Fast & Furious presents Hobbs & Shaw (2019)

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba, Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren

Screenplay: Chris Morgan, Drew Pearce

137 mins. Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language.

 

Hobbs & Shaw is a really dumb movie. It’s very fun, but wow, it’s a dumb movie. What did you expect?

It’s been two years since The Fate of the Furious, and Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, San Andreas) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, Crank, Spy) have both been relatively busy kicking ass in the name of justice…more or less. Meanwhile, a group of MI6 agents are attacked while trying to retrieve a virus called Snowflake. Only one of them, Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, TV’s The Crown) escapes after injecting herself with the virus. Now framed as a fugitive, Hattie is on the run from Brixton Lore (Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation, TV’s Luther), and she winds up getting help from Hobbs & Shaw. Now, if only they can stop arguing long enough to save Hattie from Brixton and the terrorists he works for.

I cannot stress enough how stupid some parts of this movie get, but at the same time, I come to the Fast & Furious films to see insane action set-pieces and thrilling fight scenes. This whole franchise has branded itself as a B-Movie franchise with an A-Movie budget, and the same holds up in this spin-off. The tone feels slightly different from the other films in this universe, which I think is a smart move to set it aside while also not betraying the character arcs from previous films. You don’t have to have seen any of the previous films to get this one.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham have great chemistry together, even if the movie overdoes their banter several times over. There’s still a sense of family to this installment, and both characters get some more background with it, though the family stuff in this installment never feels dramatic like it does in the other franchise. It’s especially nice to see Shaw’s background delved further into, and I think it’s silly that people are calling out the age-issue with him and Vanessa Kirby, as in the film they are about two years apart but the performers are closer to two decades apart. Really? That’s what your problem is with believability? For me, I was hoping to get some more info on his relationship with brother Owen, who feels very absent from this film after his appearances in the franchise, so not seeing Luke Evans was kind of a bummer for me.

My biggest problem apart from the bloated run time is the villain Brixton. I love Idris Elba and I think he gave his all in the film, but I don’t think the character of Brixton is interesting at all, and I didn’t see any solid character development to him. He’s kind of just a villain because he’s a villain. I would love to have seen more of his arc. I also didn’t like the cybernetic implants angle. I just think it pushes the insanity envelope further than I would have liked. I know, I know, but while the silliness has been in this franchise for some time, I feel like Brixton and his cybernetic implants veers the franchise into supernatural territory more than I would like.

Hobbs & Shaw is a pretty solid ninth entry in this franchise, though for me it’s not as strong as the last four films in the series. I enjoyed myself, but there is some sputtering in the setup to this spinoff series. I liked the main characters chemistry and the action is really solid, but there are problems with the pacing and the villain. It’s fun to see some really interesting small roles/cameos that I didn’t expect in the film, and I’m looking forward to how they are utilized in a future installment. Overall, Hobbs & Shaw is mindless stupidity and that’s what I was hoping for. This is popcorn action at its most ludicrous.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious, click here.

For my review of Philip G. Atwell’s Turbo Charged Prelude, click here.

For my review of John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, click here.

For my review of Vin Diesel’s Los Bandoleros, click here.

For my review of Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious, click here.

For my review of James Wan’s Furious 7, click here.

For my review of F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious, click here.

For my review of David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde, click here.

For my review of David Leitch’s Deadpool 2, click here.

Kyle’s Top Ten Worst Films of 2018

2018 has come to an end, and there were so many amazing movies. There were also some stinkers. Some real stinkers. There were a lot of surprisingly disappointing films and there were some that just didn’t work at want they tried to be. I kept thinking to myself that there were so many films that I liked in 2018 that coming up with ten bad ones would be tough. It was not tough. It was only tough whittling down to 10.

Just a couple of notes:

  • I didn’t see every movie in 2018. I didn’t see every bad film in 2018. This is a list of the worst films that I saw.
  • This is my personal list. You may have loved one or all of these. I did not.
  • I still have not seen The Emoji Movie from 2017. Just letting you all know.

