Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw – The Essential Late Summer Popcorn Flick

I am not going to lie and say that “Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw” is a gorgeous slice of cinema, but it is a pretty darn fun popcorn flick with plenty of over-the-top action set pieces, lively comedic chemistry between Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw, and a killer soundtrack and original score from Tyler Bates.

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Sure, it is about 20 minutes too long, struggles to find its grip with pacing, blandly develops half-baked dramatic plot beats and character moments, and does not make a lot of logical sense. Still, this is a movie that lives and dies by its action, and fortunately enough, there is no shortage in that arena. With a creative team that has worked on the likes of “Deadpool 2,” “John Wick,” and “Atomic Blonde,” you probably know exactly what you are getting into. The stunt team, visual effects groups, and practical effects crew go all in, disregarding physics and the laws of nature, placing the focus on spectacle and entertainment. Some of these sequences grow a bit overwhelming, occasionally venturing into the realm of mindless cacophony, but you still get a bang for your buck when it comes down to it.

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The addition of Vanessa Kirby as the incredibly capable and vigorously independent Hattie Shaw is certainly a high point, as is the inclusion of Idris Elba’s villainous, cybernetically-enhanced Brixton (or, as he dubs himself, “Black Superman”). There are also a couple of marvelous celebrity cameos, potentially opening the door for new storylines and adventures with these characters in future installments from the franchise.

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The Fast and Furious movies are not exactly winning over any critics who find their lack of artistry distasteful, but they keep giving devoted fans of the franchise more adrenaline rushes and moments of exhilaration, which is really all that has ever been requested. As long as they stick with this formula, finding new methods to up the ante of action-packed ridiculousness and absurdity, we are going to keep getting these films. And hey, even if these movies do not work for everybody, who can blame the filmmakers for capitalizing on good business?

Grade: B-

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*CREDITS*

DIRECTOR: DAVID LEITCH

WRITERS: CHRIS MORGAN AND DREW PEARCE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: DANY GARCIA, KELLY McCORMICK, ETHAN SMITH, AINSLEY DAVIES, STEVEN CHASMAN

PRODUCERS: DWAYNE JOHNSON p.g.a., JASON STATHAM, CHRIS MORGAN p.g.a., HIRAM GARCIA p.g.a.

STARRING: DWAYNE JOHNSON, JASON STATHAM, IDRIS ELBA, VANESSA KIRBY, CLIFF CURTIS, AND HELEN MIRREN

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Chris Morgan, Writer/Producer, Kelly McCormick, Executive Producer, and David Leitch, Director, seen at Universal Pictures World Premiere of FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, CA on Saturday, July 13th, 2019. (COURTESY OF ERIC CHARBONNEAU AND UNIVERSAL)

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