★★★★ | FAST & FURIOUS : HOBBS & SHAW
Nutshell – Two huge gay icons get their own spin-off (sort of) from the mega Successful F&F franchise. The cop and villain from the last four movies Misters Johnson & Statham have to chase the latest MacGuffin world killing virus through London, Russia and The South Seas in the biggest stunts of the year.
Incredible action, but with these two highly likeable stars you get so much comedy to balance it out often aimed at The Stath’s height or The Rocks muscles and everything is a fun competition between these two even bashing heads.
Running Time – 137 Minutes – Cert PG-12A.
Tagline – ‘One is fast & the other is Furious but there is a new protagonist in town’
The Gay UK Factor – With two of the fittest men in movies together for their own extended films this is a gay guy into muscle’s wet dream and the film they have been waiting for all year.
The eternal mano et-mano posturing throughout here is reminiscent of every bit of gym or locker room banter you have ever heard and they do everything together except fuck. The Rock even goes shirtless for an extended Haka scene and the Stath jokes about him losing his baby oil…
It could not get any queerer if the stars of Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody and Mamma Mia turned up for a lip-sync battle mid car chase.
Idris Elba also goes shirtless too more than once as do many of the hot macho henchmen.
Cast – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba on bad guy duties & Vanessa Kirby as the female lead and then we have a new thing in F&F land endless cameos from Helen Mirren, Rob Delaney, Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds, etc etc.
Key Player – This is the perfect double act. The producers saw the chemistry between these two guys in The Fast & The Furious and greenlit this new strand especially as The Rock and Vin Diesel were at loggerheads constantly so a new direction was needed. They are both the ultimate believable action heroes rather than say short arse Tom cruise who both have perfect comic timing that would get them a slot on Live At The Apollo any day of the week.
Budget – $200 Million and it is all up there on the screen with one massive gravity-defying set piece after another. Worldwide Box office for the first week was 180 Mil and that was without the lucrative Chinese market where this series really cleans up. This is a box office bonus bonanza for Universal Studios being their 5th biggest opening of all time (And most of them are previous entries in this saga) it is also the biggest opening ever of both these two megastars.
Best Bit – 1.16 mins; There is a tremendous car/bike chase through the busy packed streets of London’s Square mile early on but all the best bits come from the one-liners and they peak in a tremendous corridor fight scene where the stars wordplay hugely tops the great martial arts action with the endless gun-toting goons.
Worst Bit – 0.28 mins; Jason Statham is 52 years old whilst Vanessa Kirby is 31yo but looks 10 years younger and here we are supposed to believe that they are brother and Sister & that she is an unstoppable fighting machine. It requires more suspension of disbelief and the strangest casting since a tank top wearing Denise Richards was cast as Dr Christmas Jones ‘a nuclear expert’ in James Bond’s The World Is Nor Enough.
Little Secret – With the exception of the tropical climax and the studio scenes this film is shot entirely on location in the UK from Glasgow to The City Of London via High Wycombe and part of the fun is spotting the many locations you may know well… even the supposed many Russian set scenes are filmed across our fair isle.
When this was greenlit it so annoyed Vin Diesel that he cut some of Johnson’s scenes in the last F&F film as he was exec producer and then failed to turn up for a days work leaving over 1,000 crew members idle. Idris Elba refused to say a scripted line for his character, calling himself “the black James Bond”. He instead used the phrase “black Superman” not to look too needy that he wanted the 007 job.
Further Viewing – Fast & Furious 1-8, Need For Speed, The Cannonball Run, All Mission Impossibles, Spy, I Spy, and any mismatched buddy film from The Lethal Weapons to The Rush Hours, Bad Boys, Midnight Run & The 48 Hours movies not Wild Wild West though or anything with the words Jay & Silent Bob in them..
Any Good – You know what you are getting here and there are no surprises but what you do get is another great chapter if you like this sort of thing and it seems everyone from 11-61yo does judging by its receipts. The surprise is the humour which really works and gives a great 80’s hit movie feel to it. The action is on par but maybe no real wow moment as in previous chapters but this is still great fun and the long-running time flies by.
Whether this franchise goes down the Hobbs & Shaw route or back to the Vin Diesel ‘It’s all about family’ set-up time will tell but this is now the third longest-running franchise in history just passing Harry Potter and you would not bet on this overtaking Star Wars very soon.