Hobbs and Shaw has it all: hypermasculinity, babes, & cars

Summary: I enjoyed watching Hobbs and Shaw (H&S). it has heart and emotional depth, with great acting, fantastic special effects, fast pacing, and excellent cinematography. Do not think about it; that will ruin the experience. It shows us seldom-mention and interesting aspects of America. No spoilers!

Hobbs and Shaw poster

H&S gives the videogame experience without the work of mastering a game. Experience driving fast cars doing impossible feats (the shocks are the true heroes of the film). Blithely disregard laws (it is a world with few police). Run through a hail of gunfire (as always in films, bad guys cannot shoot well). Easily beat up large numbers of bad guys. Hang out with hot babes. It is a 14-year-old boy’s dream of masculinity. And deep down in most of us guys is our 14-year-old self, who can still enjoy films like this.

Unfortunately, the dialog sounds as if it was written by a 14-year-old-boy (albeit a smart one, who has heard of Nietzsche). Worse, the men act like 14-year-old boys. Throughout the entire film the Hobbs and Shaw exchange schoolyard insults – and with the world at stake, they cannot work together (until the clock runs down and the film is ending). The other males are just as pitiful, in different ways.

I could describe the plot. But why bother? See the trailer below. Anyway, it makes little sense and is generic. The action is cartoonish. The heroes are indestructible, which drains the many fight scenes of their drama.

The film depicts many fascinating aspects of modern America, putting things we do not see in ourselves up on the big screen. I will mention just a few here.

Hobbs and Madame M (Eiza González), both in their actionware.

Hobbs and Madame M (in her actionware).

An important point, emphasized by many of the critics – do not worry, PC gender norms are observed in the film. The women kick ass as well as the men, and are both smarter and more mature. For example, the women are the hackers (as usual in film-world). When the men act as fools, women set them straight. Dads are bad guys; moms are the voice of reason. And, also as usual in film-world, the women initiate first kisses.

The three leads are opposites. US Diplomatic Service agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) lives a middle-class life in LA. He plays the role like he is channeling a friendly Conan the Barbarian. Debonair but cranky criminal (retired?) Shaw (Jason Statham) enjoys a luxury lifestyle in London, because crime pays well in this film. MI-6 agent Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) is the standard action girl. As usual for these, she dresses like a guy, but with a cosmetic-heavy beautiful face. She does a lot with a shallowly-written role.

The minor male characters are the plot’s butt-monkeys. The minor women characters are wise, powerful, and competent.

Idris Elba gives a powerful and nuanced portrayal of Brixton, the evil Black superman. He works for a Leftist organization. Like many Leftist organizations, it is mostly white men with a few token others. Like its counterpart in Kingsman: The Secret Service, they believe that people are destroying the world, so we need a lot fewer of them. That is a logical deduction from the Extinction Rebellion’s propaganda; let’s hope nobody competent applies it. In H&S they are also traditionalists, returning the Left to is early-20th-century advocacy of eugenics (e.g., Margaret Sanger): they plan a genocide of the weak.

Like Return Of The Jedi and Avatar, the film ends with Ewoks (actually, giant Samoan men) using sticks to fight heavily armed mercenaries (not a spoiler: it’s in the trailer). Like its predecessors, this a fun version of the by-now boring standard big fight scene.

Some useful notes about the film.

Vanessa Kirby
Vanessa Kirby.

What the critics say.

You know what the favorable reviews say without reading them. The “rotten” reviews are more interesting and show the film’s flaws. Not that they matter in a F&F film.

Beefy, bald and back to save the world” by Jake Wilson in the Sydney Morning Herald. Deadly accurate commentary.

“The first The Fast and the Furious debuted in 2001. Back then, the series tapped into the long forgotten thirst by bros to admire cars, women, chases of women and cars, and high octane dumb action sequences. The action regularly grinds to a halt so they can trade elaborate putdowns, which give every sign of having been crafted by writers whose practical experience of brawling has occurred mostly on Twitter. The total effect isn’t so far from the spoofing of machismo which is a speciality of Will Ferrell – as director David Leitch underlines via the bemused reactions of Vanessa Kirby as Shaw’s sister Hattie, a slinky secret agent who is also a voice of wry British common sense.”

