By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

DSS federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and former MI6 turned mercenary Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) are back, but this time without the friends and associates of the Fast & Furious franchise. F&F producers have decided to give these breakout characters an adventure of their own, full of the expected intense action and high speed thrills. What it all amounts to is a fun and exciting “buddy” movie, but a formulaic one at that. Still, even though Hobbs & Shaw might lack originality, it still makes for an amusing serving of popcorn cinema.

Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw power through their usual lives, kicking ass and taking names. Meanwhile, Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), an MI6 agent, has gotten herself into a very harrowing situation. While attempting to prevent the acquisition of a biological weapon by a high tech terrorist group called Eteon, Hattie’s mission goes south in a major way. Having lost most of her team Hattie desperately smuggles the virus in her own body and manages to get away.

Eteon uses all of their technology and connections to smear the reputation of Hattie Shaw by pinning the attack on her. The C.I.A. then turns to both Hobbs and Shaw to apprehend Hattie before it is too late. The once antagonistic foes must put all their differences aside to help Hattie before she gets captured by Eteon’s super-agent Brixton Lore (Idris Elba)

Written by Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce and directed by David Leitch, Hobbs & Shaw is a blast to enjoy, but does tread some familiar territory and doesn’t quite match the level of excitement and coolness that make other Fast & Furious movies great. The story does unnecessarily jump all over the place and runs unnecessarily long. The relationship between the lead characters offers audiences nothing new or fresh, relying on the charisma and comic timing of the actors.

And even though the film does feature some great action sequences and fight choreography, it is the cast members which really help keep this bucket of bolts movie flying. Dwayne Johnson is once again great in the role of Luke Hobbs, a massive, muscle bound badass with a charming personality and a talent for getting under the skin of partner Deckard Shaw. As Shaw, Jason Statham brings his droll sense of wit and comic timing to his own brand of badass, equally capable of ruffling Hobb’s feathers. Vanessa Kirby takes a no-nonsense approach and gives Hattie Shaw the sexy toughness that her character needs. Idris Elba makes a wonderful and highly enjoyable addition to the franchise as the brilliant and technolgically enhanced villain Brixton Lore. Elba is a joy to watch on screen as he is obviously having a great time playing a cool and arrogant bad guy.

And I’m not going to lie; this movie may be at times absurd and ridiculous, but it is all in good fun. Sure, Hobbs & Shaw probably won’t be the most memorable chapter in the Fast & Furious series, but they definitely could’ve done worse. It might not be extraordinary action-comedy, but it will tide fans over until an official F&F movie gets made.

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