Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service and lawless outcast Shaw (Jason Statham) a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7 the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down.
This spin-off of the Fast and the Furious franchise reunites rivals Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Luke Hobbs (introduced in 2011’s Fast Five) and Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw (from 2015’s Furious 7). A deadly virus carried by Shaw’s sister, Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), is coveted by the unimaginatively named Brixton Lore (Idris Elba); Hobbs and Shaw must work together to extract it before it falls into the wrong hands.
The film has fun setting up Johnson and Statham as two different but equally tasty flavours of traditional masculinity: Hobbs is classic, rugged and philosophical he reads Nietzsche as well as being a self-proclaimed “ice-cold can of whup-ass while Shaw is slickly refined a “champagne problem”. They volley insults at one another but are united by their shared family values.
This is set up in contrast to Elba’s individualistic rogue operative, who has been genetically modified and refers to himself as “the black Superman”.
At nearly two and a half hours the film is overlong. The combat montages, on the other hand are maniacally edited cut at the compressed speed of a trailer. The thundering rock score only adds to its YouTube‑supercut feel. Sometimes there is pleasure to be found in brainless action but the extended video game style finale left me furious and fatigued.
Adam Ganne, Amar Adatia, Antonio Mancino, Axel Nu, Bernardo Santos, Cliff Curtis, Conlan Casal, Daniel Eghan, David Mumeni, Dwayne Johnson, Eddie Marsan, Eiza González, Eliana Sua, Helen Mirren, Helena Holmes, Idris Elba, James Merrill, Jason Statham, Joe Anoa’i, John Tui, Julian Ferro, Lampros Kalfuntzos, Lori Pelenise Tuisano, Ruth Horrocks, Sonia Goswami, Stephanie Vogt, Teresa Mahoney, Vanessa Kirby, Viktorija Faith, Zuyang Sun