In one of the scenes in the film “Hobbs and Shaw”, Jason Statham sees Dwayne “The Rock Johnson” holding his sister played by Vanessa Kirby. He remarks “ keep your greasy sausage like fingers away from her” proclaiming his big brotherly self. In yet another scene Johnson rants at Statham in a flight and pokes fun at his smaller height by calling him “Hobbit Legs”. These ethnicity based comic slurs pretty much sum up the fun quotient in the movie.
A spinoff of the famous detectives from the “Fast and Furious” films now have their own movie. Johnson as Luke Hobbs and Statham as Deckard Shaw join ‘hands’ in this unique, over the top action comedy to take on a mission to save the world. Vanessa Kirby stars as Hattie Shaw and Idris Elba stars as Brixton Lore who essays the main villain the film. The film was directed by David Leitch who is a veteran action/comedy brain who has helmed “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2”.
What to expect from a “Fast And Furious” franchise film?
The FF films have a distinct flavor of their own. The world is usually bombarded by the perfect looking men and women. The ensemble cast will be corky with lots of humor in them. The central attraction has to be the “casting of the automobiles” in the movie. Be it SUVs, be it Sedans, be it Vintage cars, be it specially designed utility vehicles, trucks, the best bikes, the FF films have them all. The story usually crisscrosses the globe with a mission to save the world. Originally started as a face off between two gangs of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in the first “Fast and Furious” film, the franchise has come a long way making billions of dollars globally. “Hobbs and Shaw” is the first ever spinoff from the lead characters of the FF films. And yes they are no poor cousins of the main franchise.
The Plot of Hobbs and Shaw
Diplomatic Security Service Agent Luke Hobbs and MI6 Agent Deckard Shaw have been tasked with a new mission. Shaw’s sister Hattie who too is an agent gets into an unexpected encounter with Brexton Lore who is a rogue MI6 Agent and has been rebuilt into a cyborg like human. Hattie injects a bio weapon ‘cartridge’ which can kill millions of people in her own body. She can only live if she can release it with the help of a machine which is only available at the company HQ of Eteon, the giant evil corporation which made the bio weapon in the first place. Brexton too is a weapon of the Eteon Corporation. The Shaws and Hobbs take on Eteon and its mammoth army to save the world!
The comedy of being “Ethnic”
Hobbs and Shaw wears ethnicities on its sleeve. In each and every argument both of them attack each others physical abnormalities and somehow connect it with their ethnicities. Hobbs very clearly states in their first encounter” the feeling of seeing your face is like having my testicles running on cracked glass”. Now this may seem like a racist rant but it is this very tongue and cheek humor which carries the story of the film. In a sequence, both of them have to run down a building to save the damsel in distress. They both agree to use the rope to go down, Hobbs uses it but Shaw at the last minute uses a work lift instead! In yet another scene, Hobbs is slammed for having a curious and ‘unhealthy’ interest in Hattie by Shaw and he responds saying “ If she willingly wants to climb on a mountain of a man like me , I will let her climb on”.
There is also the fact both Statham and Johnson are superb action stars. But both have their unique ways of fighting. Johnson picks up on his massive height and weight by using his hands but Statham being smaller in height uses his swiftness/martial arts to use nearby objects like frying pans,knives, pens, seats and whatnot to amplify his action.
The Look and Feel of Hobbs and Shaw
The film uses a plethora of brands to power the narrative. In the climax sequence, over a dozen re-modified Range Rovers are ‘blown up’ in a nuclear reactor facility in Ukraine. McLarens, McGuffins, Porsches, Audis feature at every step of the way. Both leading men wear special edition Panerai watches and iPhones.
The locations of the conflict range from sunny California to Ukraine to London to Samoa. The extended family of Luke Hobbs is a treat to watch. There are at least one dozen Dwayne Johnson sized cousins in the frame. The Samoan march at the end is something which will leave you in splits.
The action sequences too have been very skillfully designed. There has been a concerted effort to portray that Hobbs and Shaw rely on old school discipline and old fashioned wisdom to fight the team at Eteon which has state of the art. Although Shaw has a very well endowed garage featuring the best cars, but he rarely uses the outside London. Hobbs on the other hand uses tow trucks, basic cars to his advantage. He and his cousins in Samoa use over half a dozen tow trucks to bring down a super sized military grade chopper.
Both Statham and Johnson up the “swag” quotient but don’t really end up doing some great acting. This is largely because the story and automobiles, action, etc. doesn’t allow them to. But the comic moments and ethnicity slurs make up for it. Their bonhomie on the screen is devilishly attractive. Vanessa Kirby comes out as the voice of reason and she acts better than most. Idris Elba looks super cool but he too is wasted as an actor. Can’t blame him, it’s the genre which treats its leading men more like a support mechanism.
I would give this film a 7 out of 10 purely for the action sequences and comic timing. This film is a good one time watch.