 

Alright, let’s hold hands and get this over with…

 

10. Tag

-Well, one of them had to win. Game Night and Tag were released in the same year, and I honestly didn’t realize going into 2018 that they were different films until the first trailers dropped for each. Game Night was one of the better films of the year, and Tag was just…not. The film was over-the-top and unrealistic and I didn’t buy that the story was anywhere close to the true story that it was based on.  It becomes all the more apparent how bad Tag really is when compare to its obvious alternate in Game Night, but the real crime of Tag is its complete lack of comedy. I found myself hoping to laugh, praying. Nothing, though. Tag just isn’t It.

 

9. Winchester

Winchester is a film that should have been good. I like the Spierig brothers. I’ve enjoyed all of their films to this point. Winchester is based on the infamous Winchester haunted house. Starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke, this just seemed to have it all put together. It just wasn’t scary and became rather dull. Just like Tag‘s lack of comedy, Winchester‘s lack of fright just kills it. It’s the kind of film that should have been more epic in nature being a house filled with the dead. It could have become a franchise built around a different spirit each go-around, but it just falls flat.

 

8. Early Man

Early Man is probably the only film on my list that I know many people loved. I spoke to many other reviewers who gave Early Man recognition. For me, the film started out strong as a film about the early periods in humanity, and then it devolved into a soccer movie. Ugh. I loved it until it became a soccer movie. I had no interest in the direction of the film at that point. Most of the jokes fell flat at that point and I just couldn’t wait for it to be over. This may be irrational distaste, but it is distaste nonetheless. I did not like it at all.

 

7. Life Itself

Life Itself didn’t really hit me until a day after I saw it. I remember being very confused about the whole thing. I couldn’t decide it I liked it or not until some time passed. Then, I started to really think about it, and not long after, I realized all the problems that existed in the film. Then, I remember hatred. It all became clear to me that the film was nothing but schmaltzy depression under the visage of a romantic drama. It’s so poorly constructed and manipulative. The more time I thought about it, the more it dropped to the worst of the pile for 2018. I’d prefer not to think of it anymore.

 

6. Mile 22

Mile 22 is just boring, which isn’t a good sign for an action film. It’s really unimpressive. The character of Alice (played by Lauren Cohan) is written really poorly, with most of the character arc being about her as a woman on this team. Lastly, the twist at the ending caused a really dumb and disappointing finale. The film without the twist might not have made this list, but the ending leaves such a bad taste in my mouth that it crossed the line into my least favorite films of the year. It might be time to end the Mark Wahlberg/Peter Berg relationship.

 

5. I Can Only Imagine

-I caught some heat this year for claiming this movie looked terrible based on the trailer. Several of my followers claimed that I was against this film for being religious, so let me say it right here: this is a bad movie, and it has nothing to do with its subject material. The film, about the creation of the title song, is filled with bad writing. The leads in the film have nothing to do but read their lines and the performances become Lifetime-movie level because of it. I couldn’t wait for it to come to an end, and I found that it took far too long to get there. Overall, I Can Only Imagine is a bad film because of its writing and editing.

 

4. Den of Thieves

Den of Thieves is just too damn long. This is such a long movie and the finale twist doesn’t work. Gerard Butler is such an unlikable lead and there’s no reason for me to root for it. Pablo Schreiber is not an interesting or complex villain. Outside of these two and O’Shea Jackson, I can barely remember any of the other characters in this film. I found myself not interested in anything going on and I didn’t want to finish the movie. I did it for you, though. You are welcome.

 

3. Fifty Shades Freed

-If there’s one nice thing to say about Fifty Shades Freed, it’s this: at least the fucking thing is over. Thank God the Fifty Shades trilogy is done. Fifty Shades Freed is so boring and bland. This movie should have the hot and steamy film that it promises to be, and yet, it is empty of any worth. It’s too bad that this wasn’t a better series because the erotic thriller subgenre has virtually gone extinct and this had a chance to bring it back. Well, it’s based on a shitty book series, so there you have it.

