Being sold as an action/comedy rather than an action/drama, it seems.
The Rock and Jason Statham are determined to establish their point of difference from the get-go, and as far as big budget franchise spin-offs go, I am happy to report that I had a rocking good time with Hobbs & Shaw.
- Cliff Curtis and Roman Reigns chat with Newshub about Hobbs & Shaw
- 'So gratifying': Dwayne Johnson on the movie's Samoan elements
First point of order: a warning for all you longtime Vin Diesel Fast and Furious fans, this spin-off does not run on Diesel and really doesn't feel a lot like a Fast and Furious film.
So beware, you may be left craving more fumes and more foot to the pedal.
That said, there's a good chance this will be more than enough to keep your engines running until Fast and Furious 9 comes along in 2020.
Second blindingly obvious point of order, pack your jumbo popcorn but leave your brain behind, you won't be needing it.
Unsurprisingly, the chemistry between Johnson and Statham upon which this entire premise hinges on is very watchable and nicely set-up. They hate each other but they must find a way to work together to fight bad guy Brixton (Idris Elba) and save the world. And yep, it's really that simple.
Fleshing out the beyond silly storyline we have Brit Vanessa Kirby (Mission Impossible: Fallout) who kicks arse from the opening frames as Shaw's estranged sister Hattie. Need I even say there is simply never enough of Dame Helen in any movie ever regardless of how long she's on screen, which in this case is purely as a book-end.
We spend time in Los Angeles (but not a lot) then London (quite a bit more) before skydiving into Russia (cue the essentially lingerie-clad supermodel mercenaries) and the Ukraine. Then, the much heralded grand finale, as our good ole boys and girl head for the last place on earth Hobbs ever wanted to go - home.
For Kiwi cinema-goers, there's just no denying the added appeal when Hobbs and co hit Samoa. He hasn't been back for 25 years and the Hobbs brotherhood are far from welcoming.
Here, Kiwi actors Cliff Curtis and John Tui help cook up plenty of treats for local audiences amidst the big Samoan showdown.
Mostly, the inner workings of the by-the-book script deliver on pace. The lack of freshness in the ticking bomb plot accompanied but the sheer outlandish ludicrousness of the sci-fi super soldiers and CGI-heavy action sequences are eye-rolling, but my advice? Do what I did, disengage the gears entirely and just go along for the ride.
The hand-to-hand combat for audiences who now expect John Wick level fight choreography will find this lacking, but the mass box office appeal of an M rating was clearly too powerful a pull.
Does Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw survive only on the bankable box office blockbuster charm and cachet of Hobbs and Shaw? Maybe so.
What we have here is a whole lotta IQ-light, CGI-heavy fun that defy the laws of physics, logic and commonsense.
It will never bring about world peace or end poverty, but it might just deliver a few hours distraction from how bloody long, cold and miserable winter can be.