Time Out says
Between epic bouts of bickering, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham save the world in an offshoot that gets the job done
Review by Joshua Rothkopf
An overflowing goblet of primo stupid, the gearheaded Fast & Furious franchise actually has a mappable trajectory, away from street racing into gravity-defying heists and Hummers parachuting out of cargo planes. If you’re a ride-or-die for this kind of stuff, Hobbs & Shaw, the first spinoff, won’t disappoint, even as it strays even further into a fully unbelievable save-the-planet spy comedy. You don’t need to cram any homework. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham – as, respectively, single dad and counterterrorist agent Luke Hobbs, and finicky hard case Deckard Shaw – don’t exactly have chemistry so much as a constant stream of simmering insults, many of which sting beautifully. When Statham calls Johnson’s Hobbs a “giant tattooed baby,” it’s like being on the edge of an about-to-explode Krakatoa.
As it must, the plot throws them together against their will, on the trail of the stolen plague Snowflake, a “programmable apocalypse” sought by genetically enhanced MI6-agent-turned-bad-guy – just go with it – Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), and carried internally by Hattie, Shaw’s sister and a force of nature in her own right (she’s played by The Crown’s electrifying Vanessa Kirby). As unbound by reality as Hobbs & Shaw is, there are some places it simply can’t go: Kirby’s Hattie plants a smooch on the weirdly asexual Johnson (less a princess kissing a frog than a quick lip lunge) and we’re never going to buy that. Directed by former Brad Pitt stunt double David Leitch, the movie takes pains to give multiple characters redemption monologues – about as fun as finding a hair in your popcorn. But when it’s skipping from a dangerous-looking London street chase to a Russian lab break-in to, most deliriously, a last-act Samoan family beatdown involving hatchets and spears, Hobbs & Shaw finds its one note, the one you came for, and hammers on it effectively.
Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf
Cast and crew