Directed by David Leitch
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby
Runtime: 137 minutes
I’ll be honest. I was hesitant going into the film. We have a spin-off from a much-loved series but honestly one I’m lukewarm with. The Fast and Furious franchise. That franchise consists of 8 films. I remember the first two vividly and at the time I was young and thought my Ford Thunderbird with neon lights underneath was right up there with the race cars the series highlights. I was wrong. I have watched all the films but over the years they have lost the luster for me. This entry is the first spin-off. We now go on a journey with two “side” characters who go back and forth between being enemies and allies. On a positive note this film is directed by David Leitch (co-directed John Wick) so I did have some hope going in.
Onto the film.
We open with a crew of MI6 agents trying to retrieve a virus known as “Snowflake” (Yes that’s the name of it.) Leading this crew is Mattie Shaw (Kirby) and they are racing against the clock to stop Brixton Lore (Elba) We last saw Elba as another “big-bad” in The Lion King. I will say this he plays a great enemy. This time he has cybernetic implants that make him essentially a human version of the Predator. He can detect what percentage someone has in attacking in, super-strength, the whole deal. I think I have a good imagination but immediately I started to get a bad feeling about this. Mattie Shaw finds the virus and injects herself as a last-ditch effort. This plot device happened spot on with Mission: Impossible 2. It’s a nice way to throw a wrench into things but happened as soon as the film starts, I wasn’t impressed. Would this film pick up anywhere from the slow start?
Mattie Shaw escapes. We then meet our two protagonists/anti-heroes Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) Their opening I enjoyed. We seen them each starting their days in side by side frames and then we see them each starting their own versions of “interrogating” enemies. Lots of punches. Here is where the movie shines. Clearly from John Wick the director knows how to film fight scenes and honestly each fight scene we get in the film is fun. The film gets in its groove (if we want to call it that) whenever Hobbs (Johnson) and Shaw (Statham) must work together. Their chemistry is nice and even if you haven’t seen the previous films you are brought up to speed on their colorful past. Yet again, we see another plot device that’s been used time and time again. How many movies have you watched where two partner up and they hate it each other? Lethal Weapon is a prime example and again it’s not a bad way to portray a film it just feels tired. With the similarities piling up it didn’t feel like a “new” film to me.
We won’t get into anymore plot, what we will be looking at is maybe the biggest attraction for these films. Car chases!!! We get several and given this is a Fast and the Furious franchise it was to be expected. Maybe you’re going into this film knowing things are going to be completely OVER-THE-TOP! If so, go see it. Honestly though, with each car chase, the CGI in some parts looked bad and they get so outlandish I was just shaking my head and not because I was amazed.
The cast here shines, even when the dialogue doesn’t. It was disappointing to have moments of actual humor and then moments of complete cheese. Not the good kind. I knew going in things would be wild on this one. I didn’t expect them to be so out there that it’s hard to suspend disbelief for even two hours. The fight scenes were nice, and I personally thought Vanessa Shaw (Kirby) was the strongest of the characters. We also get a few neat cameos that surprised me and will put a smile on your face, and of course there are mid-credit scenes. All of that to me couldn’t save this film. I know the series will continue and if you love them by all means you do you. I hate to say it though but go see Toy Story 4 again before it leaves theaters. Next week we will get back into the horror genre. 1 ½ stars out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development.He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-981-9158