Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Lawman Luke Hobbs and outcast Deckard Shaw form an unlikely alliance when a cyber-genetically enhanced villain threatens the future of humanity.

Dwayne JohnsonJason StathamIdris Elba

Director: David Leitch • Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 • My Rating: 5/5

“I’m what you might call a champagne problem.” ~ Deckard Shaw

My Review

Obviously I think this is the perfect Summer action movie. Not only is it a spin-off of a franchise I love very much, it features F&F alumni Johnson and Statham, as the titular Hobbs & Shaw. The only thing that could top this would be the addition of a super-hot super villain: step up Mr Elba, AKA Brixton, AKA Black Superman.

Oh but it’s not just about the holy trinity. Vanessa Kirby does sterling work as Hattie Shaw, sister of Deckard and daughter of the amazing Queenie (Helen Mirren). In fact she more or less steals the show. CIA Operative Hattie is hot on the heels of a team of techno terrorists when she is forced to take potentially lethal action. To stop a deadly virus getting into the wrong hands, she injects it directly into her own body and becomes public enemy #1 – portrayed as a traitor to her firm and the security of the world, she’s now on the run with almost nowhere to turn.

Almost.

Step in the boys who are less than thrilled to be back in each other’s orbits. In fact, it’s questionable they’ll ever be able to put their differences aside to actually get shit done. But Shaw’s not going to give up on his sister, even though they’ve been estranged for a long time. When he works out who the leader of the group is, the level of threat they’re dealing with becomes unmistakable – and they have little choice but to tolerate each other at least for the time being.

And Brixton isn’t just any nemesis. He’s a genetically engineered super-soldier, unbeatable in almost every way – though his faceless puppeteer has the power to shut him down any time – unless he successfully enlists our heroes into the fold. Will he turn their heads with the promise of ultimate power? I think we all know the answer to that one.

Well, H&S has everything you need. Witty bants between Frowny and The Rock, steamy chemistry via Hattie and Hobbs – cars, explosions, muscles. It’s amazing and fun – the ultimate popcorn movie – and frankly, I can’t wait to see it again. As shit hits the fan in massive bursts, our newly assembled trio have to find a way to get off the grid, get the virus out of Hattie before it enters her bloodstream – and prepare for war.

If only there were some sort of an island setting for them to escape to? Maybe an endless supply of FAMILY SPIRIT to keep them motivated?

My Comments

My favourite parts of this movie are… all of them. While I am biased AF, I truly believe in the sentiments of this neo-action classic. Sure it’s big, brash and slick – but it has its heart in the right place and I love it for that. I want to know so much more about the Shaw Family, while a spin-off of Somoan island life would be incredible.

I’m not sorry at all that I love the fuck out of Jason Statham movies. He’s supremely watchable on the big screen, an actor who knows his limitations and has pure star power (and an awesome physical grace). He’s no Sir Ian McKellen and that’s fine – I’ll always love him for who he is. Meanwhile, Johnson brings his likeability to yet another big budget blockbuster and God bless him. He’s so comforting and the chemistry between the two just works.

My final word on this is that I’m newly obsessed with Vanessa Kirby and I demand more of her as action hero. She’s incredible.

What are you watching?

Fighting With My Family

Fighting With My Family (2019)

A former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment.

Starring: Florence Pugh • Dwayne Johnson • Lena Headey • Vince Vaughn • Nick Frost

*Minor spoilers*

I love an underdog movie and the true story of Paige the WWE diva is a really satisfying watch. Sure, there aren’t many surprises and the narrative is pretty formulaic – but there’s a comfort in that.

If I’m honest I didn’t expect to love it as much and I think that’s mostly down to the casting. Saraya Knight AKA Britani Knight AKA Paige is played by the lovely Florence Pugh – an actress who first blew me away in Lady Macbeth.

Hands up if you love Florence Pugh!

As Saraya – or Ray to her family – tackles minor success and then the absolute brutality of what fame and fortune really requires from her, Pugh takes her through every emotion. Elation, guilt, despair – determination. She is an absolute joy to watch.

Ray’s family are a dream too – in the form of Mum Julia (Lena Headey) and Dad Ricky (Nick Frost) – and brother Zak (Jack Lowden), her wrestling partner-in-crime. The unit live and breathe the sport and run their own, barely surviving wrestling gym. Both Ray and Zak teach the community kids and generally keep them out of trouble and off the streets.

The kids and all the side characters peppered around the gym are really fun, as are the appearances of Hugh (director Stephen Merchant) and Daphne (Julia Davis) – straight-laced parents of Zak’s baby mama. The dinner party scene really made me chuckle a lot.

Adopt me, please.

