Film Title: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Hobbs & Shaw

Fans with moral fortitude knew to boycott 2017’s The Fate of the Furious over the repulsive development that crime lord Deckard Shaw was actually invited to a cookout after becoming a good guy in a convoluted twist – because, of course, there was a free seat at the table because Shaw had killed team member Han Lue back in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, as revealed in Fast & Furious 6.

Everybody really liked Han, damn it. But you don’t have to be familiar with the convoluted history of the Fast and Furious franchise to give this planned spin-off series a shot. It’s slightly less offensive to see Jason Statham’s formerly villainous character signing on for family reasons to take on a genetically-enhanced supervillain. (Dwayne Johnson’s supercop Hobbs, meanwhile, gets recruited by the CIA in his role as a doting dad.)

There’s an alternate universe where Quentin Tarantino fumbled his fame as badly as John Singleton, and this would count as his big summer comeback film – with everyone praising the director for a savvy and swinging epic that plays like a vintage Roger Moore-era Bond epic. Instead, it’s director David Leitch helming an impressive follow-up to Deadpool 2 with a personal vision that avoids being ground up by the F&F machine.

Some fun cameos help to set up an expanded F&F universe, and a few stylish touches elevate H&S to a different category of mindless action. Things aren’t too enlightened, however. The final act is a disastrous detour to Samoa that crams in plenty of dopey moments. This is still a surprisingly strong movie that’s most likely to get the worst reviews from Johnson’s bitter old castmate Tyrese Gibson – who wasn’t wrong when he ranted that this new movie would be “making the Fast and the Furious franchise about” the new guys.