Hobbs and Shaw sputters to the end” by Robert Daniels at 812 Film Reviews. I agree with this.

“The final chase sequence lacks sharpness and punch. Much of this owes to the lack of practical effects and stunts, and cars too. Instead, these chases rely on more CG than any other Fast and Furious, and it shows, because the CG isn’t high quality either, even with the movie’s $200 mill. budget. Instead, shots are out of focus, and the cuts are generic in pacing.”

A Bloated, Numbing Action Spectacle” by Julian Roman at MovieWeb. This nails the weaknesses of the film.

Hobbs & Shaw pours more octane and adrenaline into the Fast & Furious formula. The result is a bloated CGI spectacle that’s near cartoonish at times. Action guru David Leitch, who directed John Wick and Deadpool 2, loses focus in the barrage of fights, chases, and explosions. The onslaught has no flow. The scenes in the beginning are better executed than the finale. At a numbing two hours and sixteen minutes, everything blurs together. What works is the chemistry of the leads and locker room humor. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham chew up the screen with their juvenile banter.

“The first showdown with Brixton and ensuing motorcycle versus McLaren chase is amazing. David Leitch, who spent years as a top stuntman and stunt coordinator, delivers an expertly choreographed sequence. The problem is that nothing else in the film compares to it. Everything that follows looks like a video game. The over the top action becomes blase, a deluge of CGI filler.

“Hobbs & Shaw pummel baddies nonstop throughout the film. The problem is that the faceless attackers line up for a beatdown on queue. Bad guys mill about in the background, then take their turn like dominoes. Hobbs & Shaw are just as invincible as Idris Elba’s cyborg Superman. They fall out of buildings, smash through walls, and nary a scratch. The fisticuffs become tedious when there’s no danger involved.”

For more information

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  1. “Justice League” is the film we need, not the one we deserve.
  2. “Avengers: Infinity War” is boring. Watch some anime instead.
  3. Aquaman rocks. Also, the future of superhero flicks.
  4. Captain Marvel – fun for kids, swill for adults.
  5. SHAZAM! It’s fun indoctrination for kids.
  6. “Avengers Endgame” is three slow hours of fun and sorrow.
  7. “Spiderman: Far From Home” – Spidey returns to his roots.

Trailer for Hobbs and Shaw

11 thoughts on “Hobbs and Shaw has it all: hypermasculinity, babes, & cars”

  1. I think Lord of the Rings in regards to the fellowship of the ring had a much more mature model of masculinity compared to this movie.

      1. I think one many men lost the sense of authentic masculinity. All they have left is either a immature concept of masculinity or an effeminate parody of masculinity.

      2. info,

        “I think one many men lost the sense of authentic masculinity.”

        That nails it. Male and female roles are social constructs, and must be passed on from one generation to the next. We’ve dropped the ball on masculinity. I’ll bet we are now dropping the ball on femininity. New roles are evolving in the vacuum. We’ll see if they work as well for individuals and society.

  2. The action regularly grinds to a halt so they can trade elaborate putdowns, which give every sign of having been crafted by writers whose practical experience of brawling has occurred mostly on Twitter.

    I might be an outlier on this, but this kind of stuff always feels like women’s caricature of what men’s relationships are like. The remake of Hawaii Five O comes to mind as the epitome of this. The constant bickering between Steve McGarrett and Danny Williams is like nails scraping across a chalk board to me. They bicker like an annoying married couple. But as I say I may be an outlier, because I see that the show is planning a season 10.

    Contrast that with what I see as a much more realistic and compelling portrayal of men’s friendships: Good Will Hunting. Affleck pulls up and hands Damon a cup of coffee as Damon gets into the car. No words need be spoken.

