but the reason the theme is so powerful is that it’s talking about self made, non-biological families. The brotherhood between people from different worlds, in many cases enemies, who go through shit together and become bonded. Even if Hobbs never made up with Jonah he would have Dom to count on and, you know… weirdly pose with while not looking at each other. Because engine oil is thicker than blood, or something.

That’s also just what buddy movies are supposed to be about, isn’t it? I liked watching these two insult each other (there are some good ones) and then work together. Maybe the lack of seriousness in their characters makes it harder for their eventual teamwork to be moving. I should note that both were stronger characters in their initial FAST appearances. Hobbs the giant, sweaty, Under Armour compression shirt wearing, order-barking ultra-alpha was actually different from the Rock’s standard character, and made for such a thrilling antagonist-turned-reluctant-ally. But once it was clear that he was a good guy and they wanted to show his soft side as a single dad and girl’s soccer coach, he became standard issue sweetheart The Rock and anytime he turns into Hobbs again it plays like shtick. I believe the stuff with his daughter could be as cute and way funnier if he stuck to the original hardass character and clearly loved her but was too macho to know how to express it in normal ways. It’s a better badass juxtaposition and bigger variation from his other movies.

Shaw was cool because he got to do the Statham moves but just be a mean, evil bastard, far more threatening than previous FAST villains. But I admit I wanted them to figure out a way to keep him in the movies, even if the murder of Han and everybody at the hospital seemed to make him irredeemable. And I suppose that necessitated sacrificing his original personality. Accepting the idea that that murdering motherfucker was just misunderstood is in the tradition of all the other nonsense we’ve happily gone along with in these movies. It’s part of the fun. But I think the balance is a little off here. The stupider the better, but I prefer it with a little more substance (melodrama, really) weighing it down.


Despite all these misgivings, I had a fun time watching the silly bullshit that is THE FAST & FURIOUS SAGA: HOBBS & SHAW. Though I don’t like it as much as I like the FASTs, I’d say it’s much better than many of The Rock’s movies (definitely last summer’s SKYSCRAPER) and at least as good as Statham’s last two leading roles, THE MEG and MECHANIC: RESURRECTION. And after all my grousing about it not being what it could be or what it’s supposed to be or whatever I look at pictures from it and remember that Hobbs gets to pull a Dom and stick his arm out the driver’s window to catch Hattie when she jumps to him. And he jumps off a skyscraper to fight in mid-air, does HERCULES style feats of strength, leads his family in a traditional Samoan war chant, and they pick up wooden spears and go BRAVEHEART on a high tech army. It’s pretty good, I think. If it came out of nowhere, without these expectations, it could’ve been a delightful surprise.

Other people are being harder on it, and that’s fine. In about a decade and a half I’ve gone from arguing with people who thought I was a moron for even watching these movies to everybody telling me this is an insult to the lofty standards of the series. I consider that progress.


I was a little annoyed that they chose to leave the identity of the mysterious Etheon director as a cliffhanger instead of revealing it in the post-credits. I guess it can be kind of fun to theorize. An obvious suspect would be Cipher (Charlize Theron), since she’s the evil technology person, but I don’t know why she’d say “you don’t remember me, do you?” to Hobbs (a problem with most possible candidates).

When the director’s distorted voice started to change it sounded to me like Ryan Reynolds, but that could be a misdirect. If it’s Locke, that’s pretty dumb. We’re supposed to feel betrayed by a new, purposely annoying comic relief character?

I guess there’s a Han theory. Since Brixton was brought back from the dead evil, that could happen to Han, and then Shaw could be the one to somehow rehabilitate him, thus finding some redemption. I hope not, though. I don’t want no sci-fi shit in the main series. I want it to turn out that Shaw rammed Han’s car under orders from Cipher and doesn’t know that he survived and is held prisoner but he’ll find out and perform a daring rescue, preferably after learning new driving techniques from Han’s student, Drift King Sean Boswell.

Speaking of dead characters, what about Gina Carano? She was The Rock’s DSS partner who turned out to be Owen Shaw’s girlfriend, I believe? I don’t know why she’d do any of this. But she’s Gina Carano. She should come back.

