Review – Silly & Sillier (“Fast & Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw”)

Like a Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck Looney Tunes cartoon, this Fast ‘n’ Furious splinter film features two of its favorite side-characters. It’s no secret that The Rock and Vin Diesel are not speaking to each other and refuse to do a movie together, so this flick was invented about the two frenemies of the franchise.

Welcome to the Fast ‘n’ Furious universe where logic, psychics, gravity, and actual physical human pain & suffering simply don’t exist. That’s right! Cars and bikes can perform the most jaw-dropping, unimaginable stunts you’ve ever seen, defying the laws of gravity, while ordinary humans can walk away from jumping out a 100 story building, smash-land on a car, and still get up to engage in a brutal fight. And that’s just in the first act!

To prevent the theft of a world-wide pantheon virus (is there any other kind?), super bad-ass MI-6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) has to inject the virus into herself to keep super-duper badder-bad-ass guy, Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), from stealing it. But Brixton isn’t your run-of-the-mill baddie, not by a long-shot. This “black Superman” has been genetically enhanced & modified by an evil clandestine group called Eteon, who’s run by a creepy disembodied voice. . .but if saw the last movie, you pretty much know who it is. This means Brixton is unstoppable, unkillable, and has a Transformers-like tricked-out motorcycle.

Anyway, assigned to stop this guy (and find the infected Hattie) is former super MI-6 agent (and Hattie’s brother), Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) and DSS agent, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who’s recruited by his CIA ‘handler’, Locke (Ryan Reynolds in full Deadpool mode). Needless to say, Shaw & Hobbs hate each other and are constantly hurling bards and insults at each other, but when Hattie is almost captured by Brixton, they have to team up to rescue here. Problem is, they gotta get that darn virus out of her quickly and the only way is to hook her up to a special machine. In Russia. In an impenetrable fortress. AND they’re globally wanted for espionage! Sounds like fun!

Once that unbelievable plan is carried out (and it’s spectacular, to say the least), Hattie, Shaw, and Hobbs go to Samoa to stand their ground when Brixton and his gang come calling to get that virus back. At over two hours it does get to be too much after a while with all the constant chases, fights, more chases, more fights, and even MORE chases and MORE fights. But I will say this, real or CGI imagined, some of these stunts were the best I’ve ever seen. I actually held my breath on a few of them! It’s pure eye-candy & ridiculousness as NO vehicle (or human) could EVER do the stuff these cars, trucks, helicopters, and motorcycles could ever do, but boy! Does it ever look fan-freakin’-tastic!

Chris Morgan (Furious 7) & Drew Pierce (Hotel Artemis) don’t skimp on the action, silliness, massive plot holes, machismo, or comedy, because this testosterone-laden movie is full of lotsa fun things: fast cars, kick-ass girls & guys, things getting blown up, dumb humor (courtesy of Kevin Hart’s cameo), and the aforementioned chase & fights. LOTS of them! Director David Leitch knows his audience well, having directed Deadpool 2 & Atomic Blonde, two films with total action and amazing stunts. Johnson & Statham make a great pair, slinging insults off each other as they beat the crap out of the bad guys.

Idris Elba is truly a black Superman, showing off his villainous side and having a fun time doing it, but it’s Vanessa Kirby that shines the most with her big, beautiful blue eyes (reminds me of Amanda Seyfried), her wow-factor fighting skills, and playful demeanor with the boys. Hopefully she’ll stick around in the franchise some more. So, put your brain on hold, and just enjoy the pure popcorn, sheer nonsense, and utter chaos that is this movie.

Tango & Cash (1989)

Buddy cop movies are nothing new. Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, 21 Jump Street, Bad Boys, The Other Guys, etc. But how many can boast the pairing of John Rambo and Jack Burton? With tongue placed firmly in cheek and a complete disregard for any logic, plot, or human decency, I give you a movie that is all goofiness.

Ladies & gentlemen, meet two of L.A.’s finest. Beverly Hill’s LAPD Lt. Raymond Tango (Sly Stallone) and downtown L.A. LAPD Lt. Gabriel Cash (Kurt Russell). Both have a nasty reputation for disrupting crime and getting into hot water for doing things “their way”. Now Tango wears Armani suits, reads the Wall Street Journal, drives a Cadillac, and quips lines like, “Rambo was a pussy”. Cash, on the other hand, is a slob wearing tattered jeans, cowboy boots, and drives a Ford Mustang. Can these two actually work together without driving each other crazy?

Put together, Tango & Cash have disrupted L.A. crime lord’s Yves Perret (Jack Palance) smuggling operation for the last time and so, instead of killing them (’cause that would be too easy), Perret develops an elaborate scheme to discredit them, humiliate them, have them throw in a prison in which HE runs, and finally torture them to death. Well, that sounds like more fun, huh? Perret’s plan proves perfect and the pair are packed away to prison. Needless to say, half the inmates there were put away by either Tango or Cash. Uh-oh. While Tango and Cash are keeping busy not dying, they gotta figure out how to exonerate themselves. Fortunately, the warden helps them escape from the gruesome electro-shock treatment they’re getting from some bad guys.

Once out and on the run, Cash finds Katherine (Teri Hatcher), Tango’s beautiful stripper sister who’ll help them out. From there, their old commanding officer gives them just 24hrs to find the evidence to clear their name, and they do this by “borrowing’ a tricked-out police assault vehicle and go all ballistic into Perret’s HQ. Yes, there’s shoot-out’s a’plenty, explosives galore, fights and more fights, and non-stop bickering between Stallone and Russell as they engage in a never-ending game of machismo. Hello, 80’s movie!!

Now for the fun stuff: How this movie was ever made is a miracle. Produced by wacky Jon Peters, his demands for having this film done were legendary. Stallone wanted a serious cop-buddy movie, while Peters wanted a more goofy, sillier tone. Actors, writers, and directors were fired left and right by Peters as this project fell into development hell. After a legal battle, the production began, but was beset by problems: director Andrei Konchalovsky and Peters constantly butted heads on the script by Randy Feldman (re-written by Jeffrey Boam of Lethal Weapon fame). Then it was edited to death, sending the budget to well over its original mark.

What happened? The movie DID recoup its losses, and did respectable at the box office, but it’s just as Peters wanted; a silly, contrived, action-groaner with two top stars who got a fat paycheck for a flick that eventually went to the K-Mart bargain bin the following year. It’s actually not too bad, Stallone and Russell KNOW they’re just in it for the money and have some fun with a terrible script and dumbed-down dialogue.

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