Dateworthy: Hobbs and Shaw
Is “Hobbs and Shaw,” the ninth film in the Fast and Furious universe worth a date night? YES!
This movie brings together archrivals US super-agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and British super-agent Shaw (Jason Statham). They’re teaming up to save the world from a super-virus. “Hobbs and Shaw” is utterly ludicrous in all the best ways. It’s hilarious, thrilling, fun, and has some stunning surprise cameos. There’s an equally surprising level of heart as the dynamic duo have to save Shaw’s sister in order to save the planet.
There are some movies that are just too ridiculous for words. Movies that defy logic, the laws of physics, common sense, rationality and the fundamental rules of storytelling. “Hobbs and Shaw” is gloriously entertaining in spite of it all.
It’s the first spin-off from the ridiculously long-running Fast & Furious series of action movies (eight films so far, with a ninth due next year!). The movie stars Dwayne Johnson as an American agent named Roy Hobbs and Jason Statham as the once-evil, now-good British operative Deckard Shaw.
A love-hate relationship for the ages forces the two titans to team up
Hobbs and Shaw developed a love-hate relationship with each other over the last two films. Shaw entered the series as the villain in the end credits of the sixth.
That eight-film series started out as the story of an uncover LAPD cop infiltrating a car-theft ring and crossing over into joining them.
But in the fifth film, “Fast Five,” Johnson’s character of federal agent Hobbs entered the scene to track down the gang. They were all dispersed into hiding internationally. But Hobbs enlisted them to steal a drug lord’s $100 million bank vault from the center of the Rio de Janeiro police department.
That insane assignment brought the series to another level. It took the scrappy team of car thieves into James Bond/”Mission:Impossible” territory with a series of globetrotting adventures.
The new movie focuses on its titular heroes as they try to find a British intelligence agent named Hattie (Vanessa Kirby). She’s apparently gone rogue with a deadly super-virus that could wipe out the planet’s population within days.
In reality, she has heroically injected the virus into her body for its 42-hour latency period. She did this in order to keep a half-human, half-robot former soldier named Brixton (Idris Elba) from capturing it on behalf of a shadowy British organization of ex-military figures seeking to turn powerful weapons and viruses against humanity.
Family ties bring a surprising emotional depth to the high-octane thrills and laughs
Hobbs is working for the US. Shaw works for the Brits. Neither is happy about having to share the danger and the glory involved.
But it turns out that Hattie is Shaw’s long-estranged sister. Hobbs might have to enlist his own long-estranged brother on Samoa to help save the day. It’s then that the film shrewdly weaves in solid emotional underpinnings for the adventure.
Beyond that, there’s a brewing attraction between Hobbs and Hattie that drives Shaw comically nuts as the trio of heroes hop all over the planet.
Brixton wants to get the virus back out of Hattie’s body so it can be weaponized worldwide. Hattie, Hobbs and Shaw need to steal the device that Brixton’s going to use to extract the virus from her. If they can’t get it in time, Hattie will die and the virus goes airborne.
Hobbs and Shaw guarantees a big bang for your buck
The script by longtime Fast and Furios scribe Chris Morgan and the direction by veteran stuntman-turned-director David Leitch makes this movie zip along at a nonstop rapid pace.
You’ll experience the usual hand-to-hand combat action. But there’s also an incredible motorcycle chases, an unbelievable chase down the side of a skyscraper, and a finale that is literally impossible to describe in any coherent fashion.
If you are an action fan, you are getting your money’s worth about ten times over. Like the Fast and Furios movies, this is basically a Wile E. Coyote cartoon come to life.
Elba is a formidable villain. The trio of Johnson, Statham and Kirby are entertaining in their combo of comedy and heroics.
This the movie also benefits greatly from a couple of truly surprise extended cameos by superstars who are perfectly matched for their roles.
It’s nice to see that a movie universe that could be running on autopilot nine movies in is instead looking to give audiences extra bang for their buck throughout.
Carl Kozlowski is a Catholic comedian, film reviewer, and journalist who is also the founder and co-owner of the podcast station www.radiotitans.com in Los Angeles. He reviews movies for the Catholic News Agency as well as the Christian site Movieguide.org, but has also worked with secular outlets including the Pasadena Weekly, Chicago Tribune and Esquire. He has also produced and hosted comedy shows for the LA Catholic Archdiocese's charities and performed at some of the nation's top clubs and with top comics including Dane Cook and Dave Chappelle. He strives to find the way to work with both Christian and secular audiences in all his career paths.