Not normally a film I would regularly consider watching, I gave this Fast & Furious spin-off movie a chance. It is directed by David Leitch, who has worked on a vast amount of films in lots of various guises, but up to 2019 only has 7 credits as a director – thankfully for me though, amongst those films are at least a handful I absolutely love, such as “John Wick” (2014) which he co-directed, “Atomic Blonde” (2017) and “Deadpool 2” (2018). With that in mind I was curious how this film would be delivered and if I would enjoy it.
BRIEF PLOT: A virus is soon to be released on the world by a genetically altered terrorist. Two conflicting specialists must form an unlikely alliance if they intend to stop the terrorist and save the world.
DETAILED PLOT: DSS agent Luke Hobbs is recruited by the CIA to stop the Snowflake virus which has apparently been stolen by Hattie Shaw, a rogue MI6 agent. Meanwhile Deckard Shaw is also recruited by the CIA to do the same thing. Both men have a past and both men would rather not work together, but they both also know how dangerous the virus could be in the wrong hands – and as it happens, those hands happen to be Shaw’s sister. Although it seems she has stolen the virus and is on the run, in reality she is protecting the world from a terrorist who wants the virus in order to use it against the world. Brixton Lore is working for Eteon, who have given him cybernetic enhancements to make him a formidable force. Individually Hobbs and Shaw do not stand a chance, but together, with each other and their family and friends, they might just stand a chance to save the world.
Film Stuff: With a budget of $200 million this was always going to be an over-the-top blockbuster action film and it certainly was grossing over $760 million globally. With a runtime of 137 minutes there is a lot of ‘bang for your buck’ as it is action and mayhem galore. If you enjoy fast cars, fights, action, loud music and some tongue-in-cheek humour, then this film is definitely one for you. The cast are all top class and do a really good job. The plot isn’t anything dramatically new and has been done hundreds of times before in other movies, but that doesn’t matter when the action is slick, and the aesthetics are cool. There is a lot of CGI and visual effects in the film, which accounts for a lot of the budget, but they generally work. At times they look a little unrealistic – but then I put that down to the film type, and the (“Fast and the Furious”) franchise this movie comes from – they are all generally a little unrealistic and gravity defying. Visual effects come courtesy of DNEG, Cantina Creative, The Third Floor, RISE FX, and Framestore. Music in the film was composed by Tyler Bates who has worked with director David Leitch before – this is the 4th collaboration. Bates has an impressive CV of work when it comes to creating film soundtracks, he has worked on some of my favourites (“The Devil’s Rejects” (2005), “Watchmen” (2009), “Sucker Punch” (2011), and “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) to name only a few), and the score and soundtrack he adds to this film absolutely works and complements the on-screen antics. Cinematography is by Jonathan Sela who has also worked with Leitch before and makes a lovely vision of parts of the film, particularly the scenes which are created in Hawaii (to represent Samoa). There is a good pace to the film thanks to editing by award winner Christopher Rouse, and the film never seems to drag despite being over 2 hours in duration.
Cast: This film really does have a stellar cast of who’s who currently in Hollywood. Just when you aren’t expecting it another top celebrity pops up to titillate the audience further. So while the main players in the film are Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba and Vanessa Kirby; you can also expect to see Helen Mirren, Kevin Hart, Ryan Reynolds, Rob Delaney, and Joe Anoa’I (WWE wrestler Roman Reigns).
Johnson is great and while he portrays a hard-knocks lawman, he’s never too far away from being emotionally in-touch with himself for the sake of his family and his daughter. Likewise, Statham, while he appears as grouchy and stand-offish, the development of his character shows justification for why he’s like that. Both Statham and Johnson’s characters present them the way that they have been presented in other films so if you have seen them before you won’t be too surprised at all and you can instantly pick up with them without the need to understand them too much. Vanessa Kirby is great as Hattie; she acts almost as the older and wiser sibling that stands in-between Hobbs and Shaw constantly squabbling. Equally great in the film is Idris Elba who makes a menacing, but still very cool, enhanced super-terrorist. It’s great to see Elba in big films these days because he manages to command so much attention when he’s on-screen, and in this film it’s no different. Despite the prowess of Johnson and Statham, Elba is never shown up.
Wrap up: I thought that I would dislike this film. I have seen some of the Fast and Furious films and expected this to be similar. On both counts I was wrong. This is a good Hollywood blockbuster that brings plenty of high-octane action and entertainment, while allowing you to leave your brain at the door. Sure, there I things I did not like – some of the CGI for example, particularly Elba’s futuristic motorbike, but I was able to forgive it and put that dislike to one side. It is more of an action film than other Fast and Furious films and used vehicles to a lesser degree, but for fans of that franchise you can still find some motor-vehicle fun and carnage. As a Saturday night film with a beer and a pizza you cannot actually go wrong with this film. It’s not a masterpiece of cinema, I doubt it will win a bucket load of awards, accolades or cult status – but it a decent film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it has a heart and a conscience, it’s littered with famous cameos, it has plenty of modern cultural references and nods, and it thrives on bring over-the-top to life for it’s audiences. With it’s 12 rating there is some violence and some swearing, but nothing that your average 12 year old has seen in countless other films, so feel free to watch this with teenagers as well as more mature kids in the 40’s and 50’s 😀