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‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ review: Making the silly sublime

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham make the impossible possible... yet again

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham make the impossible possible... yet again  

With generous odes to family, romance and friendship, this action fest is one the most Bollywoodian films that hasn’t been made in Mumbai

Hollywood has done it all when it comes to action and special effects, or so you’d think. And then comes yet another film that renders the fights and fisticuffs and stunts and chases ridiculously over the top, and redefines adrenaline rush in ways unimaginable. All you have to do is consume the impossible unquestioningly, with lots and lots of cheese over the popcorn.

The plot (what’s that again?) doesn’t matter; the narrative meanders along, not just when it comes to the story itself getting thin and needlessly stretched, but also in terms of the geographical locations it has to span. It borders on the silly, but thankfully doesn’t take itself seriously at all and is unapologetic in its almost cartoon-like feel. Tom and Jerry for Hobbs and Shaw anyone?

This spin-off of the popular Fast and Furious series has agents Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who otherwise can’t see eye to eye, reluctantly join hands to save the world from the deadly virus Snowflake and the villainy of Brixton Lore (Idris Elba). All kinds of improbable technological marvels happen on the side. Besides the cyber-genetically enhanced Brixton, there’s Shaw’s sister and MI6 agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who injects Snowflake into herself, and becomes a carrier to save the rest of the humanity. Now what to do with her and the virus? Neutralise her to stop global contamination... or wrench it out using an extraction device which lies in a factory in Ukraine.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
  • Director: David Leitch
  • Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
  • Run time: 135 minutes
  • Storyline: The spin off of Fast and Furious series has agents Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, who otherwise can’t see eye to eye, reluctantly join hands to save the world from the deadly virus, Snowflake, and the villainy of Brixton Lore

There are eye-popping, gravity defying action set-pieces that pile on, one on top of the other. Brixton walking vertically down the high-rise with a much prized Hattie for company, the mind-bending chase on London streets and, to cap it all, an insane helicopter versus cars/jeeps face-off in the climax. Hobbs and Shaw sets new gold standard for our own Rohit Shetty, of the smashing cars fame, to emulate.

But the movie also strives to be a complete masala package. Along with action, there is comedy, romance and emotion as well. It’s one of the most Bollywoodian films I have seen, that hasn’t been made in Mumbai. That has to do with the fact that Hobbs and Shaw is eventually all about loving your family. The Shaw siblings huddling together, Hobbs reuniting with the extended family in Samoa and more so with the estranged brother Jonah — the only one who can repair the smashed virus extraction device, and in turn mend the family dynamics. Eventually, it is about coming home after spending a lifetime running away from it.

There is an assortment of characters on the side in this wholesome package. A mysterious woman in Russia who supplies information and arms, the scientist who created Snowflake and starry cameos by the likes of Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart and Helen Mirren.

Eventually it’s the trio of Nietzsche-quoting Johnson, deadpan Statham and lightening quick Kirby that holds things in good stead, sparring off and squabbling with each other in just the right measure, making the silly sublime. Johnson and Kirby also have a little romantic banter sparkling on the side. In all the masti, masala, mindlessness and mayhem, it’s Elba who gets a bit sidelined. One would have wanted to not just see a lot more of the “Black Superman,” but more complexity to his menace as well.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:09:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/reviews/fast-furious-presents-hobbs-shaw-review-making-the-silly-sublime/article28793377.ece

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