 

2. 12 Strong

-There’s a central theme to this year’s bad films and it is that there were a lot of boring movies this year. 12 Strong was one of those films. There’s just no style to this movie and Chris Hemsworth is incapable of carrying this film. I like Hemsworth, but he does not save the film. 12 Strong just didn’t captivate me at all, and none of the characters were likable nor interesting. It’s just a forgettable film. That’s the gift it gives us.

 

1. Slender Man

Slender Man was the dumbest idea of 2018. First of all, it isn’t even based on the game that Slender Man appears in. It’s based on the flimsy urban legend. After that, it’s a shitty script with terrible performances, lost direction, and some of the worst editing I’ve ever seen. You can blame studio interference (and I do) or you can blame all the other faults I’ve mentioned (and I do), but it’s a mixture of just how bad this movie is. It’s easily the worst film of 2018.

 

So there we are. These are the worst films of 2018. Thank God it’s done.

Is there something I missed here? What did you think was the worst film of 2018? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Early Review] The Fate of the Furious (2017)

Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russell, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren

Screenplay: Chris Morgan

136 mins. Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggested content, and language.

 

Trust me, you need to understand what kind of film you are about to see.

Dom (Vin Diesel, Guardians of the Galaxy, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage) and new wife Letty (Michelle Rodriguez, Avatar, The Assignment) are enjoying their honeymoon in Cuba when a mysterious woman shows up and tells Dom that he is going to work for her. When Dom is on a mission with Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Moana, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) and the rest of the crew, he turns on them, showing allegiance to the mystery woman called Cipher (Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road, Kubo and the Two Strings) and in the process, shattering his familial bonds. Now, Hobbs, aided by Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell, The Hateful Eight, Deepwater Horizon) and forced to join up with Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, The Transporter, Spy), must track Dom and Cipher in an effort to save their fallen brother or take him out.

As I’ve stated before, the important thing to remember about this franchise is that it is very unique. Action spectacles are no new thing in Hollywood, The Fast and the Furious, as a franchise, is a B-Movie franchise with an ever-expanding budget. That sort of thing just doesn’t really happen. What sets it apart from others is the focus on a recurring theme (family) and the set pieces that aren’t focused on realism in the slightest but instead, these action beats are asking the question: How can we make this more ridiculous? And that’s what works here.

The cast does admirable work here as the likable family members while newcomers Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino, Snowden) as Mr. Nobody’s new recruit and Charlize Theron as Cipher. There is a notable exclusion made by the absence of Brian O’Connor (played by the late Paul Walker) but I completely understand what happened and I still feel like his character is honored here in a pretty touching albeit predictable way.

Incoming director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Straight Outta Compton), fresh off his recent success with the NWA biopic, teams up with previous collaborators in Diesel, Johnson, Theron, and Statham creates a kinetic energy that runs rampant through this film, creating some of the darkest plot threads of the series while also some of the most hilarious action scenes too. Gray’s direction results in a unique experience without pushing too far.

Through it all, though, there are times when The Fate of the Furious feels unusually restrained (hear me out), as if the film itself is trying to top the craziness from the superior Fast Five and Furious 7 but just can’t quite get there. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something felt off at times throughout, and perhaps that’s due to Diesel’s character being tied up with Cipher rather than the crew we all find him more enjoyable with. I was very happy to discover that the unusual plot line of betrayal actually kind of makes sense within the larger scope of The Fast and the Furious franchise (I had been very worried when I saw the initial trailer).

I was very impressed with The Fate of the Furious. This entry in the series isn’t the best one to come along, but it definitely rest higher on the ranking. This is a franchise that isn’t trying to win over new fans (though it doesn’t seem to need that), and this newest installment only proves that this is a franchise for the fans. I enjoyed it and the numerous surprises that this film has in store. I highly suggest an opening weekend viewing.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Rob Cohen’s The Fast and the Furious, click here.

For my review of Philip G. Atwell’s Turbo Charged Prelude, click here.

For my review of John Singleton’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, click here.

For my review of Vin Diesel’s Los Bandoleros, click here.

For my review of Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious, click here.

For my review of James Wan’s Furious 7, click here.

For my review of F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton, click here.

31 Days of Horror Part II: Day 20 – Monsters University (2013)

 monstersuniversity2013a

Director: Dan Scanlon

Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren

Screenplay: Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Dan Scanlon

104 mins. Rated G.

