Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw review – a fervently brainless delight

This latest iteration of the Fast and Furious franchise is unexpectedly fun, spinning off characters played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham from the seventh and eighth films. It gives us a fair bit of gonzo action, a hair-raising London chase scene, some transatlantic alpha-male squabbling, a cheerfully silly plot MacGuffin – and for the first two thirds the whole thing hums like a hi-tech top. The movie is a bit overextended, and the action runs out of steam in the final battle, but it delivers some bangs and laughs for your buck.

The mountainous Johnson plays a tough federal agent who likes philosophy, reads Nietzsche, is called Hobbs and has a CIA handler called Lock! (I assume Lock’s name is spelt without an E or the gag wouldn’t be consistent with Hobbs, but it isn’t easy to tell because Lock, played by Ryan Reynolds, appears to be uncredited.) Hobbs is unwillingly teamed up with his old frenemy Shaw (Statham) and together they have to take down Brixton, a bionic cyborg played by Idris Elba.

Shaw’s mum, Queenie, is played by Helen Mirren (who once played the Queen) and Shaw’s martial arts warrior sister, Hattie, is played by Vanessa Kirby (who once played Princess Margaret). Hattie is a rogue MI6 agent who is forced to neutralise a terrible new biological weapon by … erm … downloading it into her body. Huh? Never mind. Apparently it’s harmless there for 72 hours or so, and so the bad guys need to get her. And Hobbs and Shaw need to protect her, with Hobbs also fighting her and, moreover, fancying her.

Some enjoyable stuff, although a slightly weird deployment of Jim Croce’s bittersweet song Time in a Bottle at the film’s beginning and end – perhaps inspired by its use for Quicksilver’s slo-mo scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Released on 1 August in the UK and Australia, and 2 August in the US.


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