Mayhem, Action and Humor
Universal Pictures has reaped a bonanza with the Fast and Furious franchise over the years. Original series star and producer Vin Diesel announced way back in 2015 that there might be a spin-off of the series. Work was begun on fashioning a story for the Hobbs and Shaw characters in October of 2017. Diesel would not be part of the new story.
Popular action stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham would take roles as lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast renegade Deckard Shaw, respectively. That’s a match made in Heaven as the two men are no strangers to fighting, mayhem and cracking heads like eggs. They thrive on it. So why not put them together where they can do twice as much damage?
Although some of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw was shot on the large Stage 25 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, the lot wasn’t big enough to contain all the action director David Leitch had planned. The production moved to England where many scenes were shot on the streets of London and at the big Shepperton Studios complex. When London got too small, the entire unit and stars moved up to Glasgow, Scotland, where they could do more demolition. More destruction! More damage! More mayhem! They loved it, and so do we.
Is there anything more exciting than watching Jason Statham’s or Dwayne Johnson’s bicep muscles expand and contract as they pummel someone’s face into tomato sauce? Former rivals, the two bruisers combine forces to combat evil -- what else? -- and save the world from destruction. Where have we heard that before? The amusing twist is that these two don’t get along and approach their demolition duties in a different way.
The script, by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce, adds a great deal of humor and verbal sparring between Hobbs and Shaw to relieve the relentless action scenes. Johnson is an appealing actor and more or less loveable, so his humor is derived from his good nature. Although Statham may not be known as a comedian, he handles his funny lines well and adds to the fun between the two. It’s not all action; there is a lot of fun in the movie.
A deadly virus has been invented that could destroy all of humanity. Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) has invented the virus but only for good purposes and to combat evil-doers. Alas, the virus becomes a highly-in-demand force of destruction, and the evil Brixton, a newly re-conditioned human/robot has been programmed to obtain it at any cost. Played effectively by the strappingly-built Idris Elba, he will stop at nothing to get the vial of the virus out of the hands of Hobbs & Shaw. Being partly a machine, he is difficult to dent, slice, hobble, shred, implode, crumple and eliminate.
Thrown into the mix and to complicate the relationships even more than usual, Shaw’s sister Hattie dispatches opponents easier, faster, and more effectively! She’s a bad one, that gal! Hattie is played by British actress Vanessa Kirby, 31, (Winner of the BAFTA for Best Actress as Princess Margaret in “The Crown.”) She adds a great feminine touch to the shenanigans and proves just as able as the men.
Oscar® winner Helen Mirren comes in for a funny cameo as Shaw’s incarcerated mother. She affects an hilarious Cockney accent while appearing to be a glamorous fashion model in jail.
A nice twist involves Johnson’s character returning to his roots in Samoa to wrap up the adventure. It is rumored that he hired 300 of his real cousins to act as extras in the tropical island scenes. Actress Lori Pelenise Tuisano plays Hobbs’ hilariously commanding mother. Joe “Roman Reigns” Anoa’i, the professional wrestler, takes part in the exciting Samoan scenes and leads all the relatives and townspeople on a “native” warpath to quickly defend their island and “big brother” Hobbs.
This movie ends up being an exciting adventure for both the actors and the audience. Don’t miss it if you like to have your heart rate exceed the legal limit. You’ll die laughing.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “PG-13” for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language)