It’s incredibly wild to me that a movie that played like the Point Break version of illegal street car racing spawned a successful, and highly entertaining film franchise. And on top of that, it delivered its first spinoff film in 2019 that launched some of the characters into full blown comic book mode.
Fan favourites Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) find themselves paired together (again) in their solo adventure that sees them going after a genetically, and mechanically enhanced villain, Brixton (Idris Elba) who is after a world threatening virus that an MI6 agent, Hattie (Vanessa KIrby) has injected into herself to keep it away from Brixton and the evil company he is working for. She has a connection to Shaw, and a bit of a thing for Hobbs… It’s gonna be a helluva ride.
Hobbs and Shaw despise one another, and find it tough to work together, which leads to some alpha male banter, as well as some solid action sequences. Chris Morgan who has written the majority of the films in the franchise, co-wrote this one, consequently the themes of family run strongly through it – we learn more about Hobbs family, he has a brother (Cliff Curtis!), and the wonderful Helen Mirren (sigh) returns as Shaw’s mother.
In a globetrotting adventure that features a couple of interesting appearances, especially Ryan Reynolds, the film is loud, over the top, and is a long way from street racing on the avenues of Los Angeles.
These films get bigger, wilder, and just ask the audience to go along with it. And this time more than others. There’s a hint at a larger story going on, and an unseen villain orchestrating everything, and the enhanced Brixton, while cool, seems so comic-book inspired (to say nothing of his motorcycle) that he, and the environment of the film, is worlds away from the world of Toretto.
But it’s fun.
And sometimes that’s all you need for your entertainment buck, you don’t want anything deep and meaningful you just want to turn your brain off and enjoy yourself. Don’t attempt to follow the logic (at least this one doesn’t have a tempermental EMP), just sit back and enjoy Johnson, Statham, Kirby, and Elba having a grand old time.
I love seeing Elba in the franchise, even if he is a villain, but the action sequences show that he can more than handle them, and somebody needs to give this guy an acton franchise to lead yesterday!
It’s pretty interesting that I used to detest the first couple of films in the franchise, but the rewatch, and seeing how the universe has been built, film upon film… it’s not the MCU, but for another couple of films, (the series is reportedly coming to its conclusion in a few more instalments) Universal has a bankable tentpole franchise, that is just pure, enjoyable, popcorn entertainment.