Review: Hobbs and Shaw Is Neither Fast nor Furious

Mission Inexcusable

August 2, 2019

So there's this movie called Hobbs and Shaw, and it's sort of a Fast and Furious movie, only it isn't. I really wouldn't know, because I've only seen a couple of Fast and Furious movies and I remember absolutely nothing about them. And when I say absolutely nothing, I mean absolutely nothing. I think they're about people who drive cars really well, but I know that from the posters and the commercials. The movies themselves made no impression on me. I think there have been eight of them. People like David French really enjoy them. This may account for my amnesia. Personally, I like David French, but when I think about his views of movies, I turn into Sohrab Ahmari.

I grant you I'm part of the problem. I'm getting old. It's getting to the point where I remember plot details from 1973 flops I saw when I was 12 (I will be happy to fill you in on The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox if you'd like) but I couldn’t tell you a thing about The Secret Life of Pets 2, to which I took my 9-year-old one month ago. Yes, I fell asleep, but I did see most of the first hour. I should be able to tell you about it. So here goes: It's about pets. And it's a sequel to a cartoon about pets. I saw that first one too. The only thing I remember about it is that Louis CK did the main voice.

Guess what. He didn't do the main voice for #2.

The thing is, Hobbs and Shaw isn't really a Fast and Furious movie, because cars only play a part in it at the end. For the rest of the running time, it's a spy-and-gadget-and-escape movie with a villain that's part human, part robot, and part Cockney. This means you can't kill him and also you can't understand a word he says. Meanwhile, the Shaw of the title is played by Jason Statham, who is also a Cockney and you can't understand a word he says either. That's a problem because he has many lines of dialogue in which he banters with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who plays Hobbs. The banter runs like this:

The Rock: I really hate you.

Jason Statham: There arrrr nah eur neck oive go’ a loverly bunch a cocoanuts.

The Rock: Oh yeah? Well, that goes double for you!

Yes, Hobbs and Shaw hate each other, which of course means they actually love each other, only by the time they figure that out, I really wanted the Cockney robot to rip their voice boxes from their bodies so that neither would ever speak again. I guess we learned why they hated each other and loved each other in some Fast and Furious movie, but if that was one of the ones I saw, you know it: I got nothing. Gornischt in the memory department, people!

Hobbs and Shaw are thrown together to hunt a missing virus in the most delightful manner—or at least that's what we are supposed to feel because an unexpected Ryan Reynolds shows up to play a CIA man who recruits The Rock to hunt the Cockney robot. These two also banter, and I am sad to report that this time you can hear all of it, and it goes like this:

Ryan: We're best friends.

Rock: No, we're not.

Ryan: But I have a friendship necklace.

Rock: I don't like you.

Ryan: Yes, you do.

Ha, ha! What hilarious dialogue! It's like Oscar Wilde if Oscar Wilde had had a lobotomy!

Hobbs and Shaw is less a Fast and Furious movie (I think) than it is a partial remake of last summer's Mission Impossible: Fallout—only with a bad script, bad direction, and bad acting. It has a running chase scene in London inferior to the one in Fallout, an inferior car chase scene (in London here; in Paris, thrillingly, in Fallout), and an inferior climax in which the fate of the world also involves a crippled helicopter and an exotic cliff in a faraway land. It also has Vanessa Kirby, who played the slinky blonde triple agent in Fallout, playing a slinky triple agent here too—but she was better in the first one. Aside from all these objections, Hobbs and Shaw has a lot in common with Fallout—the way a root canal has a lot in common with a baby's laugh.

So by all means see Hobbs and Shaw. It's awful, but what the hell—if you're like me, you won't remember a thing about it tomorrow.

Published under: Movie Reviews