HOBBS & SHAW (2019, David Leitch)
The more serious the FAST & FURIOUS movies are, the worse — generally. As series producer and now head writer Chris Morgan’s stories have ballooned from the franchise’s POINT BREAK-meets-street-race-culture beginnings to its current iteration as cartoonish MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE-level super heroics, the best ones (FURIOUS 7, this one) have also been leavened with a sense of humor. The more they can wink at the audience, the easier it is to digest a sequence where The Rock almost pulls a helicopter out of the sky with his bare hands and a chain.
Thanks to Johnson’s friendship and frequent collaboration with Kevin Hart, and Leitch’s resume as director on DEADPOOL 2, we get a couple of amusing supporting roles by Hart and Ryan Reynolds (the latter’s face when he expresses delight at the closed diner was maybe my biggest laugh of this movie) and a well-established and effective frenemy relationship between Johnson and Statham, who is as funny (and good) here as he’s been in anything since SPY.
The plot makes almost no sense, but it’s also refreshingly skimpy and simplified, so that leaves room for just 130 minutes of insane stunts, ludicrous CG setpieces, and wry wisecracking. I do miss the days when summer blockbusters were this (relatively) lean, superficial, and weightless, but still entertaining and graceful. I saw this almost a week ago and can barely remember any specifics (except some weird changes during a climax that lasts 30 minutes in movie time but covers night to day and sunlight to rainstorm) but even if it evaporates like water in August, it goes down just as easily.