Or what about this: Sam’s mother. We’ve never heard anything about her. Maybe she’s evil! Maybe she loves technology! Maybe she thinks Hobbs forgot about her!

As always, I think it would be funny to bring back Leon (Johnny Strong) – the only surviving part 1 crew member who hasn’t been in a sequel – and expect everybody to remember who he is. So that’s my vote. It should be Leon.

I don’t need Dom to fight cyborgs, so I hope this spinoff plot doesn’t spill over too much into the main series. But if it does, the one character I’d most like to see redeemed and joining the Toretto crew is Brixton’s motorcycle. We didn’t really get into what that little dude is all about, but I bet he could be reformed, and he has plenty of skills that could come in handy. His name could be Wheelie. Or NOStradamus.

This entry was posted on Monday, August 5th, 2019 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Action, Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

47 Responses to “Fast & Furious Presents Hobbs & Shaw”

  1. An above-average Dwayne Johnson action movie. Unfortunately, that still means it’s not really any good still.

    Yeah, I’m one of the ones who is being hard on it.

    Not sure what to be more disappointed about: A FF movie that’s not very good? David Leitch not coming close to living up to our expectations? After last year’s two movies and now this one, it’s time to finally face facts that Dwayne Johnson will never, ever headline a decent, much less great, action movie?

  2. Yup and yup. Not as good as the regular series — not enough mega-heart — but entertaining, and NOStradamus is the most interesting character (followed by Vanessa Kirby). Honestly I don’t know why the hell they bothered putting a self-driving motorcycle in the movie if it’s not going to act like a horse and do things on its own, provide backup, swoop in to catch him when he jumps off a truck, etc. Big missed opportunity.

  3. Hobbs and Shaw were pretty fun. It was like TANGO & CASH if it tons of big action scenes. It kinda reminded me of the stupid 2000’s action films like DIE ANOTHER DAY, XXX: STATE OF THE UNION and even TRANSPORTER 2, just with good visual effects so it looked less silly. I guess you can throw in XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE. I expect this to be considerably more liked than any of does.

    I also liked that brought with him some familiar faces from his previous films. This was the third time he brought with him Daniel Bernhardt (I guess they got to know each other doing THE MATRIX RELOADED), although his role was a lot briefer than his role in ATOMIC BLONDE and JOHN WICK (even in LOGAN he actually got a credit, in this he is just an uncredit henchman). I guess he got killed off in the apartment fight scene. I wished he was used more and actually got a few lines. Always good to also see Eddie Marsan. Third David Leitch for him in a row, and the third he gets killed in. Rob Delaney is also in this, and he is credited but has less screentime than two extended cameos that really surprised me.

    Of course, the best of David Leitch returning cast was the big cameo (or I guess extended cameo as he had at least 3 scene). The comedy of the big comedy was perhaps a little bit too looney toons and would fit better in Leitch previous film.

    Really liked Vanessa Kirby in. I would also like to see the role of Eiza Gonzalez be extended. After seeing her in BABY DRIVER I want to see more of her. She also was in BATTLE ANGEL ALITA and got her breakthrough with the FROM DUSK TILL DAWN series. But she was less in this film than the two extended cameos.

    The film was pretty front-loaded. There are around 7 or 9 action sequences. Depending on if you count The Rock and Statham’s fight in the beginning to be two action scenes or part of one sequence, and of course the two end of act 1 fight scene that the film crosscut between. Because of the crosscutting between the scenes, I count them as one action scene. After the opening 45 minutes, the film slows considerably more down, and it paced more like usual FAST and FURIOUS film, or any blockbuster action film. Of course, two of the three big action scenes are in the last hour of the film. While most of the action was very well shot, I found the melee battle at the end to have too much shaky cam. I guess that was perhaps done for the PG-13 rating because most of the other fight scene was clearly shot. Some of the slow-motion shot in the water gave me flashback to THE MATRIX and its sequels.

  4. I think Statham mentions that Idris Elba forced him to kill his brother or some shit like that. So either there’s a third, previously unmentioned brother or Luke Evans died off-screen. Both options suck.

