Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

F★★★ ★★

AST & Fu­ri­ous: Hobbs & Shaw is a deliri­ously overblown spin-off from the tur­bocharged ac­tion fran­chise, which in­vites Dwayne John­son and Ja­son Statham to re-flex their mus­cles as (un) friendly comrades in a war against cy­ber-ter­ror­ism.

When the lead­ing men first meet in a stand-off played for laughs, one snarls: “We’ve been down this road. It’s a to­tal waste of time.”

There’s some truth so his with­er­ing as­sess­ment.

The scriptwrit­ers pick up spare parts from ear­lier pic­tures, in­clud­ing Dame Helen Mirren as Shaw’s jail­bird mother, and re­peat­edly aban­don the laws of physics to de­liver spec­tac­u­lar set-pieces of may­hem on a gid­dily grand scale.

It’s fa­mil­iar, testos­terone­fu­elled non­sense from py­rotech­nic-laden start to chest-beat­ing fin­ish, laced with se­duc­tive sass cour­tesy of Vanessa Kirby as Statham’s feisty on-screen sis­ter.

Down­shift your brain into neu­tral and di­rec­tor David Leitch de­liv­ers a full tank of slam-bang thrills.

Sur­prises are fleet­ing – un­cred­ited cameos, three ad­di­tional scenes in the end credits – and the iden­tity of the spin-off’s shad­owy an­tag­o­nist is in­ten­tion­ally masked to add fuel to the 10th and 11th in­stal­ments of the main se­ries, which shift into top gear in sum­mer 2020 and 2021 re­spec­tively.

Crack MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Kirby) lo­cates a stolen con­sign­ment of chem­i­cal com­pound CT-17 – co­de­name Snowflake – which will liq­uefy the in­ter­nal or­gans of bil­lions of in­no­cent vic­tims if re­leased into the at­mos­phere. Cy­ber­ge­netic as­sas­sin Brix­ton Lore The birds and pigs join forces (Idris Elba) at­tempts to steal the con­ta­gion and Hattie’s only op­tion is to inject her­self.

She has 72 hours be­fore the mi­cro-cap­sules in her blood­stream re­lease Snowflake and trig­ger a global ex­tinc­tion.

Her brother, for­mer British Spe­cial Forces op­er­a­tive Deckard Shaw (Statham), races to the res­cue. Un­for­tu­nately for him, the CIA re­cruits his spar­ring part­ner, Luke Hobbs ( John­son), to track down Hattie.

The bick­er­ing brutes be­grudg­ingly join forces to pro­tect Hattie from Brix­ton, who has his­tory with Shaw. Keep on trucking: Ja­son Statham as Deckard Shaw and Dwayne John­son as Luke Hobbs

Rub­ber burns as Hobbs and Shaw re­duce swathes of prop­erty to rub­ble in the name of hu­man­ity’s sur­vival, aided by al­lur­ing arms dealer Madame M (Eiza Gon­za­lez).

Fast & Fu­ri­ous: Hobbs & Shaw de­liv­ers all four el­e­ments of its ti­tle.

John­son and Statham play up their swag­ger­ing screen per­sonas and Elba hun­grily chews scenery as the bionic bad guy with a rad­i­cal so­lu­tion to over­pop­u­la­tion.

Adren­a­line-pump­ing stunts are au­da­cious and should rev the en­gines of the fran­chise’s fan­base.

Lore unto him­self: Idris Elba as rogue op­er­a­tive Brix­ton

Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw

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