Hobbs & Shaw pours more octane and adrenaline into the Fast & Furious formula. The result is a bloated CGI spectacle that's near cartoonish at times. Action guru David Leitch, who directed John Wick and Deadpool 2, loses focus in the barrage of fights, chases, and explosions. The onslaught has no flow. The scenes in the beginning are better executed than the finale. At a numbing two hours and sixteen minutes, everything blurs together. What works is the chemistry of the leads and locker room humor. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham chew up the screen with their juvenile banter.
Hobbs & Shaw opens in London, where a team of MI6 commandos tries to stop the theft of a deadly virus. They are beaten to a pulp by Brixton (Idris Elba), a cyborg terrorist with a bad-ass motorcycle. One commando (Vanessa Kirby) escapes with the virus, but soon finds herself public enemy number one. The shadowy organization that upgraded Brixton controls the media as well.
The CIA needs heavy hitters to recover the commando and virus. They decide to recruit Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) for the operation. The former enemies are stunned by the request. They despise each other and refuse to work together. But the situation forces them to ally against Brixton. The mission becomes personal for Shaw, who has a long history with Brixton and the rogue commando.
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Anyone seeing Hobbs & Shaw is expecting a mind-blowing action film. There are a couple of scenes that are spectacular. The first showdown with Brixton and ensuing motorcycle versus McLaren chase is amazing. David Leitch, who spent years as a top stuntman and stunt coordinator, delivers an expertly choreographed sequence. The problem is that nothing else in the film compares to it. Everything that follows looks like a video game. The over the top action becomes blase, a deluge of CGI filler.
I became bored by the fight scenes. Hobbs & Shaw pummel baddies nonstop throughout the film. The problem is that the faceless attackers line up for a beatdown on queue. Bad guys mill about in the background, then take their turn like dominoes. Hobbs & Shaw are just as invincible as Idris Elba's cyborg Superman. They fall out of buildings, smash through walls, and nary a scratch. The fisticuffs become tedious when there's no danger involved. The cartoon element comes into play again.
Hobbs & Shaw has several high profile cameos. No spoilers here, but like the action, they are overused. What starts as surprising and funny devolves into wasted dialogue. This spills over into the credits, which is packed with additional scenes. There's really no purpose but to milk the star power for every drop. It gets old fast. Hobbs & Shaw has every aspect on steroids. There's just too much of everything across the board in this first Fast and Furious spin-off.
Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are likeable in these roles. These are their bread and butter, standard characters. Hobbs & Shaw are known commodities to the audience. That familiarity increases the impact of the humor. I just wish the action buffet had been a five course meal. The ingredients were there, but the filmmakers outdo the original franchise to a fault. Hobbs & Shaw is produced by Chris Morgan and Seven Bucks Productions with distribution by Universal Pictures.
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