I have never seen a film in the Fast & Furious franchise so approached the latest release, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, with fresh eyes. I’ve certainly managed to absorb via pop culture osmosis the gist of the series’ evolution and the saturated play of the trailer all spring, certainly got me curious. So, kudos to the trailer’s editor.
While the premise behind the series does little for me, I enjoy a good buddy film and my understanding is that stars Dwayne Johnson and Jason Stratham had such different approaches to acting that I was curious to see how well they played together.
This is what we used to call a popcorn film: just enough plot to tie the action sequences together, appealing cast, and lots of things going boom. On those terms, the film works wonderfully and it is rather entertaining.
Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) is an MI6 agent now carrying the deadly CT17 “Snowflake” virus in her bloodstream and becomes the target of the cybernetically enhanced self-proclaimed “Black Superman” Brixton Lore (Idris Elba). When she’s framed for crimes, rivals DSS Agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), whose sister is in trouble, are tasked with recovering the woman. As one expects from the franchise and Johnson, there are heavy doses of humor leavening the by the numbers plot, making this a cut above the usual.
Whilke the action set pieces beggar the imagination, the fun shifts gears into fresher territory when Hobbs brings the fight home. We shift the action to Samoa where we see him reconnect with his brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis), paralleling Shaw’s own sibling issues. And if you have the Shaw siblings, you can bet their mother, Magdalene (Hellen Mirren), won’t be far behind. So right there, Elba and Mirren have me hooked.
There are enough connections to the previous films and threads for the next one, already in production, to satisfy the series’ legion of fans. Me, I can take it or leave it; it all comes down to how compelling the next trailer is.
The film, out now from Universal Home Entertainment, is available in the usual assortment of formats including the tried and true Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD combo pack. The 1080p high definition transfer is excellent so you won’t miss a single flame or grain of sand. You may marvel at the Rock’s pecs or Elba’s high-tech gear thanks to the crisp visuals. The Atmos soundtrack does a fine job making things pop.
The Blu-ray comes packed with above average Special Features for the diehard fan. We start with an Alternate Opening (10:14); Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes (34:29), only some of which is missed from the feature; Johnson & Statham: Hobbs & Shaw (3:38); Progress of a Fight Scene with Director David Leitch (4:57); Practical Action (3:43), all about the fighting choreography; The Bad Guy (2:00); The Sister (3:58); Hobbs’ Family Tree (3:20); The Matriarch (1:35); New Friends (2:01), Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart cameo; Elevator Action (1:59); Stunt Show and Tell (3:41); Keeping it in the Family: A Conversation with Roman and Dwayne (5:02); Blind Fury (1:50) ; Dwayne and Hobbs: Love at First Bite (1:36); and finally, Audio Commentary from director David Leitch.