Once upon a time, in the summer of 2001, a young and only moderately swole Vin Diesel appeared in The Fast and the Furious as Dominic Toretto, an L.A. ex-con who organized drag races, stole DVD players off the backs of trucks, and got in trouble with the local law. From this modest beginning, thanks to the vagaries of studio franchising and the enduring cinematic appeal of fast cars and big muscles, Hobbs & Shaw has sprouted into existence 18 years later. Out today, the globe-trotting action thriller sees the American superspy Luke Hobbs (played by Dwayne Johnson) and the reformed British supervillain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) fight a man who refers to himself as “Black Superman” (Idris Elba) for control of an indestructible super-virus. And they say Hollywood’s running out of ideas!
The nonsensical intricacies of how a lunkheaded car-chase movie managed to spin off a ’roided-out James Bond clone that doesn’t even involve Diesel are too much to get into—just know that the story involves a lot of behind-the-scenes ego. Whatever the reasons, Hobbs & Shaw is roaring into theaters with the burly prefix “Fast & Furious Presents,” a garnish so ludicrous-sounding that I’d love to see it attached to more upcoming titles. Fast & Furious Presents: Downton Abbey. Fast & Furious Presents: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. You get the idea. Yes, Hobbs and Shaw, two supporting characters from the unwieldy Fast & Furious world, are getting the chance to do their own thing on the big screen, unencumbered by the auto antics of the main franchise. Unfortunately, this simply means more of the same silliness, just in a bigger and louder form.