I had never seen a ‘Fast and Furious’ movie until last year. I had no interest in cars and thought myself to be above them as a film. That was until I binged them all in a couple of weeks so that I could fully enjoy the ride at Universal Studios in Orlando. And even though it was one of the worst theme park attractions I had ever ridden, I do not regret my Furiously Fast binging session one bit. Who could really say no to around 2 hours of non-stop stupidity? Stupidity in the best way of course.
These films are never short in mind-blowing and mind-numbing action, explosions and completely insane plots. For me, a standout moment in the binge came right towards the end of ‘The Fate of the Furious’ (the eighth instalment) in which Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) punches a missile in a pivotal action set-piece involving multiple cars and a submarine. This is the level that Hobbs and Shaw, the spin-off/franchise-starter, operates at albeit with much more comedy and, somehow, turning the insanity up even more. That’s why it is easily the best action film to not take itself too seriously to hit the screens this summer.
The movie is just infectiously likeable and that’s down to a couple of key reasons, one of which being the dynamic between the duo of Hobbs and Shaw (Jason Statham). It’s hilarious and kind of keeps the movie afloat. The two bicker like an old married couple throughout the movie, constantly try to one-up each other, get a dig in or prove one of them is stronger. This is carried over from their appearance in ‘Fast and Furious 8’ and is probably what the entirety of the spin-off hinged on in the initial pitch: the sheer testosterone levels that they would bring to the film, but they own it in a way only they could.
If you ever put yourself in a position where you think too much about the plot to ‘Hobbs and Shaw’, then let’s be honest, you’re in for a bad time. The film is probably the oddest yet. We’ve gone past remote-controlled car swarms and into straight-up science fiction and evil super soldiers. The lead evil super-soldier, Brixton, being played by none other than Idris Elba, is out to get Shaw’s sister (Vanessa Kirby) who has absorbed a world-ending virus somehow. She needs to be protected so the duo is called in to find her, question her and ultimately keep her safe in a film that spans from the streets of London to Chernobyl, with a final battle taking place in Samoa with Hobbs extended family drafted in to help.
The charm really lies here, the set pieces being gloriously over the top. We have fight scenes where Shaw uses a toaster and champagne bottle to deal a lot of flinch-inducing damage to his enemies and a scene involving a truck being chased through an unused power station. It is insane yet absolutely brilliant. Nothing compared to the Samoan final battle that I mentioned before. I can’t really describe it, it is the type of brilliance and over the top action that you need to experience with a massive bucket of popcorn and a large screen.
Overall, it’s the amount of sheer fun that makes this film so good, from the comedy to the action set-pieces to the ludicrous story all make this some of the most fun you will have in a cinema this year. Dwayne and Jason aren’t alone either and the film sets up a future that should be interesting (and hilarious) if this film does well enough to warrant a sequel, which it should do. The film is the best of a franchise full of fun and honestly, I can’t wait for more. ‘Fast and Furious 9’ is supposed to tide us over in the meantime and, for some reason, I don’t think that will be enough given The Rock’s absence from the main franchise from now on. I’ll just live in hope that we get one with the team-up that is teased…
Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments below or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. We’ll also be discussing the film on next week’s episode of the OH HI Films Podcast so check that out if you get the chance!