You would think after eight films the Fast & Furious series would run out of ideas, but here comes a new movie with a revamped formula that might open different doors for the series. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a spin-off film featuring Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), two characters who have appeared in previous Fast & Furious films, as the unlikely duo who have to pair up to stop Brixton Lore, the genetically-enhanced, self-described “Black Superman,” from getting his hands on the humanity threatening virus inside of a rogue MI6 agent Hattie Shaw, who is—surprise—Deckard’s sister.
A lot of modern film plots sound more complicated than they actually are. All you need to know is Hattie has something a powerful guy wants, but these two super spies can’t let him have it, and I like that it’s that simple. I’m not going to sit through 16 hours of movies just to understand this one, and neither is anyone else. The Fast & Furious movies understand what they really need to deliver: big set pieces, ridiculous stunts, and funny moments. And Hobbs & Shaw does this well. Dwayne Johnson is always a joy to watch, and he works well aside Statham not because they have chemistry, but because they don’t, and the film capitalizes on the concept of these clashing personalities really well.
Idris Elba is also remarkably entertaining in this film. His jokes always land, and he’s a super imposing presence on the screen. Unfortunately, as is the foil with other “invincible” villains, he’s underused. How do you pit two humans against a robotic superhuman that predicts your movement and strikes back with twice the force? Then, eventually when they do trade blows, the writers come up with with a half-hearted way of overcoming him, and it just feels corny. I also feel as though the film loses steam as it goes on, and the final showdown in Samoa with Hobbs’ family, while having some good moments, including a chain of cars being lifted by a helicopter, has an equal amount of boring or annoying moments, like the montage of preparing for the invasion, which feels like downtime for me, or the fact that the battle switches from pitch-black darkness to sunny day to torrential downpour in split seconds.
But other than that, I don’t have many complaints. I especially enjoyed the cameos from Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart, which were definitely surprises to me. Sure, not all the jokes land, and the script isn’t watertight, but this is definitely a fun film to see on an uneventful day.