 

Pixar sequels scare me. I wasn’t a big fan of Toy Story 2. I hated Cars 2. Toy Story 3 was great, but it felt like the exception that proved the rule. When Pixar announced that my favorite property Monsters, Inc. was getting a prequel, I was both shocked and intrigued by the concept. When I discovered that we would be seeing the story of Mike and Sully meeting in college, I was still very confused. Then, I saw it…

monstersuniversity2013b

In Monsters University, we get another look into the unique universe that Pixar created where monsters exist and get energy from the screams of children, where a young monster named Mike Wazowski (TV’s The Comedians, When Harry Met Sally…) experiences disapproval by his peers in his attempts to become a professional scarer. But he finds a new rival in fellow student Sully (John Goodman, TV’s Roseanne, The Gambler). When both students are kicked out of the scaring program, they decide to join Oozma Kappa, a failing fraternity, in an effort to win the Annual Scare Games and earn their way back into the scaring program, proving to their judgmental Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren, The Queen, Woman in Gold) that they have what it takes.

Pixar has great timing. Releasing Monsters University at a time when fans of the original film are entering the college portion of their lives is perfection, much in the same way they did with Toy Story 3 a few years previously. Great working of their audience.

The voicework here is phenomenal, getting great work from the veterans as well as new additions Helen Mirren and Nathan Fillion. Charlie Day absolutely steals his scenes.

"MONSTERS UNIVERSITY" (Pictured) SULLEY amongst other MU monsters. ©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Monsters University is a perfect prequel, rarely feeling the need to fall back on referencing the original. For the most part, it blazes a new trail and knows it doesn’t have to embrace a cliché finale.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For more 31 Days of Horror, click here.

For my review of Pete Docter’s Monsters, Inc., click here.

April 2015 Preview

 

Happy April! Let’s look ahead to April’s film releases, starting with…

 

Furious 7

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In Paul Walker’s final film role, the seventh adventure in The Fast and the Furious franchise follows Dom and Brian are being hunted by Owen Shaw’s brother Deckard, played by Jason Statham. The last few films in this franchise have just gotten better and better as they embraced the auto theft story over the street race plots. It also features director James Wan diverting from his horror roots to take on an action pic, which I’m feeling good about.

 

 

Woman in Gold

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Woman in Gold features Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, a holocaust survivor who fought to retrieve a portrait taken from her during the Nazi invasion of Vienna. I enjoy Mirren’s work but I feel like this film has a supporting cast likely to fail, specifically the dreadful Katie Holmes. Ryan Reynolds too is hit or miss so I can’t guarantee anything.

 

 

The Longest Ride

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I am so sick of Nicholas Sparks movies. They are all pretty much the same and I intend for that to be a criticism in every possible way. The Notebook was pretty good, but everything since feels like a carbon copy.

 

 

Child 44

child442015a

Tom Hardy stars as an MGB agent investigating a series of child murders in the Soviet Union. I recall great things being said about the novel, and the cast here is filled with capable performers. I’m thinking yeah.

 

 

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2

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Paul Blart doesn’t deserve to be captured on film. The original film didn’t and neither does this one. It’s a shame that quality films are going to be passed over for this dreck. Please, for the love of all things sacred, skip.

 

 

Unfriended

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I love a good stylistic horror film, but Unfriended, about six people connected to a high school girl’s suicide one year prior, are hunted during a Skype chat, seems like its suspension of disbelief will ask too much of me. I’m not feeling this one.

 

 

Little Boy

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Does anybody think this movie looks good? It is the story of a young boy who will do whatever it takes to bring his father back from WW2. No. No. No.

 

 

The Age of Adaline

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I’m liking the idea of a romance film with a hook. Most of these films don’t work out well, but for some reason, I think The Age of Adaline has a chance.

 

Final Tally:

Best Bets: Furious 7, Child 44

On the Bubble: Woman in Gold, Unfriended, The Age of Adaline

Likely Misses: The Longest Ride, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Little Boy

 

So there you have it. See you in May!

-Kyle A. Goethe

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