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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW (2019)

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds, Eddie Marsan, Eiza González, Cliff Curtis, Roman Reigns, Josh Mauga, John Tui, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, Lyon Beckwith, Westley LeClay, Pingi Moli, Eliana Sua and Rob Delaney.

Screenplay by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce.

Directed by David Leitch.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 136 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is another confusing mess in the comedy/action genre propped up by big names, safe jokes, and passable CGI.

I did not go in to see Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw wanting to hate it. I’m someone who’s definitely a casual fan of the Fast & Furious franchise and of action/comedy movies in general. Or at least someone who understands the appeal and why people like movies like this. But I really think the genre has become watered down nonsense over the years, and this movie is a perfect example of that.

The overall problem with this movie, and all other movies like it, is that everything we see in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw has already been done bigger, better, and with more heart in an earlier Fast & Furious movie or another great of the genre. As different as Hobbs and Shaw claims to be and tries to prove that it is – with spies, viruses, and surprise guest appearances and locations – it doesn’t feel like much more than a straight-to-DVD spy remake Fast & Furious movie. The only reason it hit the theaters is the fact that it starred The Rock and Jason Statham.

The movie doesn’t have the writing, humor, CGI, or overall creativity to stand on its own as an independent work. Instead it has to rely on a loose tie-in to an existing successful franchise and a laundry list of big names in order to sell tickets. It isn’t special. There’s nothing about Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw that stands out. That above all else would have to be my biggest criticism of it.

We start the movie off being introduced to our two side characters, the female spy and sister of Jason Statham’s character played by Vanessa Kirby as well as our main villain played by Idris Elba.

You’ll notice throughout this review I’m going to be referring to and describing the characters in a very bare bones way, but it’s only because the movie’s writing and overall script didn’t give me much of anything to work with.

Idris Elba is an amazing actor, that can’t be understated, so he definitely was menacing and intense n his role as the villain, but that’s literally all his role was… a generic villain. The first thing Idris Elba says on screen is, “I’m the bad guy” (as if we didn’t already know that by watching him kill about fifteen people in the first minute of the movie). I mean, come on, it can’t get any more paint by numbers than that. The same goes for his vague motivations to destroy the world, fueled by some secret robot overlord.

While I won’t say the exact same is true for every single character in the movie – some more than others, obviously – what I will say is the person playing the character (The Rock, Idris Elba, Jason Statham, etc.) are much more running the show than anything about the characters themselves.

It even goes as far as having the final battle be at The Rock’s “character” (if you can even call it that) familial home of Samoa. While this was definitely an interesting idea and led to a mildly creative battle scene with some relatively cool moments, I really couldn’t shake how ham-fisted it all felt.

This whole movie felt that way honestly, cool-ish moments and sort of funny laughs, but all presented in a very bare-bones, heavy-handed way that is completely reliant on who the actors are and their previous public personas.

Jason Statham annoyed me the whole movie, if we’re being honest. I’ve never been his biggest fan, but I just didn’t like him at all in this. I’m not really feeling like he and The Rock have the best chemistry. It feels like The Rock outshines him, if anything. It could be the writing, but to me it felt more because of Statham’s performance being unappealing and the timing of his jokes being way off in comparison to The Rock’s.

Another small thing that bugged me throughout the movie is Statham’s character constantly making jokes about The Rock’s character being too big and obvious to be a spy… while he himself drives to every spy mission in a bright blue luxury sports car. It couldn’t be anymore gaudy and obvious, and the brand is highlighted each and every time. The product placement in this movie was incessant at times. Just annoying.

As for The Rock’s performance, as I said earlier, The Rock was The Rock is this movie. He was just kinda a spy this time, not much different than his character in that movie with Kevin Hart. However, this performance felt even more phoned in than the last few I’ve seen from him. There are lots of weird closeup shots of The Rock staring lazily into the camera. I’m not sure if he was green screened into scenes here and there but something just felt off.

On a positive note, I really liked Vanessa Kirby’s performance as Hattie Shaw, and found her story within the plot to be the most interesting and well written. I also enjoyed some of the jokes between The Rock and Jason Statham. I’m not going to lie and say this movie didn’t get some laughs out of me, but just as many jokes fell flat. I’m not a fan of the safe comedy/action humor studios are going with lately.

The CGI was dreadfully bad at points in the beginning. Then you see that the studio was just saving their money for the grand finale of the film which, while awesome, doesn’t make up for how corny things looked at points towards the start. The characters – as with any movie of this type – would die so many times over if the events of the film happened in real life. Some of the things that happened in this movie were so unbelievably stupid and unrealistic that I caught people laughing about them on my walk out of the theater.

Now, some people love this type of movie. I love tons of movies like this, I loved some of the original Fast & Furious movies and I loved even stupider ones like Sharknado or 2012, but I loved each of those movies for a reason. The originality within them, whether it was a plot I thought was different, CGI better than the rest, hilarious jokes, crazy stunts and live effects, something to set it apart from the tens to hundreds of movies of this type that come out.

I didn’t see anything in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw that set it apart for me. Instead I mostly saw stuff that confirmed what I thought it would be going in – a heavy-handed attempt at launching a new, successful franchise from a dead, successful one by using name recognition and big-name actors and actresses.

As much as I want to just love the movie for what it is, I can’t. This movie feels lazy. There isn’t anything about this movie that’s Fast & Furious, except the name. And there isn’t anything unique about this movie, unless you count the fact that The Rock’s character was somehow able to pull an Apache Helicopter by a metal chain even though he wasn’t the one with any cybernetic attachments. In short Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a ridiculous, overblown mess, as most films within the genre are, but I wouldn’t say anything about it makes it special enough not to just see on DVD.

Austin Gomberg

Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 2, 2019.

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