Hitting the road (again)

11 August 2019 | Art and Entertainment

Over the course of eight films, the Fast & Furious franchise has delivered moments of such jaw-dropping ridiculousness, the makers had to know they needed more than just crazy stunts to justify the Hobbs & Shaw spin-off.

Don't get us wrong, this movie is crammed with crazy, ridiculous stunts (a motorbike practically flies into the top of a double decker bus; a mid-air chopper is tethered to a string of cars while navigating the edge of a cliff), but the film leans just as heavily on the sheer charisma and the winning chemistry of its leading men.

Reprising their roles from the original franchise, Dwayne Johnson plays Luke Hobbs, a former federal agent, and Jason Statham is Deckard Shaw, a British soldier turned mercenary. You might remember they fought on opposite sides in the last film, and, while they still don't particularly like each other, they reluctantly join forces this time to save the world.

The film's villain is Brixton, a cyber-genetically enhanced soldier, played by Idris Elba, who calls himself Black Superman, although as the film progresses he becomes more machine than man. Brixton has been ordered to recover a deadly virus that could wipe out half of humanity, but it's just his luck that rogue MI6 agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) has injected it into her body.

The plot, expectedly, is preposterous, but it's good to see the actors having fun with it. Johnson and Statham alternate the blows and punches with name-calling and banter. While there's no question they can pull off even elaborate action scenes with ease, their sharp comic timing is a surprise reward. I especially enjoyed a scene in which Statham single-handedly vanquishes a corridor full of bad guys even as Johnson looks on pretending to be unimpressed.

Hobbs & Shaw is pure popcorn entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less. It's a tad long at 2 hours and 15 minutes, but its winning cocktail of action and comedy, and the screen-burning appeal of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham seldom leaves you bored. – news18.com

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