August 7, 2019 – This highly successful spinoff with an unwieldy title, filled with testosterone and fury, reunites a couple of bald action heroes, Dwayne Johnson (it is hard to find an action movie he isn't starring in) and Jason Statham (the Transporter series, the Mechanic Series, the Expendable movies and the last few Fast and Furious movies).
These two actors are very good and very experienced action stars who have worked together before, so it is no surprise they team up well together here, though their relationship is largely limited to manly posturing about their toughness and sexual prowess. There are some extra touches that help expand this limited palette, Deckard Shaw's (Statham's character) sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby of “Mission: Impossible - Fallout”) and Lucas Hobbs' (Dwayne Johnson's character) mother (played by Lori Pelenise Tuisano) and brothers, including Jonah (Cliff Curtis of “Colombiana”) who plays a key role in some of the final scenes in Samoa.
The plot is based on a kind of snipe hunt for a deadly genetically engineered virus called Snowflake. It is a programmable virus can be used to wipe out all humans, or it can target selected groups of people. A very powerful organization called Eteon wants to use the virus to kill billions of people it deems unfit to live.
Deckard Shaw's sister, Hattie, an MI6 agent, has successfully secured the virus, in a very desperate move, by injecting herself with it. She only has a couple of days before the virus becomes active in her system. She has to either kill herself, or find a way to safely extract the virus in order to prevent the death of all humans. In addition, she has been framed for murder, so everyone, including agents of Eteon, are after her. Hobbs and Shaw are assigned the task of finding Hattie and containing the virus. Hobbs and Shaw don't like each other and don't want to work together, but are forced by circumstances to cooperate.
Chief among the Eteon agents pursuing the Hattie and the virus is a super villain named Brixton (played by Idris Elba of “The Dark Tower”). Shaw had killed Brixton years before, but Brixton was brought back to life as a kind of android by Eteon, genetically enhanced, with mechanical and computer components as well. He also has a magic motorcycle that seems to have a mind of its own.
In addition to Hobbs and Shaw, another character from “The Fate of the Furious” is brought back for this film, Deckard's brother, Queenie (played by Helen Mirren). Queenie is in prison. She wants Deckard to patch up his differences with his sister.
Hattie is repeatedly grabbed, then lost, by Hobbs and Shaw, as well as by Brixton in a continuing globe-trotting struggle that includes lots of fights, gun battles, car chases and explosions. The concluding scenes are in Samoa, the home of the Hobbs family, where Lucas Hobbs is an outcast. Lucas' brothers refuse to help him until his mother steps in, insisting that the family helps to save him, Hattie, and the rest of the world in the process.
This sets up a battle royal in Samoa with a lot of hand-to-hand combat and a big cartoonish chase along the edge of a cliff involving a tow truck, other vehicles and a helicopter. So this is a big, dumb, but entertaining action movie with some humor and some family relationships. It works well enough as a mindless action movie, but it needed more character development and a smarter script to get to the next level. It rates a C+.
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