  5. I turn 36 tomorrow. Decided to make QT’s latest my last cinematic voyage while 35 and I’m glad I did. With that said this will unquestionably be my first as a 36 year old.

  6. Krautsalat-
    It’s a confusing line, but I’m pretty sure Shaw was referring to Brixton. They were ‘brothers’ in whatever unit they were in, but then Etheon sent Brixton to kill Shaw and Shaw was forced to kill him.

    I thought the movie was a decent Marvel Studios/Tango & Cash/F&F/M:I:2(Chimera…) mash-up. It’s right in the middle of my F&F rankings. For me, it was better than F&F 1,4,7 and 8. Most of the action scenes are pretty solid, but there’s a little too much cg and a little less impact than there should be due to the rating. The super-dumb meathead insult banter between Rock and Statham is enjoyable. Vanessa Kirby could have been the funniest/most entertaining character in the movie if they had given her more to do. There are moments where she stealth-mimics Statham and it’s pretty funny. Idris is good and could carry his own F&F spinoff movie, but he’s basically just an EVIL AGENT with a cool Transformers motorcycle. The MYSTERIOUS VOICE was kind of amusing, but I think the man or woman behind the voice should have revealed themself before the final act.

    My guess for the identity of the MYSTERIOUS VOICE is…. the mother of Hobbs’ child? An undead member of Hobbs’ unit from Fast Five? All I know is Han would make no fucking sense.

    I felt like the movie lost a lot of steam when it moved to SAMOA for what I’m guessing was a Producer Dwayne Johnson-mandated finale. Didn’t seem like the director’s heart was in it! The action is at it’s weakest, there’s a lot of generic F&F dialogue about “family” and “This is what we do”, and Vanessa Kirby is pretty much removed from the action. I would have preferred it if they ended the movie in Russia.

  7. Krautsalot/wadew – I agree, I was also thrown off by the line but also decided that Brixton himself was the brother Shaw was referring to.

  8. Great overall point, Vern. I liked this one alright but didn’t love it, but if this perfectly serviceable action movie is considered not good enough anymore than the critical conversation is moving in the right direction. As you said, before the only action movies that sniffed prestige or accusations of not living up the memory of something were usually war films or occasionally crime movies.

  9. Yeah, the person doing the mystery voice was definitely Ryan Reynolds — I picked up on some familiar mannerisms in the dialogue immediately, though I was trying to figure out who it was for a minute until in the next scene there he is, and I was like, oh right…. Wait. What?

    I too hope it’s a purposeful misdirect, because just about the most annoying thing in movies to me is when the production tries to disguise a character but it’s super obvious who it is. And I was absolutely expecting that final end credits scene with him to be a reveal and I was gonna roll my eyes so hard.

    Anyway I liked it; I’d put it in the same category of decent-enough spinoffs as SOLO, but it’s nowhere near as good as ROGUE ONE.

  10. I feel people are under-rating the fight choreography in this. There’s almost a Jackie Chan level of inventive props/weapon usage, and I think the hand to hand stuff is miles better than any of the mainline F&F movies (I agree the vehicle action in Lin’s movies is still the gold-standard though). Yes there’s no stairway scene from Atomic Blonde, but that was the sole highlight of that movie, whereas this sprinkles in memorable fights all the way through.

    I guess its just weird to see it taken totally for granted that American action movies can have great choreography again. John Wick was only 5 years ago, lets maybe appreciate how fortunate we are to have the shaky decade behind us.

  11. Still lots of shaky cam in Mile 22. It’s far from gone.

  12. This was a pretty good review that brings things into a balanced perspective I think. It is the review this film really deserves too, even if it could have been a lot more. Anyway, I was wondering if you’ve seen ‘Attrition/Final Mission’, it’s said to be Steven Seagal’s return to form in some ways and I bet you’ll enjoy it as a Professional Seagalogist.