When the siblings finally get the opportunity of a lifetime to audition in front of WWE trainer (Vince Vaughn), it has massive consequences for the family and Ray – and more so for the relationship between brother and sister. In both good and bad ways.

Ray travels to Florida to try out with the big boys and girls – and the standard could not be more different. Can she embrace who she really is and find her own place in this world?

There are some really interesting themes explored here – not least the devastation of being left behind felt by Zak. As his sister lives out their shared dream, he has to come to terms with focusing on a new one and it takes him a while.

In happier times…

Ray has to decide how much she really wants to be part of the WWE’s main roster and – who knew – the girl also has a lot of growing up to do. Well, she is only EIGHTEEN.

She (now going by Paige) struggles with the other girls, making lofty assumptions about them because they’re mostly models and dancers. Her illusion that they deserve their places in try-outs less than she does her no favours. Can she claw it back with these women and make a couple of much-needed friends along the way?

“Think we’re gonna need some Girl Power in this joint ASAP…”

Well, thankfully there’s a shift in both perspective and fortune for Paige – and I loved it. As soon as the girls start working together, it gets better for all of them. They’re even there are the end when Paige inevitably overcomes all her self-doubt, her guilt and her demons to absolutely smash it.

FWMF is funny, sweet, touching and very good. I’m a fan of the feel-good and now I want to know everything there is to know about the real Paige.

I definitely recommend catching this while it’s still in the theater.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What are you watching?

Zac’s Appeal

Don’t ask me why (The Greatest Showman) but I’m currently enjoying a Zac Efron renaissance. Not that I ever went off him but I’m Stanning my boy big time at the moment and I’m not sorry at all. Over the last couple of days I’ve watched a handful of Efron-heavy flicks which I will share below:

MV5BMjIzOTk2MTIxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTE0MzE0Nw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1507,1000_AL_
17 Again (2009)

I’d never seen this one before this week and it’s cute. Cute in a Big/Vice Versa body swap comedy way but also, it has A MESSAGE. Appreciate what you have… and try not to fuck it up.

Matthew Perry is Mike O’Donnell, a former high school basketball star who gave it all up when his first love Scarlet got pregnant when they were 17. Fast forward 18 years and their marriage is on the ropes, both Mike’s children hate him and he’s a miserable man, full of regret and lament for the life he could of had.

One night everything changes (creepy school janitor, bridge, river and a swirling vortex) and Mike gets the chance to do it all again for he wakes up in his 17 year old, nubile Zac Efron body. With the help of life-long friend Ned, Mike goes back to school but instead of grabbing his second life by the balls he winds up looking out for his kids, who go to the same school that he and Scarlet attended.

In terms of perving, this is not a good one. Zac is too young and goofy (with terrible hair) but like I say if you like those old school feel good movies then you could do worse. Also, Leslie Mann is an absolute darling as the grown up Scarlet.

We-Are-Your-Friends-2015

We Are Your Friends (2015)

This movie makes me feel a bit funny because Zac is very much not too young to perv on. As films go it’s pretty standard but he is so pretty I really don’t care. Add into the mix the woman on Instagram than makes me feel worst about myself, Emily Ratajkowski and you’ve got a super fly cast.

Zac is Cole, an aspiring DJ who falls in with James (Wes Bentley), a well-known music producer. James sees something in Cole and promises to take him places but when Cole falls in lust (or is it more?) with James’ girlfriend Sophie, things start to fall apart. Ultimately this is a tale about dreams and friendship, as Cole is forced to reassess his life in the valley and his relationship with his best friends while reaching for the stars.

There’s a weird sex face he does at one point that makes this a stand out in my book but that’s just a personal observation and I’m very easily pleased.

entertainment-2014-01-imogen-zac-main

That Awkward Moment (2014)

As with the sex face above, in one scene our boy goes for a wee having taken Viagra and the image is (bizarrely) a keeper. The film again is sweet enough but also mostly forgettable, even if it does boast Michael B. Jordan in a towel and the mighty Mackenzie Davis.

Jason (ZE) is a playa and so is his friend Daniel (Miles Teller). When their other friend Mikey (MBJ) gets dumped by his wife, the trio make a pact to stay single together for as long as possible. There’s lots of talk about sexual rosters and humping like there’s no tomorrow but our boys aren’t as shameless as they’d have us believe, and each of them proves this arrangement isn’t as easy as they first thought.

Basically, that ol’ devil called love is always on hand to screw things up. Again, not a game changer but my boy is an angel.

baywatch

Baywatch (2017)

ZE’s overdeveloped body in this is not my cup of tea at all but I still enjoyed the movie, which doesn’t take itself too seriously and also features the lovely Dwayne Johnson.

