I admit it. I love “The Fast and the Furious” films.
Not even in a guilty pleasure way, either. I know there are tons of stupid moments, but there is always a bit of heart that carries them over. That doesn’t exist in the franchise’s first? (I don’t know if “Tokyo Drift” counts) spinoff: “Hobbs and Shaw.”
There is a sense of family in every Fast film, mainly because Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto says the word “family” about 226 times per movie. “Hobbs and Shaw” tries to exploit that and it just doesn’t work.
First off, you get Dwayne Johnson’s character of Luke Hobbs (introduced in 2011’s “Fast Five”) talking to his daughter about their family because she has a class project on doing a family tree. This scene is played off as so melodramatic because she doesn’t know who her dad’s family is while Hobbs kind of looks melancholy, showing that. ‘Oh no, he had a fallout with his family.”
So that is a big part of the movie, culminating with one of the corniest third acts in film history (Yes, I know what franchise this movie is in). But that is just one half of this duo.
The other half is Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw. Now, I like Jason Statham. I like Dwayne Johnson and I hope that the Rock chooses not to hurt me if he finds this review, but I still don’t get why Statham’s character is marketed as a hero.
Some background for you non-Furious heads. Deckard Shaw is the brother of Owen (Luke Evans), the baddie from 2013’s “Fast and Furious 6.” Safe to say, Dom and crew beat Owen in that film so at the ending, Statham makes his first appearance when he blows up key crew member, Han Seoul-Oh. Yes, I know his name is dumb, but I have a point to this.
Statham brutally murdered this guy, right? So in “Furious 7,” he is the big baddie and the Diesel train has to beat him. So they do, but then somehow they try to make Statham have a redeeming arc in “Fate of the Furious.” OK, sure. But he still brutally murdered one of your friends!
This film portrays Statham as the cool, suave, gumpy type compared to Johnson’s muscle-bound gentle giant. Yes, they show the contrasts nearly every time on screen even though the fairly neat intro for both characters would have sufficed.
Before I get to the plot of this movie, my point on Statham. At the end of the film, the two are friends and are comparing other dynamic duos. Johnson mentions Batman and Robin. Statham says – no joke – Han Solo and Chewbacca. The guy says the name of the guy he killed. What the hell?? Why would you put that in the script?
So, here is where we come to why I didn’t like this movie so much. It hemmers family in such a melodramatic tone for most of the movie while constantly spinning jokes that don’t land yet it still expects us Fast fans, no matter how dumb we are, to still like the guy who brutally murdered a guy.
It is so frustrating.
Anyway, the plot. So Idris Elba is the best part of this movie. He literally introduces himself as the bad guy in his first scene. His character, Brixton Lore, works for an evil organization that wants a virus to weed out the weakest people in the world.
So Brixton, or Black Superman as he calls himself, is half cyborg because Shaw killed him years ago when Brixton tried to get him to join the evil corporation.
The movie starts with Vanessa Kirby, who you might know from “The Crown” or last year’s summer blockbuster “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” playing Shaw’s sister, Hattie. She is an MI6 agent and decided to inject herself with the virus so Brixton can’t get it.
The cat and mouse game begins. Hobbs and Shaw have to team up to save Hattie and get the virus out of her system. So the continent-jumping tour begins in London with a brief interlude in Russia as they try to infiltrate the evil corporation, which is in Ukraine at what looks like the Chernobyl power plant.
There, they get the machine to save Hattie and escape Chernobyl, but not before blowing it up. That isn’t the wackiest thing in this movie. Yes, this is a franchise that started with street racers stealing DVDs from semis. But now, it’s the one where they blow up nuclear submarines with cars and where in this film, Johnson single-handedly pulls a helicopter down with a chain.
Anywho, worst part of the movie coming up. The trio goes to Samoa where Hobbs family lives and fights Brixton with spears. Yes, wooden sticks. Now, they do find a way to EMP the corporation’s weapons, but the dude is half cyborg.
There are parts in these movies that are so frustrating, but usually it balances out with some comic relief from guys like Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris, or some emotion from Paul Walker before his untimely death.
This movie has no balance. The initial trailer made it look like a testosterone-fueled dream with plenty of chemistry, but whoever cut that trailer deserves an Oscar for editing because this movie was not good.
I wanted so much to like it and none of it landed. They took the worst parts of the franchise and amplified them. Also, just a pet peeve of mine, can Johnson please stop Facetiming people when his life is on the line. He did the same thing in “Skyscraper.”
Maybe if you would just call someone like a normal person and multitask instead of looking into a product placement, you would realize the movies you are in are starting to have serious issues that even your gigantic charisma can’t carry.
Rating: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language.
My score: 37/100
Jordan Bishop is the assistant news editor for the Stillwater News Press and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.