  13. “the most annoying thing in movies to me is when the production tries to disguise a character but it’s super obvious who it is”

    Completely random memory of an old TV movie, in which a killer wore a ski mask, yet I knew who it was as soon as he opened his mouth, because one of the stars was the guy who played the bartender in the 90s cult classic show TROPICAL HEAT and that guy has a huge gap between his front teeth.

  14. Kirby is definitely the MVP of this. I enjoyed it too although I’m not sure why we’re still humoring those cameo guys and encouraging them to riff mediocre improv that’s not that funny. It’s fine though.

    How much do you think it smarts The Rock though that his solo movie didn’t come close to the box office of the Vin Diesel entries (not even Fast & Furious which opened over $70 mil 10 years ago). I mean what did he expect? The family ensemble is the star of those movies. You can’t just pull a character out and expect the same thing. But it did more than double Skyscraper and far more than Rampage still so overall pretty good.

  15. The Undefeated Gaul

    August 6th, 2019 at 12:41 am

    I think the action style and the way it’s shot is definitely more a producer/director thing. Statham can still do more complex stuff, in the early apartment fight I distinctly remember a long unbroken shot where he fights off the three guys with the toaster for a while. He’s also said he didn’t like the slow-motion stuff from the final fight with Elba (although I quite liked it myself since it showed clearly the execution of their strategy to beat him) but he says the director had a vision and he’s there to execute it. Johnson though, it seems he would have the clout to overrule anything he didn’t like or demand to set a higher standard, but he’s clearly not interested in that. I mean his standard is set by how much money something makes, not how high the actual quality is, so he couldn’t care less if the fights aren’t on the level of THE RAID, I think.

  16. Is the King Kamehameha epic with Zemeckis still a thing btw? I will give Johnson the benefit of doubt for this, because working with an experienced and iconic director might lead to something outstanding for a change (although Zemeckis is far from being perfect), but if he screws this up too, well…

  17. Felix – and STUBER. I think American cameramen are terrified of Iko Uwais and can’t hold the camera steady when he’s in front of them.

  18. No intention of catching STUBER, Vern. Also this film convinced me that i can only take Ryan Reynolds in small does. I’ve never found his shtick funny or amusing.

    Generally i enjoyed Hobbs & Shaw (Though i’ll take Fast 5, 7 and 8 over it). Vanessa Kirby truly is the standout here.

  19. Kirby is definitely the movie’s MVP. Especially because she’s good and likable even though her role is so thankless even though it’s masquerading as not. Her main function is to convince us, the audience, that Johnson and Statham are totes on set together and didn’t film most of their scenes months apart. Still pretty cool she got to steal this movie from Johnson, Statham, and Elda.

    After DEADPOOL, I was finally pulling the stick out of my ass RE: Reynolds and this movie completely reignited my disdain for him.

    To end positively: Kirby is cool and hopefully, we get to see her do much cooler stuff in the future.

    P.S. – I enjoyed STUBER, but as many have already said, it would have been WAY better if the action was good.

  20. Vern, are we getting a Master Z review because that’s the movie we should be talking about.

  21. When they were preparing for war at the end Hobbs said something about the island, like it will protect them or provide for them or something. Then when you could see a gnarly storm roiling in from the background, I was really hoping for some mythic natural phenomena to come into play with their final showdown. It would’ve even fit in with the theme of technology not being the end-all be-all. Maybe it would’ve been too much (ha! get it? because nothing was *too much* for this movie) and would’ve overshadowed the teamwork theme. I still think it would’ve been awesome.

    I feel like I probably missed some of the jokes (? – references? whatever they were) that were scattered throughout because there were so many. Like Franz Gruber. And he used the mini Cooper in a job in Italy. They skirted the line of the banter and humor becoming annoying so close that a few times I thought they went over it only to change my mind to not only think it was okay, but that I enjoyed it. It was kind of a mind trip.

  22. Honestly, Hobbs and Shaw teaming up with Te Fiti at the end and kicking off the Dwayne Johnson Cinematic Universe doesn’t seem entirely outside the realm of possibility.

  23. I am an extremely casual fan of these F&F movies. I’ve see all of them, but can barely distinguish one from the other. I have to say I liked this a lot more than any of the Fast films I have seen, which I am sure puts me in the minority. It was a ton of fun.

