A ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ (2019) Review; High octane action, bland and generic plot

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I mean, who’d have thought a simple 2001 action adventure movie about a bunch of people street racing would have gone on to inspire seven sequels and a spin-off in a time spanning almost 20 years? Well, that’s the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise for you; a $5 billion-grossing franchise and counting. Universal Studios deciding to go the ‘buddy cop’ route with the franchise was a logical step, I believe. They’ve made so much money anyway so why not experiment on something new and put two of the most iconic action movie stars of our generation in the lead roles to sell the movie? In essence, that’s pretty much what they are doing here, selling the capabilities of two proven action film icons in Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham based on the foundation that the two had established with their characters in previous ‘Fast & Furious’ movies.

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Hobbs & Shaw) is a 2019 American action film directed by David Leitch and written by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce. Starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham as Hobbs and Shaw respectively, the film follows the unlikely allies as they are forced to team up against a greater foe who is threatening to release a massively dangerous virus to the world.

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Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are the saving grace of this film; they have great chemistry and can work both the comedy and fight sequences very well. Personally, I wasn’t as impressed by their banter dialogue (which was overdone to a considerable extent) but 90% of the audience members in the theatre I was in absolutely loved it so it’s either my sense of humour is slowly fading away or we just weren’t on the same page in that respect.

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The dynamic of the two characters that had been set-up in Fast 7 & 8 considerably helped in making the ‘buddy cop’ feel all the more authentic and satisfactory for a typical viewer and I appreciate that. Also, even though not entirely, I do appreciate the efforts that the writers put in with Hobbs and Shaw by presenting never-before-seen aspects of their lives that make them more of relatable characters. Despite all their heroics, they do have struggles (mostly family related) and I was drawn to that.

Director David Leitch‘s background in stunt performing and stunt coordinating really shows in this movie through his direction with the high octane action sequences that are shot from exceptional angles with not so many cuts in between them. That said, his direction really disappoints in other areas. Basically, if this film was the Titanic and was always destined to sink from a critical perspective, then Leitch would be Captain Smith; I hope you get the analogy. In all seriousness though, this film is bereft of a cohesive narrative that is worth investing in; it’s just action sequence after action sequence with brushed-over character development, bland dialogue and okay playful banter in between.

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Speaking of character development, Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) and Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) are very poorly developed characters, the latter more so. Admittedly, I am a big fan of Idris Elba but not even his above-par acting could save his weak villain character who lacks substantial motivations that an audience member can be convinced by, at least that I can. WWE fans will probably be looking forward to seeing this movie because a certain Roman Reigns is in it. Well, I would’t want to burst their bubbles by revealing that the wrestler is barely in the film and barely has any dialogue nonetheless, it is what it is.

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In conclusion, I’d recommend you see this movie only if you go into it as a fan of superb action sequences and okay banter dialogue. Every other element of the Hobbs and Shaw movie ins’t really enough or is substantially lacking in my view. The flick is probably going to make $700 Million plus at the Box Office majorly because it is tied to one of the most financially successful film franchises of all time. All the same, that doesn’t mean it’s a  good enough film but hey, that’s just me!

GRADE; C+

-Thomas Kitinya

(Imagery courtesy of Universal Studios)

4 Responses

  1. Great review as normal. To be fair, if I was going to watch any movie with the Rock and Jason in it, I wouldn’t be expecting anything bar great action and a comedy element to it. It’s their winning formula and it generally works.

    Liked by 1 person

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