Reviews for Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw have screeched online with the speed of a muscle-car driven by a muscle-man mumbling something about ‘family’ (quickly, is what we’re saying).
And fans of the franchise can relax - sort of. While it’s not a positive review board-sweep, even the negative critiques suggest there’s more than enough preposterous action to keep the film relatively critic-proof.
Let’s start with the raves and work our way down.
“In keeping with Fast & Furious tradition, this action is balanced with earnest, genuinely sweet talk about the importance of family. This time, however, it’s about connecting with one’s roots and maintaining that contact, rather than finding family in those who come into your orbit,” says the UK’s Empire magazine, offering a generous four out of five stars.
“This Statham and Johnson show is a ludicrous, comedic actioner, and I want more,” said Jonathan W. Hickman of Daily Film Fix, awarding the film 8/10.
“All of this silliness is actually great fun, particularly the bantering chemistry between Johnson and Statham, who spend much of the movie squabbling and calling each other names,” Moira MacDonald of Seattle Times said, giving the film a near-perfect three out of four stars.
“Hobbs & Shaw nicely tickled my sweet spot for what I like to see in a shallow, loud, noisy, and ridiculous action picture,” said Andrew Parker of The Gate, handing out 7/10.
However, other outlets were less easily impressed.
“The addition of Elba and the kickass Kirby only adds to the fun, though the film does lose momentum in the final act, with Hobbs’ familial squabbles rather throwing a spanner in the works. A few star cameos, presumably as a set-up for future episodes, also feel unnecessary. But then in Fast & Furious, is there really such a thing as ‘too much’?” asks GamesRadar, who gave the movie three out of five.
“It gives us a fair bit of gonzo action, a hair-raising London chase scene, some transatlantic alpha-male squabbling, a cheerfully silly plot MacGuffin – and for the first two thirds the whole thing hums like a hi-tech top. The movie is a bit overextended, and the action runs out of steam in the final battle, but it delivers some bangs and laughs for your buck,” that’s according to The Guardian, who also went with three out of five.
“Whatever this is, it's not a movie - it's a product more deserving of a road test than a review. Johnson and Statham keep the action and laughs spinning. The problem is they keep repeating them - stunt, banter, stunt - until they wear out their welcome,” Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, giving the film three stars.
“As empty of purpose and overlong as it is, Hobbs & Shaw is at least a more entertaining machine than the last F&F film. Director David Leitch brings a comic book sensibility to the violence, and endless crude insult humour (that eventually does wear thin),” it’s a B-minus from Jim Slotek at Original Cin.
Others were even less forgiving.
“It's a lark, a goof, a live-action cartoon, the final product a supercilious piece of frivolous fluff that frequently had me rolling my eyes in incredulous disgust,” said Sara Michelle Fetters of MovieFreak.com - giving the film 1.5 stars out of 4.
“The real problem is not simply the paucity of squealing rubber on road; it's the filler that pads the more than two-hour film while we wait impatiently for fixes of fuel-injected mayhem to arrive every half hour,” said Oliver Jones of Observer, with another 1.5 out of 4.
Still, this is the kind of franchise that speeds away from dodgy reviews faster than a bald man can scale a building, so we’d expect it to scramble to the top of the box office charts this weekend - Hobbs and Shaw is on general release in the UK now.