    For me, this movie benefited from having just three leads. And, quite frankly, Statham and the Rock are bigger stars than anyone else in the Fast franchise. MAYBE Vin Diesel is a little bigger star than Statham, but it’s debatable. I feel like a lot of the Fast movies are a cluster, with way too many moving parts.

    Vanessa Kirby is a friggin’ star if she picks the right movies. She is just the best. And if you see her interviewed, she is really funny as well. I found myself with a goofy smile more than a dozen times just watching her. Dying to see what she does next.

    What are these movies, exactly? I feel like they have become superhero movies at this point. With guns and cars.

    Personal note, simply because the only people I know who will ever see this movie are the people in this talkback. And I do feel like I know most of you people. My mom passed away last year after a long battle with Alzheimers. When we were kids, we used to call her Swifty because if you got out of line, she would hurl her slipper at your head clear across the room. She was like an old West gunslinger. When the Rock’s mom did that I literally busted out crying for a good minute. I feel confident that I am the only person on the planet who cried during this movie.

  24. Thanks for sharing that, JeffG. I had one of those during BUMBLEBEE. I had a worse one during MARY POPPINS RETURNS but that was cheating because it was a song literally about a dead mother. Later I fought valiantly to ward one off during HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U. It can be rough and/or embarrassing, but also I appreciate that something so silly can bring memories of my parents and help me process my feelings about them.

  25. Thanks for sharing Jeff.

    Also, Jeff’s post kind of works as proof of my theory that the less you like the Fast movies the more you’ll like Hobbs and Shaw.

  26. Great review, I had a similar reaction to the film. I think one of the factors that contributed to undercutting the wow factor of some of the film’s bigger moments is that pretty every much great action beat and joke is in the trailers for the film and I saw the trailers so much that by time I saw the movie it was less impactful.
    I also felt a lot of the more ground fights & stunt work with practical effects were great but felt out of place in an F&F movie. For example, I wonder if much of the audience appreciates the stunt work with the flame thrower when it is sandwiched inbetween big CGI spectacle? It felt drowned out.

  27. Felix I did not laugh at a single thing he came up with. What a useless character/cameo. I do think I’m just sick of the typecasting at this point. Dude has shown range surprise us and use him differently for once.

    Leitch is the one JOHN WICKer who always loses me by the end. Happened with ATOMIC BLONDE and DEADPOOL TOO and it happened with this. I misses most of the final fight cause I was literally dozing off. The exhaustion from the shaky cam followed by zipping cam prior to that must’ve gotten to me. Stahelski just seems to be better at sticking the landing or maybe this movie just needed Keanu.

    I will say that the one thing that made me light up the most was the inclusion of Cliff Curtis as big brotha hobbs. I didn’t expect to see him and like always he pulled off playing a role that’s not even native to him like it actually was. He brought an earnestness a lot of others probably wouldn’t have. I hope to see him in the main line joints even as just a cameo for Dom to pick up vehicles at the shop or something.

    I enjoyed it for the most part. My favorite thing as an action fan was all the genre callbacks. Statham referring to his ITALIAN JOB remake days, Johnson being called the best tracker around THE RUNDOWN style. The blatant TANGO & CASH homage with the sister having the non-brother physically pinned and the whole “your girlfriend/my sister”. That was the stuff that kept me engaged.

    I said it after M:I6 where she didn’t even get physical (No Olivia Newton John) and now I’ll put it on the record on the site if Matt Reeves doesn’t cast Kirby as Pattison’s Catwoman he’ll be a fool.

    Overall it was entertaining enough. Don’t know if I’ll ever revisit it. Maybe I would have if this was THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAW but being that it has more in common with the one I liked least which is also the one presenting it it’s not exactly gonna get the good ole rewatch the way FAST FIVE, FURIOUS 6 and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT have. With that said I’m game for a sequel.

