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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw

Hobbs and Shaw stare down some candy ass who is trying to jump the line at a Girl Scouts Cookie table.

Synopsis: Hobbs and Shaw reluctantly join to defeat a villain bent on world domination.

The Fast & Furious franchise includes eight previous movies chockful of fast cars and furious action. Also, furious driving and fast action. Apparently the franchise has evolved its own consciousness because it is now presenting spin-offs from the Fast & Furious universe, as in the new flick, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw. 

I’ve seen parts of the franchise movies, so I know that: the characters are very serious about driving as fast as they can, there is peripheral criminal activity, terrible acting by Vin Diesel and lots of talk of being a “family” composed of the fast driving men and women in the movies. And somehow the Rock got involved and may or may not be part of this de facto family.

The Franchise doesn’t give Hobbs and Shaw much of a plot, just an unoriginal story that loosely pulls together the action sequences. In fact, the movie-going experience might have been better if  it was edited down to action sequences and some one-liners. The movie is sooo long; a tedious two and a quarter hours. It’s not like Inception where the puzzle needs time to become clear. No, Franchise! Just make it fun. And shorter.

On the bright side, the Franchise has registered that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is much more of an attraction than Vin Diesel. Pairing the former with English action star Jason Statham is a good yin yang set-up. In between dispatching gangs of assassins with their bare hands, they trash talk each other, describing the beatings they will inflict in great detail.

Knowing the history of Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs or Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw isn’t necessary. Suffice to say that Hobbs is a good guy who works for the U.S. government. And Shaw is an Englishman, who was a bad guy in an earlier movie, but there has been some revision by the Franchise and he is now an okay guy. They do not like each other.

Movie Loon searched the Internet looking into the titular characters’ backgrounds, but it was pretty dull going. Fortunately something more exciting popped up: The Candy Ass Feud. Apparently there was some tension on the set of The Fate of the Furious aka film #8. Rumor had it that Vin Diesel was fuming about the Rock’s spin-off and slowed down filming by not showing up on set as scheduled. The Rock vented on Instagram, informing us that “while some conduct themselves as true professionals, other (men) don’t.”  He threw down the gavel at the end, deeming such individuals “candy a**es.” He then made it even more perfect by hashtagging it #zero tolerance for candy asses. On the heels of this, Vin D. said he would reveal “everything” and informed the world that he is an alpha male. Well, things cooled down and they both talked about “family.”

Speaking of family, in Hobbs and Shaw Shaw/Statham has a sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby, delightfully bratty as Princess Margaret in “The Crown”) who works for the British intelligence agency, MI6. She can ride a motorcycle, shoot firearms, fight, and hack computers.

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Unable to afford a motorcycle after paying for custom cycle suit and helmet, Brixton makes his way through London traffic on foot

Idris Elba shows up as the villain, Brixton. He’s either out riding a motorcycle really fast (perfect for the Franchise) or stopping by his evil organization’s HQs for his regular appointments to get cyborg-ized. It must be like the orthodontist where some work is done & then time is needed for your teeth –or in this case, cyborg parts– to settle in. Brixton hollers as the procedure begins and when he quiets down, a Darth Vaderesque voice gives him orders.

The evil organization has developed a super virus and it’s up to Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie to find and intercept the tube of super virus. Hobbs & Shaw continue to squabble. Hobbs and Hattie flirt and Shaw doesn’t like that one bit! At one point, the villain even admonishes the two men for their un-collegial attitudes.

Movie lover, I should probably let you know what kind of mayhem you are in for with Hobbs and Shaw. There are about… 100 explosions, 1,000 fist fights, 800 gun fights, 45 minutes of motorcycle/car chases, 30 kidnappings & escapes of Hattie and one flame-encased car driving around making a  big fire moat in fake Samoa (Kauai, Hawaii stands in for the island). Further, fans of slo-mo mayhem can look forward to slo-mo scenes of the beginning of massive explosions and people being punched in the face.

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A tender discussion on the merits of punching someone in the face vs kicking them in the crotch

Movie Loon didn’t like the dumb script, but acknowledges that the Franchise did well in including a thrilling chase scene in fake London (much of the scene was filmed in Glasgow, Scotland). So fast! So furious!

And kudos to the Franchise for being inclusive; the Rock’s character mirrors his own Samoan ethnicity. There’s a nod to the proud culture of the island’s people and Polynesian actors and extras are employed in the movie.

Fast & Furious has ushered in a new era where Franchises endeavor to put what audiences want into theaters. We can only imagine what’s in store…maybe Spider-Man Presents: Aunt May and The Cute Guy Who Works at the Bodega Around the Corner OR The Hobbit Presents: Thorin Oakenshield  and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.

Here’s hoping the Franchise keeps going with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, along with the is-this-happening? inclusion of Dame Helen Mirren as Shaw’s mom; but insists on better scripts in the future, when all films will be presented by the new overlords of the film industry: Franchises.

Movie Loon Movie Review Shortcut:

Grade:  C-

Cut to the Chase: Not a good movie, but if you just crave action sequences, go ahead.

Humor Highlight: The Rock keeping a helicopter from flying away by holding onto a chain wrapped around its tail boom.

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