Hobbs & Shaw review “Unashamedly ludicrous”


Hobbs & Shaw posterPart of this post is sponsored by 4DX Cinemas. The Fast & Furious franchise has carved itself quite the enviable niche over the course of its nine-film run. Starting out as little more than a load of pretty people racing pretty cars around pretty locations, the series has evolved into a well-connected universe that is frankly, absolutely ludicrous.

Two of those big names, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham were true highlights in the two previous instalments in the series, both of which crossed the coveted $1billion mark at the global box office and with spin-offs being the order of the day, a Hobbs & Shaw solo film was greenlit.

David Leitch who made his directorial debut with John Wick and then followed up with Atomic Blonde and a decent sequel to Deadpool was drafted in to make this film as bonkers as anything he’s created before. But what is the finished product like?

Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo has swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (Vanessa Kirby), these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring him down.

The action is filmed with typical aplomb by Leitch, who has more than proved himself behind the camera. His trademark filming style which he brought to the table in John Wickis evident here and it fits the Fast & Furious formula well. It’s frenetic and nicely executed without the need for unnecessary shaky cam, though that doesn’t mean shaky cam isn’t present. While the special effects look a bit dodgy at times (a by-product of constantly pushing the boundaries of CGI), the locations are shot beautifully with Samoa making its debut in the series towards the film’s finale.

Hobbs and Shaw still

© Universal

Speaking of that finale, it’s absolutely ridiculous. While each Fast & Furious movie tries to outdo the last, one thing that was refreshing was that each of the set pieces felt like it could actually be done – not by us mere mortals of course, but completed nonetheless.

Here, the series pushes itself too far and creates something entirely unbelievable. We know The Rock is as strong as they come, but holding onto a helicopter with one hand? Come off it guys, we’re not idiots.

The script clearly features a lot of improvisation and the sparring between Johnson and Statham is hilarious at times

It’s also exhausting to watch. At 2 hours 15 minutes, Hobbs & Shaw tries to pack far too much into its runtime. We’ve got origins stories, flashbacks, multiple car chases, globetrotting, character introductions, exposition and a whole lot more and by the time the end credits role, you feel as though you’ve been sat for hours.

Thankfully though, the cast is a real highlight. Johnson and Statham both have great chemistry with each other and while Elba is a particularly generic villain, he brings the acting chops to make him at least slightly memorable. Vanessa Kirby too is good and holds up against the two lead stars admirably.

It’s also very funny. The script clearly features a lot of improvisation and the sparring between Johnson and Statham is hilarious at times. It feels almost Marvel-esque in its humour delivery and that’s no bad thing. There are some nice cameos from other high-profile actors too which I won’t reveal here if you’re going in without reading any spoilers.

Overall, Hobbs & Shaw is a fun entry into the ever-growing Fast & Furious canon. While not rivalling the likes of Furious 7 or The Fate of the Furious in topping the series, it’s enough of a distraction for a couple of hours with some great set-pieces and humour. Where can they go from here? Well, most of us asked that question after Fast Five but they’ve managed it and the ending of Hobbs & Shaw certainly sets itself up for yet another instalment in this ever-popular franchise.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The 4DX Cinema Experience

After arriving at the 4DX cinema in Castleford, you’re greeted by an incredibly steep row of seats, each providing enough room to get comfortable and without being on-top of the strangers next to you.

Getting used to your new surroundings may take a little time as you adjust to resting your feet on a dedicated footrest rather than the floor, but once you’re settled in for the ride, it remains a comfortable place to be.

Tickets are reasonably priced for what is an experience rather than just sitting in the cinema watching a film and once your chosen film begins, your senses are brought to life with an array of different techniques. Hobbs & Shaw in particular utilised the motion seats more so than any other film I’ve seen in 4DX.

Car chases are given a whole new depth as your seats move with the vehicles on screen. Gravel being kicked up by the wheels is dispense by tiny brushes at the base of the seats that move towards the back of your legs and stormy weather conditions shower the auditorium in rain. Thankfully, for those who don’t fancy getting wet, this is an optional feature that you can turn off from the comfort of your seat.

As the film neared its climax, the cinema was filled with dense fog, symbolising the ever-changing weather conditions shown on screen with strobe lights being used for added effect.

The only feature not to be used in Hobbs & Shaw 4DX was the smell function which is a shame, though we’re not sure how much burning rubber you’d want to smell during your time at the cinema.

Overall, Hobbs & Shaw in 4DX was like being on a rollercoaster for 2 hours. For those looking for added depth to their cinema-viewing experiences, it really cannot be beaten. Book your tickets for 4DX Cinemas and see where the nearest one is to your location.

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