  28. For a Fast & Furious movie, BALLISTIC: HOBBS VS. SHAW: REQUIEM is sub- adequate, but as a Rock movie, it’s a moderate success. If some joker hadn’t accidentally spliced the blooper reel into the theatrical prints, it’d almost be slightly better than mediocre.

    I’d get into the specifics of why the movie’s stuffed with ostensibly awesome yet nothing really lands, but what’s the point? I knew what I was getting into and I saw it anyway. The Rock gotta Rock. It doesn’t matter who he’s working with (one of the most talented pure action directors working today, for instance): you give him any kind of creative control and you get the same “comedy-director-in-over-his-head” milquetoast four-quadrant synthetic movie substitute he always makes. He’s got blandness in his DNA. Dude bleeds B-. No reason to change now.

  29. Majestyk- This sadly is the conclusion isn’t it. We knew if he couldn’t pull this off it would be pretty conclusive, and sadly the results are in and, sadly, it’s better than SKYSCRAPER, but probably not as good as frickin’ 2MANJI and tellingly less memorable than your average solo Statham vehicle. I’m not a fan of the first DEADPOOL, so I think it says something that this director won me over for DEADPOOL 2 but I found this to be, well, another Rock film.

    It’s not a complete loss though. I particularly liked the [SPOILERS, I GUESS] Imhotep in THE MUMMY RETURNS-esqu blip of poignancy for Elba at the end. In both films, 18 years apart, it’s the one moment which feels like it didn’t come from the conveyer belt.

  30. Yeah, but choosing not to have him self-destruct is a dereliction of action movie duty, in my opinion.

    My two cents on the one thing worth discussing in this movie, and only because it’s so dumb: Either the voice on the phone is Rock’s baby-mama or this screenplay is even worse than I thought.

  31. I suppose it could also be his father, whose story was left open-ended in a way that seemed like an idiot’s idea of foreshadowing. Then they could legit have him say “Luke, I am your father” in the (sigh) next one. That’s about the level of depth you can expect from a Rock vehicle.

    Yeah, that’s actually it. The stuff with the mom is likely just set-up for the contrived emotional reunion Rock thinks no third-act is complete without. I doubt the guy who thought spending a whole movie on two beefy dudes fighting over a grown woman like she’s a piece of property would ever actually grant a female character enough agency to be an actual villain.

  32. I think it’s telling that there are more comments on Vern’s post about the HOBBS & SHAW trailer than there are on the review of movie itself.

  33. This one was a blast – I liked it a lot more than the last two F&F movies. I mean, I honestly can’t think of any F&F regulars that I would even want to be in this. They are all pretty lame characters other than these two.

    Even better was that this is the first movie I’ve ever seen in the 4DX theater. I don’t think I can watch these kinds of movies in a regular theater any more. It is so much more fun when your seat is moving around with the car chases and punching you in the back.

  34. Just another one to add to the “It’s not you, it’s me” pile.

    I found this movie to be nearly intolerable. I was pretty tuned out by the time the Ewoks — er, Samoans — took on the trained armed force because they, um, rendered their weapons useless with blah blah pulse blah, etc, so I barely even noticed the climax. Kudos to Kirby for remaining slightly above the mediocrity (at its very best few moments) fray.

    My opinion on this one means very little because I find Statham to be such a non-presence (which makes all the negative attention on D Johnson just that much more mystifying to me). That guy can’t act his way out of a paper bag, a phrase that makes as much sense as this movie and as Statham’s near leading man status.

    Ironically, I caught the end and beginning of two F & F movies cementing Statham as one badass killing motherfucker, which makes the retconning of this movie and the last Furious so, so….”ridiculous“ doesn’t even do it justice.

    I laugh at myself cuz I’ll still watch some of shittiest horror in the hopes of finding a hidden gem, but I think I may have wasted my last two hours on action garbage like this movie.

