Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.”
The Movie: “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba
Director: David Leitch
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67 percent
Brown: We’re treading on familiar territory on the JOE-DOWN.
Hell, let’s break out the ol’ Splash Mountain photo, for old time’s sake.
But after our foray into “Furious 7,” we HAD to do “Hobbs & Shaw.” Because everything in the “Fast and Furious” franchise is (REDACTED) bonkers. And we’ll delve into that even more (!!) in the future when we do our “Fast and Furious” Month. Froemming already has the box set ordered!
Now, is “Hobbs and Shaw” bonkers. Of (REDACTED) course it is! But is it good? We’ll talk about it.
While I take my mission orders from Ryan (REDACTED) Reynolds, give us your first take of “Hobbs & Shaw.”
Froemming: I woke up early to catch this at a 9:15 a.m. screening because of our weird hours and the importance to get to this review the film’s opening weekend.
Brown: Yeah, I saw this movie at 11:30 a.m. Friday and like you, was the only one in the theater.
Froemming: I didn’t need the large soda I ordered, because this movie was a Rock Bottom to my brain, thus no need for any caffeine.
And because I had only seen “Furious 7,” I was all sorts of confused as to why Hobbs and Shaw — two men who beat the living bejesus out of one another in that last one — were suddenly on the same side. Though in “Furious 7” I was confused how illegal street racers where suddenly international spies or whatever.
This movie combines the lizard brain idiocy we love here at the JOE-DOWN with the names of philosophers (Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Friedrich Nietzsche) we studied in college as almost a (REDACTED) you to people who call these movies “stupid.” So, in theory I should probably hate this movie. But for some reason, I don’t. Maybe it is because we get plenty of this in the first 20 minutes:
Now brother, let’s crack open some Coronas and talk about how important family is, because that is what this franchise is all about: Cars.
Brown: You got it, Uso.
But wait, were there any Coronas in this movie? I swear I didn’t see a single one. A couple scotches, yes, but no Corona.
Anywho, we start the movie like, well, EVERY ACTION MOVIE EVER, where there is some sort of heist being interrupted by masked gunman. Turns out, it’s MI6 trying to steal a potentially world-ending virus nicknamed the Snowflake from a terrorist cell called Eteon, which, if we’re being honest, their name doesn’t matter.
It’s at this point and posited to Froemming that this movie is conservative propaganda. Because, by this movie’s logic, a snowflake will up and kill all of us. And only a virtual Hulk of a man with the help of firearms and his bulging muscles can stop it.
Froemming: The logic of Eteon is that Snowflake with Make The World Great Again!
Look, I am not going to delve into the right-wing politics of the movies we watch too deeply. I mean, if we did that we’d only discuss how Rambo helped the Taliban in the 1980s which lead to 9/11…
Wait. Never mind.
So we see these spies get attacked by Stringer Bell, or Charles Miner, or whatever he goes by now after fleeing Baltimore by (by our logic) faking his own death then heading to Scranton to go undercover as a manager at a paper company before becoming the Darth T-1000 he is in this movie.
Brown: Yeah, we can skip the subtext here: Idris Elba is a (REDACTED) Terminator in this movie. Yeah, he’s kind of human, but dude gets superhero (or supervillain, in this case) powers via robotic spine? Dude has the sight of the Terminator that determines when/where an attack is coming and whether something is a threat.
All I’m saying is, James Cameron better get a piece of this movie’s box office. And Idris Elba better be in that new “Terminator” movie with Linda Hamilton.
Froemming: George Lucas should too, since Brixton Lore is basically Darth Vader trying to recruit Luke Skywalker in “Return of the Jedi” in this.
So we get some crazy action sequences which leads Hattie Shaw (Deckard’s sister, because family and cars) to inject herself with the Snowflake virus and go into hiding.