ZE is Matt Brody, a shamed Olympic swimmer drafted in as a new recruit on the ‘watch. The Rock is Mitch Buchannon (obviously), lifeguard hero and reluctant mentor to the arrogant man-child Brody. It is what it is but there’s lots of half-naked flesh and girl, that’s what I’m here for. It’s also equal opportunity perving, don’t worry – nobody leaves disappointed.

Hopefully.

~

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve no regrets.

How are you?

Skyscraper

Skyscraper (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A father goes to great lengths to save his family from a burning skyscraper.

*Spoilers*

This film does exactly what it says on the tin. Dwayne Johnson is Will Sawyer, a security expert (with a past) who is currently consulting in Hong Kong for ambitious Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han) on the tallest skycraper in the world. It really is well tall.

His family are with him and staying in a luxury suite in the as yet not open Pearl tower. Sarah (super babe Neve Campbell) is a former military nurse and the couple have two adorable rugrats, Georgia and Henry (McKenna Roberts and Noah Cottrell).

All is looking good until über-villain Kores Botha (Roland Møller) decides to fuck shit up and Will is forced to rescue his loved ones from the burning skyscraper, while also being accused of the terrorist act in the first place. What’s a guy to do though but roll up his sleeves and scale the building?

5b480408695bd.image

It’s ridiculous of course but in the hands of The Rock it would be impossible not to enjoy the ride. Some of the lines are laugh out loud terrible and there is literally no realism to be had anywhere but that’s so overrated anyway.

The scale is awe-inspiring and the scenery looks great – so grab the popcorn and enjoy this bad boy for exactly what it is: pure, unadulterated, unabashed escapism.

My Rating

3/5.

Rampage

Rampage (2018)

Directed by: Brad Peyton
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jake Lacy, Joe Manganiello

IMDB Synopsis

When three different animals become infected with a dangerous pathogen, a primatologist and a geneticist team up to stop them from destroying Chicago.

*Minor spoilers*

I’ve already said my piece about guilty pleasures and I have nothing to add to that, though this movie is the PERFECT example of what I mean by joyous cinematic experience.

I’m also a sucker for a gargantuan ape and have been ever since I was a kid and I saw the original King Kong (1933). It’s the first film I remember making me cry and has paved the way for a lot of my adult film tastes.

So with that in mind how on earth could I resist Rampage? Based on a video game I only have a vague memory of, it’s pleasantly bonkers and exactly what I wanted to watch on the big screen.

11-rampage.w710.h473.2x

Former US soldier and member of an anti-poaching unit cum primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) is best friends with George, an albino gorilla. Davis saved George as a baby from the poachers who killed his mother so you could say that their bond is as strong as it could possibly be.

When an experiment conducted in space by evil corporation Energyne goes horribly wrong, George and two other animals are exposed to a pathogen that causes them to grow at a rapid rate. Since this pathogen has something to do with genetic editing, it pairs certain traits of certain species together and this causes our animals not only to grow like nobody’s business, it also mutates them and makes them aggressive as hell.

All of this plays into bitchy CEO Claire Wyden’s Plan B. She lures George and his new friends (a wolf and a crocodile) to downtown Chicago in order to get a sample from their genetically juiced bodies (don’t focus too much on the plot, k?). With her drippy partner in crime, brother Brett (Lacy), Claire (Akerman) plans to get what she needs and blow this popsicle stand so she can continue her genetic editing research and gain back everything lost. But she’s not counting on the power of brotherly love is she? Oh no.

The Rock isn’t about to let George get hurt so he partners with disgraced former Energyne scientist Doctor Kate Caldwell (Harris) to get him back and in the process get his hands on the existing antidote and save the city. Will they succeed before it is crushed to the ground and George is killed too? Well, there’s one real easy way to find out…

Along the way they also form an alliance with Jeffery Dean Morgan’s agent Harvey Russell and honestly, I think Russell is one of the main highlights of the film. Morgan is having so much fun! There’s also a brief appearance from Joe Manganiello (one of my faves) as a mercenary wolf hunter which I enjoyed thoroughly.

RPG202_166.tif

This film was fun with a capital F and doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Dwayne Johnson is so likable that I don’t think I’ve ever disliked him on film – he has so much talent in his over developed body, I’m a massive fan. Likewise, Harris is great but you’d expect that from such a good actress.

The effects are exactly what you’d expect and the creature work is good, particularly where George is concerned. He looks and feels very real.

Unfortunately, both Akerman and Lacy are pretty whack as the evil siblings and that’s probably just about the only bad thing I can say about this adventure. Otherwise, it was a romp I was happy to be part of.

My Rating

4/5.