  35. Yeah I finally saw it this weekend too and I can see the hate – it’s 45 minutes too long, it feels more like a Marvel movie than a F&F one, the plot has the usual lazy MacGuffin-hunting and globetrotting that I hate, combined with the same tired “genocide to thin the herd” villain plot. The comedy bits aren’t as clever as the movie thinks they are and they go on an on and on (kinda like in Johnson’s Baywatch but I have to admit this move works way better) But I think the dealbreaker is the action feels generic and just isn’t very good. I just talked about how Birds of Prey blew my mind because there was way more action than I’m used to seeing in a mainstream Hollywood movie- Hobbs & Shaw probably has even more action on a minute-by-minute basis, but it’s all forgettable and bland. I can’t believe this is from the same director as Atomic Blonde because there’s none of that John Wick-ian energy and showmanship here. And I’m glad you said it first, Johnny, because I’m now ok with admitting Jason Statham hasn’t really done it for me since the Transporter movies. (Other than an admirable attempt to stretch his dramatic muscles, JCVD-style, in Redemption). He’s kind of just there – not bad, not good, just coasting by. I never thought I’d be bored of multiple scenes of a dude fighting 10 other dudes, but this movie and Statham made it possible.

    That being said – I do think this is kinda underrated- I liked it better than FF 4, 6, and 8 at least. The “Dwayne Johnson’s love letter to Samoa” segment is actually sweet and charming (especially with subtitles on, where you can see how many Samoan words are being crammed into the dialogue). Also, HOT TAKE – I think Vanessa Kirby has the best female role in the entire series. (Look, I love the ladies of F&F but we have to admit they’re almost always underused and underserved – look how Gina Carano was wasted in 6 and how Jordana Brewster has been given nothing to do in the entire franchise). Kirby gets more character development and screentime in this one movie than poor Letty may have got in the last 3 movies. It’s a meaty lead role which gives her tons of shit to do and Kirby knocks it out of the park.

    *SPOILER* I’m apparently the only one who took the post-credits scene to mean Ryan Reynolds WAS the evil mastermind, right? I mean I literally thought him telling Hobbs that he also stabbed a dude with a brick meant that he was cybernetically modified too? (Yeah I know it’s played as a comedy beat and not a big reveal, but the whole scene with Reynolds’ goofy character murdering an entire hallway full of cops(?) offscreen has to imply that, right?)

  36. I rewatched this one a few weeks ago because it left my brain so fast that I couldn’t remember if I hated it or not. I still can’t tell. There are some good elements (particularly Kirby, as everyone has mentioned) but the lack of any discernible chemistry or dynamic or even the sense that they’re in the same fucking room together between the two title characters more or less kills the thing. Their scenes where they just insult each other without rhythm or reason feel like they just shot a half-hour of adlibs in front of two separate green screens a thousand miles apart and an overworked editor tried to make it look like they were having an actual conversation. And the less said about those horrible cameos, the better. I’ve seen Paul Feig deleted scenes with more reason to exist.

    But seriously, whoever told The Rock he should focus on comedy should be dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and shot. He works as a foil to an actual comedian but when he’s allowed to drive the jokes, he’s got all the comic chops of a high school football player doing a skit in the senior variety show. And Statham, who has been extremely funny elsewhere, fares just as bad here, but at least he has the decency to seem slightly embarrassed about it.

    I hope The Rock got whatever he was looking for out of this vanity project that broke up the family. Because I sure as hell didn’t.

  37. I have a soft spot for Statham, but I guess it does go back mostly to TRANSPORTER(s) and ITALIAN JOB. He was probably one of the better things about the first EXPENDABLES, along with Mickey Rourke. I enjoyed him in SNATCH, as well, although the film is a little to enamored of its colorful, one-note characters.

    I enjoy his presence in pretty much anything he’s in, but a lot of it is unmemorable. Still, for some reason he doesn’t get under my skin the way Vin Diesel and Rock do. Those guys just seem so over the top with their alpha male, leader of the pack shit that I find it pretty off-putting. I’ve not watched any of the later FF films (I tagged out at 5), so, I can’t speak to what he does or doesn’t bring to those films. Still, I’m down with Statham.