At this point, I think it was acceptable that I had no idea what the (REDACTED) was going on. But I quickly learned this was to be the entire two hour experience for me. Because Shaw is a free man, apparently on the good side of the government. Hobbs is somehow more jacked than before, probably from all those raw eggs he drinks. And we see these two opposites are exactly the same because they both have no hair and both have the same morning routine.
This movie is way more entertaining than how it looks on paper.
Brown: Well, Shaw is at least kind of technical and quiet about how he goes about his life as a spy or whatever the hell he is. Hobbs is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Plus, they both like hitting other people in the balls, which is apparently funny to me because I’m on par with “Idiocracy.”
But, there’s more to upholding the law than ruining another man’s ability to procreate. Both men are called into action to try and find the Snowflake.
Shaw, he gets the order from (REDACTED) Rob Delaney. And Hobbs gets the orders from (REDACTED) Ryan Reynolds.
Be honest: You were hoping for the “Fast and Furious”/”Deadpool” crossover as much as I was, Froemming.
Froemming: I don’t know how they missed that opportunity.
Reynolds plays Locke, because I need to be reminded of the founding and fueding philosophies of our nation’s creation. He is cracking wise, showing off his identical breastplate tattoo that The Rock has in real life, and recruits Hobbs into this. Was Locke in the previous movie? I have no idea until my boxset comes, and even then I will not be sure, based on my experience with this franchise.
So they get these two in a room and they realize that they are partnered up. And it leads me to believe they must have had amazing chemistry in the movie prior, but again, I will not know until that stupid set comes in the mail. And even then, that is not a guarantee.
And then we get five minutes of these two ragging on one another like they are a bitter old married couple, which was pretty great. My favorite insult was Shaw saying Hobbs is so ugly it is like God projectile vomiting right into his eyes.
Brown: Like you, my scope of the franchise is pretty limited. However, there’s gonna be bad blood when you have fights like this.
Or, apparently this from one of the movies we haven’t seen.
Hobbs and Shaw don’t want to work together, so Hobbs takes off alone and starts tracking Hattie (who I swear, I never learned her name throughout this movie).
Froemming: I am pretty sure they never say her name.
Brown: Yep, they refer to her as Shaw’s sister because apparently he’s her property.
The “Fast and Furious” franchise: All women are possessions and we’ll introduce EVERY. SINGLE. ONE ass first.
Froemming: Also, Helen (REDACTED) Mirren is in this franchise? I feel like I am on acid describing this movie. All of it sounds made up.
Brown: I should check my mail for a check just in case we had a bit part in this movie!
Hobbs does find Hattie and goes on to layeth the smackdownth on Hobbs’ candy ass!
After all, Hattie is on the run now that Brixton framed Hattie as a traitor and a terrorist for stealing the Snowflake.
Froemming: We sound like Fox News anchors describing this movie.
Brown: Meanwhile, Shaw goes to Hattie’s apartment, finds her array of weaponry and gets ambushed unsuccessfully by Eteon because Jason Statham is a badass.
Froemming: I will say it again: Jason Statham is not a badass. He is just British with a shaved head and has a smoker’s voice. He is more Mott the Hoople roadie than Sly Stallone.
Brown: After their separate scuffles, Hattie is brought into the CIA office… in England (for some reason) and again, Hobbs and Shaw have a quarrel since Shaw is apparently concerned that Hobbs is trying to get with his sister. A. Not property, dude. B. Did Hobbs even know the relation yet or was it revealed in this scene. I don’t quite remember. I think this movie was written by 4chan.
Froemming: I am saying it here and now: If they made Deckard Shaw and Luke Rebecca Hobbs a romantic couple, this would be the greatest movie franchise in history. And that’s the bottom line, because Joe Froemming said so! *cracks two cheap beers and pours over face*
Brown: Really, dude? You’re going to reference Stone Cold Steve Austin and use The (REDACTED) Who to emphasize it?
Stone Cold’s music does the trick SOOO much better.
Froemming: No it doesn’t, it doesn’t at all.
