REVIEW: Lengthy but fun, 'Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw' manages to squeeze in an insane vehicular stunt

Marcus Goh

PHOTO: United International Pictures

SINGAPORE — When a movie makes a Game of Thrones reference, you know that it's got its pulse firmly on what the audience wants. Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is pure, insane fun that gives us everything we have come to expect from the franchise, and then some. It does clock in at over two hours in length, which is much longer than any action film needs to be — but then, that's a heck of a lot of action that you're getting in the film.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is an action film that's a spinoff from the Fast & Furious franchise. It follows the adventures of its two namesake characters, a tough cop and a former special agent, as they attempt to thwart a terrorist who's hell bent on causing mayhem to the world. Unfortunately, the two characters can't stand each other. But the fate of the world may very well rely on them putting aside their differences — which may be their biggest obstacle.

The whole premise of the movie is that you have these two macho, masculine characters constantly trying to outdo each other at every turn — and this is a premise that the film delivers in spades. It's hilarious to watch them mouth off at each other as they engage in every possible form of a pissing contest against each other. Of course, they learn the value of team work and all that at the end, when they (predictably) have to work together to take down the big bad of the film, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), but the film still manages to work in a few more clashes after that.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

The excellent fight sequences also help to establish that Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are in a class of their own, since there's virtually nobody who can defeat them. They mow down hordes of cannon fodder in delightful, creative and genuinely interesting ways — which is really the most fun aspect of the film. They also engage in ludicrously extreme stunts, like jumping down buildings and escaping collapsing enemy bases, but none of this really compares to the many brawls we see.

This being a Fast & Furious film, you'd expect to see some mad car action — but since Hobbs and Shaw aren't really known for their driving prowess, the vehicle sequences would be muted, right? There aren't as many as other films in the franchise (this is a spinoff, after all), but the film makes up for it with a ridiculously over-the-top vehicular stunt in the third act, which manages to toe the fine line between comedy and excitement.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

Surprisingly, the supporting characters of the film serve to enhance the film's comedy. Ryan Reynolds is also wonderful as the wisecracking Lock, and injects a different sort of flavour into the film — taking us away from the brainless machismo that might get a little repetitive at times. Kevin Hart trades in his usual screamy antics for a more measured performance (thank goodness!) as the approval-seeking Dickley, which works well given that he's in the presence of two fellows who could trounce him several times over.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

But even though the action keeps the energy of the film up all the way, it still feels overly long. Nothing feels belaboured, but some segments feel wholly unnecessary (and inserted, perhaps, at the request of the leads). In fact, it feels like the third act could have been excised and its big climactic confrontation shifted to the action sequence at the end of the second act, since it felt like the film was going to end there.

PHOTO: United International Pictures

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is mindless fun, in the best way possible. But that's the whole point of watching a Fast & Furious movie — to leave your brain at the door and check out as you watch the bombastic hijinks of larger-than-life characters. It runs much longer than it should for an action film, though.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch it more than once? No.

Score: 3.8/5

Secret ending? Multiple mid-credits scenes, as well as a post-credits scene.

Running time: 135 min

PHOTO: United International Pictures

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is directed by David Leitch and written by Chris Morgan, with additional screenplay credits for Drew Pearce. It stars Dwayne Johnson (Luke Hobbs), Jason Statham (Deckard Shaw), Idris Elba (Brixton Lore), Vanessa Kirby (Hattie Shaw), Helen Mirren (Magdalene Shaw), Ryan Reynolds (Lock), Eiza González (Madam M), and Kevin Hart (Dickley). It is rated PG-13.

Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw is out in cinemas:
- 1 Aug, 2019 (Singapore)
- 31 July, 2019 (Philippines)

PHOTO: United International Pictures

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PHOTO: United International Pictures

Marcus Goh is a television scriptwriter who writes for “Crimewatch”, as well as popular shows like “Lion Mums”, “Code of Law”, “Incredible Tales”, and “Police & Thief”. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. You can find him on social media as Optimarcus and on his site. The views expressed are his own.

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