“Fast & Furious” action heroes Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are looking to pull off what may be their most over-the-top stunt yet: a successful spinoff from an 18-year-old Hollywood franchise.
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Universal Pictures this weekend releases “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” the ninth movie in the action-thriller series. Johnson and Statham reprise their roles as lawman Luke Hobbs and mercenary Deckard Shaw, respectively, in their own international adventure that will test the limits of the franchise’s appeal.
IMDB : Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Studios have previously tried to expand their blockbuster film brands with so-called stand-alone movies, but such efforts have produced mixed results. Disney’s high-priced “Solo: A Star Wars Story” grossed a disappointing $392.9 million last year. Paramount Pictures’ “Bumblebee,” based on a “Transformers” character, collected a decent $468 million.
Trailer : Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
“Hobbs & Shaw,” which hits theaters Thursday, is expected to generate $60 million to $65 million in ticket sales from the U.S. and Canada through Sunday, according to people who have reviewed pre-release audience surveys.
That would be enough to unseat Disney’s computer-generated remake of “The Lion King” as the top movie, domestically. However, it would also be the lowest opening for a “Fast & Furious” movie since 2006’s “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” launched with about $24 million. The latest entry, 2017’s “The Fate of the Furious,” opened with $98.8 million in North America and ended up with $1.24 billion in global grosses off its $250-million budget.
Rotten Tomatoes : Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Though the ticking-clock drama is what propels the characters, screenwriters Drew Pearce (“Iron Man 3”) and Chris Morgan (“The Fate of the Furious”) pretty much rest the entire film on Hobbs and Shaw’s personality and professional clashes as the pair incessantly trade disses. It’s pretty basic. In fact, at one point Hobbs drops something like a “yo’ mama” line, which should give you a sense of the film’s elementary formula.
But again, “Hobbs & Shaw” is very cognizant of what it is, which is also in line with what “Fast & Furious” has always been: an opportunity for alpha men (and women) to exchange insults then eventually hug it out for the sake of some good old-fashioned whoop-ass. The action scenes are where “Hobbs & Shaw” truly excels, like when Brixton is in a high-speed chase on a motorcycle after Hobbs and Shaw in the middle of a crowded street (which all law enforcement has apparently abandoned), and he somehow manages to diagonally snake underneath a gigantic truck without even a scratch. It’s totally a “Mission: Impossible” Tom Cruise move, mixed with some of Christian Bale’s Batmobile tricks in “The Dark Knight.” Which is to say, completely unbelievable, but within the context of this bonkers film, it works.
Credit goes to supervising stunt coordinator Chris O’Hara (“Venom”), who deftly concocts visually impressive scenes, including the incredibly over-the-top penultimate moment that entails Hobbs pulling a helicopter down from the sky with only his arm weight and a chain while dangling on a truck linked to five other cars. It’s ridiculous, but A+ for creativity.