Anyway, at the CIA blacksite in London, as Hobbs is on the phone talking to his daughter about how he isn’t flirting with the lady spy, Hattie sneaks out of her restraints and beats the bejesus out of her guard. Then everyone is, you know….
Brown: Yeah, until T-1000 Elba edition comes through the building and abducts Hattie via rappelling down a building.
And here again, clash of styles. Hobbs jumps out of the building and takes out Brixton’s men one-by-one.
Meanwhile, Shaw takes the elevator and starts gunning down people when he gets to the bottom.
I think this is the second time in the movie these two should be dead. But nope! And hell, let’s have a high-speed chase through the busy streets of London to add more tallies to our potential death chalkboard.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: The “Fast and Furious” cast could absolutely beat The Avengers.
Froemming: Look, when your contract specifically says you can’t lose a fight in these movies, then your character is permanently on God Mode from “Doom” in these films.
Brown: True. And this is a constant thought in my head this entire movie: “This is so (REDACTED) insane/dumb, but it’s so (REDACTED) awesome.”
Froemming: After being launched from his motorcycle through one of those weird ass double-decker buses in London, Idris-1000© remembers Shaw’s face. He should, Shaw shot him in his very own.
Brown: Quick question: Idris-1000, he has the Bat-Cycle from “The Dark Knight,” right? It moves much the same way and I bet Lucius Fox made more than one of those things.
Froemming: Well, maybe he was one of Bane’s henchmen in “The Dark Knight Rises” who stole all that gear from Bruce Wayne’s garage.
And then we see T-Elba1000© have things done to his spine that makes him, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, more machine than man now. What makes him like that? Does he have metal bones like Wolverine? Is his skin synthetic? Are his eyes made of computer chips and plastic?
We don’t know. It is never said. He’s just Vice President T-Idris CheneyElba 1000© in this.
Brown: Dude may as well plug into the matrix and learn kung-fu like Keanu Reeves did. And yeah, this movie’s explanation is Eteon is a company that wants to improve humanity by infusing organic humans with synthetics. Here, I’ll let White Zombie explain it.
Oh, but there is this thing with Eteon where they more or less want to Thanos the world with the Snowflake and kill a chunk of the population so the strong will survive.
And only Conservatism Hobbs and Shaw can stop this potential genocide via Snowflake.
Froemming: I thought killing off the weak so the strong survive was the backbone of Reagan’s America?
Anyway, our gang of friends need to find Professor Andreiko, a Russain scientist, to kill the Snowflake. Wouldn’t be the first time conservatism needed the Russians to win, ammirite?
Low-hanging fruit jokes aside, they find their Russian who informs them that there are two ways to extract or eliminate the Snowflake: Kill Hattie and burn her to cinders, which is the easy one. Or break into Eteon’s blacksite that is heavily armed, find the doodad (technical term) that will suck the things out of her blood and escape said fortified compound.
Brown: Holy (REDACTED). It just dawned on me.
This movie is (REDACTED) “Escape From New York.” Except Snake Plissken is replaced by Hattie Shaw and her early-2000s bleach blonde with dark roots hairstyle. Right down to Hattie having, what, 72 hours before the virus breaks from its capsules, kills her and spreads the virus.
Froemming: Just to keep a tally, this movie owes residuals to:
- James Cameron.
- George Lucas.
- John Carpenter.
- Us for the cameos we had that we were unaware of.
This movie rips off the 1980s blockbusters more than “Stranger Things!”
So, because the Shaw family are alcoholics, the waste precious time slamming Scotch while plotting a half-baked plan to get into Russia, even though Eteon owns ALL the news media and has made Hobbs and Shaw wanted criminals.
I don’t know why, but I am starting to get some seriously vague antisemitism in this movie.
So, Shaw just so happens to have thingamajigs (technical term) that alter their fingerprints, DNA and whatnot, so they can sneak onto planes, what with the post-9/11 world playing fast-and-loose with who and who cannot get onto planes and there not being a single TV in any airport that would alert anyone that these three are wanted terrorists.
