Today: June 16, 2024

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

For the past few Fast & Furious films there has been no denying the bromance blooming between Dawyne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham, aka Hobbs & Shaw. So much so that by the end of The Fate of The Furious they appeared to be outright pals. But that’s not exactly the making of a good buddy action movie is it?

So we’re back to where we were three films ago. With Hobbs & Shaw hating each other but having to team up to save the world. There is a plot, kind of. It involves a virus being hosted in Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) and a super-soldier (Idris Elba) who wants it to wipe out the weak of humanity. But any story is merely a stepping stone from one set-piece to the next.

Off the back of the fallout between Johnson and some of the main cast of The Fast & Furious franchise it’s safe to assume his Hobbs is person non-grata. But this is Hollywood, Johnson is one of the industry’s biggest box office draws and he’s not going anywhere. And for the most part that’s a good thing. Indeed, towards the end of The Fate Of The Furious Hobbs & Shaw were easily the most likeable characters on display.

So how they get their own spin-off film so wrong is quite an accomplishment. It’s not that the action isn’t fun, at times it is, even if it’s so horribly infused with CGI the jeopardy level is akin to watching a child at a petting zoo. Nor is it that the key characters aren’t still vaguely entertaining company. No, it’s that everything here feels so forced. It’s as if all involved felt they needed to dial-up the humour to eleven without asking, “is this actually working?”

Because Butch & Sundance, Riggs & Murtaugh or even Turner & Hooch this is not. The key to any good buddy movie is having one straight character and one funny one. At various points in the film Hobbs & Shaw seems to know this. We’re treated with cameos from the likes of Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart, the kind of actors who should have probably been along for the entire ride to dish out the quips while the others dished out the muscle.

Instead we have to suffer through Johnson and Statham, both of whom have proven in recent years they are more than capable of being the funny guy, trying to one-up each other with some terribly clunky dialogue. The narrative drags them along but at no point does it feel the need to offer up a resolution to their endless dull bickering. The only buddy moments that work are between Johnson and Reynolds, and the latter’s role feels very much like a favour or perhaps an audition to inject something, anything resembling humour into the next film in the series. And yes, there will inevitably be one.

A buddy movie without any buddies. Hobbs & Shaw ticks a lot of action boxes but you’ll laugh more at a chocolate covered Hobnob than you will this.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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