Directed By: David Leitch
Release Date: August 2, 2019
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba
I have a strange fascination with the Fast and Furious franchise. Though the franchise has been a mainstay on the big screen ever since 2001, popping a new film out every couple of years, I'd never been interested in them. It wasn't until the release of 2015's Furious 7 that I finally gave the series a chance, mainly out of curiosity as to how the film – and the franchise – was going to work around the death of Paul Walker during production.
I dutifully binged the previous six films in the series, finding that the ones I enjoyed most – 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift – were also generally regarded as the worst entries in the series. Regardless, though I didn't come to love the franchise overall, I was taken by their eccentric charm. This series has only gotten bigger and stranger over the years; what started out as a film about a cop investigating a gang of street-racing criminals has since blossomed into a globe-trotting adventure series where its characters have essentially become physics-defying superheroes called upon to save the world from cyberterrorists. On the surface, it's absolutely insane, and yet this series remains held together by the simple fact it's oddly amiable and thoroughly unapologetic about what it is.
It's become a billion-dollar franchise, and it's clear that Universal has no plans to let this series go anytime soon, especially with ninth and tenth entries in the mainline series in the works. With the release of Hobbs & Shaw, a spin-off built on the foundation of the chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham on display in 2017's The Fate of the Furious, Universal is dipping its toe into the type of expansive storytelling that has given the Marvel Cinematic Universe such success. (And the very public bad blood between Johnson and his former cast members like Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson most certainly has something to do with this film's existence as well in order to keep the ever-popular Johnson in the franchise yet away from the rest of the now-fractured "Fast family.")
The new spin-off sees Johnson's Luke Hobbs and Statham's Deckard Shaw coming together to find Shaw's sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who has gone on the run after injecting herself with a dangerous virus to keep it out of the hands of Brixton Lore (Idris Elba, wasted in yet another blockbuster franchise). Brixton, a former ally of Shaw's who has been brought back from the dead by a shadowy organization named Eteon and enhanced with a whole host of cybernetics, will do whatever it takes to retrieve the virus and unleash it upon the world, and it's up to Hobbs and Shaw to put aside their differences and come together to stop him.
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