Brown: Hey Froemming, don’t forget that Shaw changes Hobbs’ name on the passport to Mike Oxmall!
Froemming: I don’t get it.
Anyway, these three breeze through security, with the minor inconvenience Hobbs has that he just charms his way out of. Then we have Hobbs and Shaw bickering on an airplane like they are Elaine and Puddy from “Seinfeld.”
Brown: And their bickering gets interrupted by (REDACTED) Kevin Hart because, hell, everyone else is making money off this movie.
Turns out that Hart is Dinkley, an air marshal who becomes an ally to Hobbs and Shaw instead of, you know, arresting them for being terrorists that are wanted by, you know, the world.
We’ll get to that later. But first, we need Hobbs, Shaw and Hattie to blow part of Russia up.
And going in, Hattie has a plan: use one of her and her brother’s schemes as children where one person draws attention while the other does the actual job. They called it the Mick Jagger, which I kind of laughed at. I did like how their childhood robbery using a bunch of explosives was called the Keith Moon. Hopefully no one drowned in a pool because of it.
Froemming: Well, that would be a Brian Jones.
Brown: Oh yeah, Moon drove into a pool.
Froemming: Now, they use Shaw’s lady-friend who is an international thief to pull this off by claiming she kidnapped Hattie, thus setting the stage at the heavily armed compound.
You’d think it would be impossible to pull this off. What with all the guards, weapons, security cameras, technology working against them.
I love the Pitch Meeting videos on YouTube.
Brown: Well, Hobbs and Shaw do get captured and tortured via car batteries. So, Froemming, add “Lethal Weapon” to our growing list of things that should get a check from this movie.
While our duo are captured, Brixton tries to convince them to join Eteon, which, of course they won’t. Shaw is paranoid of the group and Hobbs’ brain has been polluted by years of various blows to the head and creatine shakes.
But as they’re focused on Hobbs and Shaw, Hattie and Prof. Andreiko break out a (REDACTED) flamethrower. Here’s a visualization on how this scene plays out.
So go ahead and add “The Simpsons” and Albert Brooks to the list, Froemming.
Froemming: I’ve been to two movies in the last week in the theater, and both had flamethrowers (the other was “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”). I like this track record.
Well, they escape all right. They tell us how they are going to, because we love exposition of what is to come literally a minute before what we see. That is clever writing.
They escape after a huge brawl, but the thingamajig is broken, and the world is now back to looking for them, because it stopped while they went to Russia because the script demanded it. So where can they go now?
Samoa. The birthplace of Hobbs, who we find out has a fractured relationship with his brother that is so bad he never told his own daughter about her uncle OR her grandmother.
Hobbs is a real (REDACTED) parent, isn’t he?
Brown: We knew that when he made a bad sponge bath joke in front of his daughter in “Furious 7.”
Also, this is where the movie went into full BS mode for me.
Froemming: You must not have been paying attention for the entire first hour-and-a-half then.
Brown: Look, up to this point, “Hobbs & Shaw” has been stupid fun. This (for some reason) was the moment where I felt my intelligence was insulted.
Froemming: You must not have been paying attention for the entire first hour-and-a-half then.
Brown: Why, you ask? Because there’s no (REACTED) way Hattie is still alive. You mean to tell me after putting the virus into her hand and being told by the professor she has 72 hours before the capsules dissolve that one can fly to Ukraine to meet a femme fatale that can help, then to Russia to raid a blacksite, then fly to an isolated place like Samoa to have a device repaired AND fight off Eteon in the climax ALL in the span of 72 hours?
Froemming: She also had time to grab a couple of Scotches in there too.
Brown: The world should be having its insides liquefied via Snowflake!
Instead, we got a family to fix and an island to weaponize. AND! A Samoan war dance to learn.
Man, writing it out, this movie is really (REDACTED) stupid.
