BFFs: Best Frienemies Forever

Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw from The Fast & Furious franchise team up for this spinoff, creatively titled Hobbs & Shaw. While the main franchise features a sprawling cast along with lots of impossible car stunts, this movie pairs it down to the two characters and, of course, lots of impossible car stunts.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham play Hobbs and Shaw, respectively. They’re joined by Vanessa Kirby (best known for her brilliant portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown) as a British agent and Shaw’s estranged sister. Who could pull this estranged trio together? Idris Elba as Brixton, a modified human that’s now half-man half-machine that takes orders from a disembodied, computer generated voice. Think Darth Vader but with a costume more suited for fighting.

You Again

While F&F fans will have a deep knowledge of Hobbs and Shaw (the characters), people who have never seen one of the previous eight movies will have no trouble understanding this film. Through lots of snarky and self-conscious dialogue we’re quickly up to speed with the main protagonists who specialize in antagonizing each other.

Everyone here has things in their past, and the crisis at hand forces them to deal with them. In addition to Hobbs and Shaw’s issues, Shaw tried to kill Brixton back in the day. Shaw’s sister is hiding a virus from Brixton and trying to reconcile with Shaw. And Hobbs has to go home to his long-abandoned family and ask their help saving the world. Luckily for the world, Samoans are a forgiving people.

He Blinded Me To Science

This is all well and good, but we don’t see F&F films for the heartwarming stories and big hugs. We’re in it for the action. And there is plenty of that.

There’s just one thing: you need to be able to ignore what you know about science in general and the laws of physics specifically.

What do I mean by ignore physics? Well, Kirby has a virus in her and has 72 hours before it consumes her and then humanity. In this time Hobbs travels from LA to London. Deals with issues there. Then it’s off to Ukraine. After dealing with issues and destroying a mega-hideout, it’s off to Samoa. That’s 9,800 miles. Total for all those flights is 28 hours in the air alone. That’s cutting it (impossibly) close when you still have all that work on the ground.

Also there are things like sliding down the side of a building with your bare hands holding a cable and not stripping all the skin off. Getting punched in the face and not having a bruise. And locking cars into a chain, while moving, while attached to a helicopter in flight. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

If you can do that, you’ll like this movie.

Less Is More

What I like about this movie is that, by virtue of a smaller cast and fewer storylines to service, we’re able to focus all our attention on two or three characters. Sure some of the dialogue is stunted and contrived. But, again, we’ve got low expectations for this dialogue. In the end, it’s fun. We learn to like Hobbs and Shaw more because we get to know them better.

The action is solid but not over-the-top on a F&F level. This definitely a more subdued version of the franchise that attempts to be a bit more touchy feely. It’s fine. ¬†At the end of the day, it’s an action movie that will blend in with others. It’s fun while you’re in the theater, but not super memorable.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

I’m mixing up the Saletoga Trench Cocktail, served at the Saletoga Sands Resort & Spa in American Samoa. It features fresh niu and vodka with a niu block to keep the chill in the drink!


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