  38. neal2zod- SPOILER No, I kind of thought the same thing, what with Reynolds’ voice clearly being used for the altered voice scenes. Would be weird to have a light comic scene like that with so much blood. But weirder still to have Reynolds be the big reveal

  39. I finally saw it and am actually a bit surprised how badly it was received by many of you. It’s not as good as the best F&F movies, the banter between the protagonists tries too hard most of the time (The less said about the Apatow-esque overlong, obviously mostly improvised scenes with the two secret special guest stars the better) and I hope Dom’s gang will never have to fight cyborgs, but it was fun, dragged less than the first three F&F movies (sorry) and had some cool, appropriately ridiculous action pieces.

    If this would remain the only Hobbs & Shaw adventure, okay, whatever. But until further notice I’m up for another one. It’s definitely a nice entry into the “Spy action movies that are better than 007” subgenre.

  40. I don’t know, I tried watching it again and it was even worse the second time. The action is not that good, in conception or execution, and even if it were some genius-level shit, every big moment is ruined by shameless mugging. I kind of hate both these characters now. I went back and rewatched F&F’s FOUR through FATE in quick progression soon after (I’ve never particularly liked the first three so I skipped those), and that does this film no favors. Every single set-piece is an order of magnitude more distinctive, imaginative, engaging, and exciting than this generic action pablum that could have come out of any vaguely sci-fi action thriller in the past 20 years. The helicopter vs caravan climax is the only particularly Fast and/or Furious idea in it, and it’s pretty small potatoes compared to what the main series has cooked up, particularly compared to the similar and vastly superior plane takedown in FURIOUS 6. The worst part, though, is that you can see in real time how systematically Rock set about ruining Hobbes. He’s actually doing a character in FIVE: brusque, smart, professional, driven, down to do whatever it takes to get the mission done, and absolutely not about to waste time on pointless dick-measuring contests. He even has a southern accent! By H&S, Hobbes might as well be doing a lip sync contest on Fallon for all the separation between Hobbes and Rock’s public persona. Statham, ever the professional, just wants to do what’s asked of him, so he’s a bit less insufferable, but no one could survive the supernova of smug self-satisfaction that overwhelms the movie every time Rock thinks he’s being charming. If this is the direction these characters are going to continue in, I hope they stay far the fuck away from the main franchise. This shit was like the pilot for a shitty TV adaptation where everybody has the same character names but they’ve all been recast with off-putting strangers.

  41. And yet it is still in the top tier of the Rock’s filmography. If you’re judging it by that criteria alone, it is probably underrated.

  42. “The helicopter vs caravan climax is the only particularly Fast and/or Furious idea in it, and it’s pretty small potatoes compared to what the main series has cooked up, particularly compared to the similar and vastly superior plane takedown in FURIOUS 6”

    That’s actually one of the reasons why I appreciate it. Just like a solo album shouldn’t just sound like another record from the person’s band, a good spin off should have enough of its own identity. So I like that they didn’t just try to make a F&F movie with most of the cast missing, but gave it a bit of its own identity, especially in the action scenes. I don’t even mind the cyborgs THAT much, because of that. I’m sure we all would’ve enjoyed a bigger focus on vehicular stunts, but it gave us better hand to hand combat than in its mother series (no shaky cam) and I actually enjoyed the house running scene a bit more than the climactic chase.

  43. Ugh, my grammar sucks today. Only slept 5 or so hours since Friday.

  44. I’d agree if if that distinct identity wasn’t the same as all of The Rock’s other flavorless non-movies.

  45. Even here I have to disagree with you, at least to a certain point. This is not a genrepushing instant classic and definitely leans closer to “forgettable PG 13 studio action movie”, but without giving it too much credit, I would say it’s the most fun and memorable Dwayne Johnson joint since at least *checks IMDb* at least HERCULES. Not counting the F&Fs of course. I guess it helped taht they at least came from an established series and a real action director did it, instead of the guys who did DODGEBALL, JOURNEY 2 or ORANGE COUNTY (Although despite not being a fan of the NuManjis, I have to admit that Jake Kasdan is surprisingly talented when it comes do directing special effect driven popcorn movies.)

  46. So the director of Eteon is totally Virgil from Better Luck Tomorrow, right? He woke up from his coma because they uploaded him into a computer or some shit!

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