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Yes, The Rock actually lassoes a chopper

2019-08-09 14:45

Grethe Kemp switches off her brain and enjoys the explosive action in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Director: David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba
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There are two types of people in this world – those who love the Fast & Furious franchise, and those who don’t. For most of my life, I fell into the latter category. But lately, I’ve realised that life is silly and all you can do is laugh at it.

Hobbs & Shaw, the Fast & Furious spin-off, is a movie which will make you laugh deliciously and uproariously. It’s an unapologetic ode to the finely tuned Hollywood commercial formula: starring three of the industry’s most commercially viable leading men, and absolutely no overt political or social commentary whatsoever.

Switch off brain, watch explosions. It’s a cash machine and fans are going to love every second of it.

In it, US Diplomatic Security Service Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and disgraced UK Special Forces assassin Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) must put their differences aside and team up to retrieve a deadly toxin that threatens the world, hilariously called the Snowflake virus. Interestingly, it is being carried by Deckard’s estranged sister, M16 field agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby).

Kirby, by the by, is probably the most appealing and relatable female action hero I’ve seen in years. A very welcome respite from Michelle Rodriquez, whose tough woman with the emotional range of a plank act, is wearing thin.

Complicating matters is cybergenetically enhanced agent Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), who is on a mission to obtain the virus for a nefarious corporation called Eteon.

Elba appears throughout the film in skin-tight black cybernetic leather and silver-capped bottom teeth, and the women at the media screening I was at approved immensely. I think Hollywood Reporter has labelled him the sexiest villain ever for this role, and they might be on to something.

The first half of the film plays out almost James Bond-esque – with London the primary backdrop for most of the slick action sequences and car race scenes. It feels like a Fast & Furious 2.0, with much of the lower back tattoos and trashiness of the first few iterations removed.

But then all bets are off in the second half. Suddenly, we find ourselves in Samoa, at Hobb’s family home. For some reason this sun-drenched abode is now the base for a final stand-off against the Eteon baddies. All The Rock’s Samoan family are involved and they brandish traditional war spears and do the Haka. No, I’m serious.

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Film makers have become all the more interested in the “tribal aesthetic” since Black Panther came out, and I can just hear producers croon over how much “colour” and “authenticity” the Samoan scenes would bring to the movie.

Anyway, at one point Dwayne lassoes a chopper with a chain and holds it in the air with one arm. I almost choked on my slushie from pure delight.

Hobbs & Shaw is a terrific, borderline camp action that will thoroughly relax you. Buy your popcorn and take the kids. Or just go by yourself, for that matter.

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November 10 2019