Froemming: Don’t forget, they have to dig ditches in the road that is never put into play later in the movie, which I just realized now.
So they prepare and await the attack at dawn, which is another bunch of hours wasted regarding Hattie and the Snowflake virus. Also, Hobbs’ brother is not only a great mechanic who restores cars, but can fix the thingamajig full of advanced technology the world has not seen yet. Because, again, the script demanded it.
Why not call the CIA after breaking out of the blacksite? Have their experts fix the thingamajig and have them all hidden away for their own safety? The CIA knows Hobbs and Shaw are innocent, it is just the public at large who thinks they are criminals due to the Eteon-run media framing the story that way. Also, I feel like I just wrote something anti-semetic in that last sentence.
Brown: The ditches have the exploding barrels used later when The Rock reels in a (REDACTED) helicopter with his bare hands. But we’ll get there.
Froemming: Add “Donkey Kong” to the list of things this movie owes residuals to for the exploding barrels.
Brown: So Brixton and an Eteon hitsquad shows up to basically destroy Samoa. Also, there’s no guns on Samoa. But Hattie finds a way to hack Eteon’s weapons so they can get the upper hand.
So, we get a pretty gnarly fight scene with The Rock, Jason Statham, Idris Elba and multi-time WWE champion Roman Reigns, who is The Rock’s real-life cousin.
Only now do the capsules start to dissolve for Hattie, who is starting to feel the effects as she’s taken by Brixton.
Hobbs and Shaw give chase, going so far as to throwing a tow chain onto a helicopter to prevent it from taking off. While Brixton gives chase, they are thwarted by exploding barrels and wooden booby traps. So, let’s add “First Blood” to the royalties list along with Ron Swanson since Samoa apparently protects their island the same way he protects one of his cabins.
Froemming: This was a cool scene, with all the vehicles linking together to weigh things down so the helicopter can’t lift that two-ton vehicle with Hobbs and Shaw. Though I doubt it could anyway because, you know, science and physics, but this franchise gave the middle finger to such ideas long ago, based on the two movies I have seen.
Brown: The way that car link trick worked, we should put “The Human Centipede” on the royalties list.
Froemming: Well, they crash the helicopter, and somehow Hattie is still attached to the thingamajig despite fragile needles from it holding the doodad in her arm. Everyone survives this incredibly lethal crash, only to get up and start kung fu fighting all over again.
With all his technological advances, there is one glaring flaw with the computer-man that is Brixton: What if two people attack him at the same time? Something no antagonist ever thought of in all the action movies we have watched, but our protagonists realized this is a smart idea. And then they beat the crap out of Mr. Robot.
Brown: Hobbs and Shaw’s plan works perfectly. Jack Black can explain it properly.
And because Brixton is losing a fight (note: he hasn’t lost yet), Brixton is shut down by Eteon and he keels over and falls to his death in the waves of Samoa. Then there’s vague sequel baiting about how Eteon has Hobbs and Shaw on their radar.
So if there was a sequel for this, would it be “Hobbs & Shaw II: Electric Boogaloo” or “Fast 9?”
I don’t care either way because I really did enjoy the chemistry of Statham and The Rock in this.
The day is saved, but that’s not all. Because this is a “Fast and Furious” movie, it’s all about family™.
So, Shaw and Hattie go and visit their dear mum in prison. Meanwhile, Hobbs brings his daughter to Samoa to finally meet her grandma and uncles.
I actually got teary-eyed when the daughter hugged the grandma. Good God, a “Fast and Furious” movie made me emotional. I hate that I am putting this into the public.
… Let’s move on from this as quickly as possible. Let’s slide our sports car under a truck and into recommendations.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: This movie is stupid fun. We at the JOE-DOWN enjoy our stupid fun. Go watch it with a big bag of popcorn and your brain shut off.
Froemming: Yup. This was one of the dumbest, most entertaining movies I have seen in a while.