Dwayne Johnson & Jason Statham in …Hobbs and Shaw

Eighteen years after the first film in the Fast and the Furious franchise began, the series has taken a different plan of attack with Hobbs and Shaw.  Instead of giving audiences another film featuring the entire cast of the series, Hobbs and Shaw is a spin-off featuring two characters from the last several Fast and the Furious entries. It’s a decision that was pretty obvious given the prominence of these characters in the last several installments and the good news is that, if you’re a fan of this seemingly indestructible franchise, you’re likely to lap it up like a dog taking to a dish of water on a hot summer day. For those less invested it will come across as a decent diversion and not much else. Like the last several Fast and the Furious entries, it’s the kind of experience that begins to evaporate the moment you leave the theater.

Lawman Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and former outlaw, Shaw (Jason Statham) are obviously the two characters at the center of the film. If you’ll recall, in a former Fast and Furious installment these two characters were pivotal in thwarting the plans of a cyber-terrorist who went by the moniker of Cypher.  They bickered and cracked jokes at each other’s expense with the two men’s machismo usually being the said subject of the insults being hurled at one another.

Hobbs is still ensconced in his job as a secret service agent while Shaw, who seems to have mommy issues, keeps tabs on his imprisoned mother (Helen Mirren). His mom isn’t the only problem as Shaw and his sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), remain estranged.  Hattie, if you’ll recall, is an M16 agent with a considerable degree of hand to hand combat skills. At any rate, Hattie has come into possession of a lethal virus that can destroy life as we know it.

Enter into the picture, Lore (Idris Elba), a former M16 agent killed in a previous installment of the film series who has been brought back as a half robot half human entity of some sort. Of course I don’t have to tell you that he has his sights set on getting his hands on that virus and will stop at nothing to make that happen. Of course it’s up to Hobbs and Shaw to put their heads together and come up with a plan to save the day.

There’s plenty of generic and bloodless PG-13 style violence for less discerning fans and the film is safe enough for kids of a certain age I guess. The film’s biggest sin is the 136 minute run time, which is really too much for a film that only has enough story to fill about 90 minutes of that time. Then again, being succinct is not one of the strengths in the Fast and the Furious franchise.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw is playing everywhere.

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