    1. Dalrock,

      That nails it! It’s women and soyboys idea of how men’s relationships work.

      “I may be an outlier, because I see that the show is planning a season 10.”

      That raises a bigger question: who watches network TV? From what little I see, and that’s pretty dated (I stopped watching years ago), the shows feature weak (even pitiful) dads and broken men – and women who are some combination of powerful, mature, strong, and wise. Gender-bending is de rigor (e.g., Forever, NCIS LA, Castle) – where the girl is the guy in the relationship.

      Plus the TV shows (and films) featuring women breaking alpha men into sniveling betas – most recently, the new “Lost in Space” and “Blue Bloods.”

      Combine this with the commercials that are either feminist (e.g., the recent Gillette ad, this by Budweiser) – or are brutal putdowns of men. My favorite is this Red Robin commercial.

      The result are TV channels that consist of sports plus shows designed by Oxygen’s programming team (the channel by and for women).

      The Left is building a new world around us, brick by brick.

    2. Women have been affirmative actioned (either by legal mandate or culturally) into writer’s roles in Hollywood. Women have proven over thousands of years that they cannot create or innovate at all, with very, very few exceptions, like a half-dozen. But there they are, writing scripts in Hollywood and advertising. The only narrative they are capable of is ‘female empowerment/men are disappointing.’ Every ad, movie script, remake (lots of remakes, see my 2nd sentence), and even a toothpaste commercial has to be a nod to Grrrrl power/men are disappointing. They can’t come up with anything else. It’s the only narrative that they are capable of even though they’ve been given a position which should be reserved for the world’s most creative minds.

      I wonder if dying cultures throughout time were characterized by the inability to craft new narratives. It would be a hard thing to pin down. But look at the explosion of creativity in literature, music, and, later, movies from 1850-1980. Countless, constant new genres. But in the last 20 years, just a bunch of retread narratives. Anything new is just due to new technology, not new narratives or creativity. Literature has turned into hyphenated American pseudo-visionaries whose every story is an identity-politics whine fest and not even fiction. It’s just thinly veiled auto-hagiography with victimhood equaling sainthood/hero status. No new narratives at all. The corpse is starting to reek.

  3. Agree with last exchange between you and “Dalrock”. Don’t watch network tv. Don’t go to movies. I go to pawn shops and library to keep as much of my money and deny Hollywood as much as possible.

    Action and Sci-Fi movies are escapist fun to me. My favorites are John Wick and Alien Saga.

    Have you seen latest Tarzan? You might like that better. Masculinity and femininity are well presented compared to the crap you describe.

    Off topic: Like many vets, I’m a member of the American Legion. Following your advise I decided to become more active. Learning about the organization has been taking some time. Their website is extensive. Lots of good opportunities to serve.

    I notice they have a blog, The Burn Pit. Along with it there is a blogroll. It’s in alphabetical order. You, McGregor or Chet Richards aren’t on it. What was is disheartening. Check it out.

  4. Additional OT:

    No shirts yet but you should see my big black Ford. Across the tinted rear window covering width, “fabiusmaximus.com. Restoring the spirit of a nation grown cold.”

    The person who did the appleque messed it up. It slopes downward noticably. She’s really sorry and wanted to refund me. I said, “No. I’ll keep it up for a while. It may draw more attention that way.” It seems to be working. I’ve seen people pull over on Left side of freeway after I pass them and soon they passed me! They must have stopped to take down site name. I hope so.

    I’ll get it fixed soon and make it better too!

    1. Sven,

      Thanks for posting that! It’s like a parody of a feminist film review. For thirty years we have had smart, brave, self-less, mature, kick-ass heroines – without flaws. Yet feminists are impressed with each new one that comes off the Hollywood assembly line.

      Nancy repeats a common whine: these super-perfect heroines get too little attention. The reason is obvious, albeit not to them: they’re perfect. No drama. No personal growth. They’re boring, like the well-dressed, well-behaved girl in grade school with perfect spelling and A’s on every test.

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