Film: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, Eddie Marsan, Clif Curtis, Kevin Hart
Director: David Leitch
Rating: * * * and a half
No, Calvin and Hobbs the titular heroes are decidedly not, although what they have in common with the small boy and the stuffed tiger doll named after a theologian and a philosopher is cynicism and bravery in the person of a lawless ex British military operative and a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service who ultimately wind up being fast friends.
It’s an interesting conjunction of two sworn foes from 2017’s Fate of the Furious, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). And while this spin-off from Vin Diesel’s money spinning franchise comes nowhere near say... Fast 5, the film written by co-producer Chris Morgan, comes saturated with adrenaline fuelled action, wry humour and above all, Diesel's much-loved themes of team work and “family”.
That central theme is underlined full throttle in the last long drawn out sequence set in Hobbs/Johnson’s beautiful native place, Samoa to which the narrative hurtles from Los Angeles, London and Ukraine in developments that demand the suspension of disbelief.
In Samoa, the titular duo is united (at last!) by estranged loved ones: Hobbs’ large family and Shaw's feisty kid sister Hattie, an MI6 agent who is the object of the nefarious attentions of a formidable villain, the cyber-genetically enhanced (aka robotic-human) Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) whose mission is to employ a deadly virus to first, wipe out “the weaker sections of humankind.”
But what’s a little genocide when power and deception can be wielded by the depraved mind calling the shots with help from sections of media peddling planted stories? Doubtless, we will see more of this shadowy Machiavelli in sequels that must surely follow this frenetically paced, predictable and thrilling sci -fi/fantasy action adventure which is rendered all the more enjoyable with the cameos played by a couple of A listers.