Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Review: Has The Fast & Furious universe grown too weird with "Hobbs & Shaw?"

Hobbs & Shaw Review

You know, sometimes it makes me laugh, thinking about how much the "Fast & Furious" franchise has changed over the years. I remember when the first movie came out, the days of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. "The Fast and the Furious" was a gritty movie about underground street racing, it had an ultra realistic tone. I wouldn't call "The Fast and the Furious" an action movie, its a crime film. There are small bursts of action in that movie, nothing on the level of what we see in this franchise now. I would never guessed that somebody would drive a car through a building in order to get through a neighboring building in this franchise. Ever. Yet, that and crazier things have happened already.

With "Hobbs and Shaw," the first spin-off of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, there is a supervillain in the movie. I refused to just call the guy the film's villain, because he has implants in his eyes that lets him know when enemy's are going to punch him. When Idris Elba calls himself Black Superman in this movie, its played for laughs. But a part of me asks the other part of me if this series has finally jumped the shark. Literally, has the franchise JUMPED the shark? "Hobbs and Shaw" pushes the franchise so far to the deep end that I'm not sure what to really think of it.

As the "Fast and Furious" movies have grown in number, the car chases have grown crazier and wackier. In "Hobbs & Shaw" There is one giant set piece where several cars are all hooked together with a helicopter for a tail in the air. All while the heroes are being chased by a bad guy who is literally a cyborg. While there are plenty of people who go to movies like this to be wowed by the action and the set pieces and the effects, I can't help but focus on how weird this world has grown and if this at all fits into the greater universe being built.

The basic lowdown on "Hobbs and Shaw" is this, Shaw's sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) is an MI-6 agent in charge of a horrible virus. This virus is stolen by Idris Elba's Bixton Lore, a cyber-genetically enhanced terrorist working for a shadowy evil organization called Eteon. He steals the virus and frames Hattie as a traitor. Both Shaw and Hobbs are recruited to retrieve the virus from Bixton. Of course because they are enemies, they are initially annoyed, but of course they'll become buddies as the movie wears on. I'm a little offended that I have to now cheer for Han's killer but whatever.

The premises in this franchise are fairly easy to follow, so that we can make room for several scenes of car chases, unbelievable stunts and plenty of red shirt henchmen getting their faces pummeled. This time though, everything is cranked up so much that it may feel a bit numbing at times. Of course, I stopped taking these movies seriously several episodes ago, but the more they try to make these unbelievable, the more they rewrite the rules of this universe, the more awkward it is to sit through these movies.

Its a good thing The Rock and Statham are both charisma machines because they make it very easy to buy into the movie's absurdities. They make it easy for the audience to cheer for them. It's also nice Idris Elba brings as much humility he possibly can to a purposely cartoonish bad guy. They make this rather dumb movie at least somewhat fun. They committed to these characters to the point where I actually cared that Hobbs and Shaw won the day. Which I think is the most you can ask for with a film like this. I also hope you guys enjoy the cameos by Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart. I hope you also listened real close for Keanu Reeves voice cameo.

There was a wild rumor that somebody somewhere wants to put "Fast and Furious" in space, and I don't know if I want to throw my hands up and say "too much" or I want to continue to just enjoy the ride, but I guess we'll see. This continues to be a moneymaker so I guess people don't care how crazy things get. There's a difference between trying something new and forgetting what you are, I hope this mistake isn't made.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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