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Fast & Furious . . . is both! [MOVIE REVIEW]

The story behind the newest edition of this series, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is relatively simple. A virus which threatens all humankind is up for grabs. Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) team-up to keep the virus out of the hands of mechanical man, Brixton (Idris Elba). Brixton represents a group that wants to use the deadly serum to weed out those they believe to be inferior. The situation is complicated by the fact that the virus is housed in a capsule implanted in the arm of a British agent, named Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), who also happens to be Shaw’s sister.

Fast & Furious is fabulous. There’s frankly not much new about the storyline. Hobbs and Shaw don’t like each other. It’s not that unusual to have a conflict between guys on the same side. Of course, there has to be eye candy which Vanessa Kirby provides. Like all films of this genre, there’s punching and kicking that would break faces, arms, and legs in real life but of course, in the movies, characters walk away from these battles unscathed. Finally, there are the must-have daredevil car and trucks feats.

The director, David Leitch takes all of this we have seen before and makes it seem new.

There’s a lot of verbiage in this film. Much of it is tied to the bickering between Hobbs and Shaw. There are also lines that are difficult to disgust. When confronted with an unexpected situation, Hobbs says, “What the fresh turkey hell!” If I were Johnson, I would have used my prerogative as a star to rephrase or skip that line all together!

The action is indescribable and is simply a feast for the eyes.

The cast is exceptional. Johnson, Statham, and Elba meld together in a way that leads to the excellent execution of this script. However, Hollywood has been criticized for sexism and ageism especially pertaining to women. Deckard and Hattie are siblings. Childhood photos show that he’s five to six years older than her. However, Statham is actually 21 years older than, Kirby, his onscreen little sister.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw gets an A- for cast diversity. It is strongly diverse except for the absence of prominent appearances by Hispanics.

The film is estimated to have cost a whopping $200 million to produce. It should make that back and more! It’s rated PG-13 and is a lengthy two hours and 18 minutes. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw gets a See It rating!

Enjoy the holiday and skip Baywatch this weekend [MOVIE REVIEW]

 

The elite Baywatch lifeguard team sets up to hold tryouts for the new season. Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) leads the team. Among those trying out is two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Brody has struggled recently and being one of the lifeguards is part of his rehabilitation plan. However, the old school Buchannon and the new arrival Brody don’t see eye-to-eye on much which leads to what might be called a shark fight. Against this backdrop, there are also bodies being found in the Baywatch waters.

Baywatch ultimately drowns in a sea of implausible story lines. But there is enough of an entertainment value to eke out a Rent It rating.

First, the idea of a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner trying out for a lifeguard crew is so amusing that no matter how hard the writers try to breathe life into that plot line, it flounders. Next, there’s the Baywatch team investigating a crime ring, complete with going undercover. There is also dubious dialogue. One of the characters explains that if the owner of a seaside restaurant were to die, the property would go to the city. What? If he is truly the owner then it would be a part of his estate and go to his heirs. But why let well-known facts get in the way of telling a story that has no credibility anyway?

Great bodies are not enough to save this movie. Great bodies are all over TV, the internet, magazines and on the big screen. They are no longer unique or special.

Baywatch does make a few splashes. Like Buchannon’s constant run-ins with the nerdy police sergeant Ellebe (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II). Sometimes the officer simply can’t tell whether he’s being complimented or insulted when talking to Buchannon. It’s good to see Johnson, who is also a producer of Baywatch, looking massively muscular at the age of 45; he’s a walking, talking example of the age is just a number theory.

The music is eclectic but fitting: Beach Boys, Chi-Lites, Commodores, and the Bee Gees.

Baywatch gets an “A” for cast diversity. The cast looks like America – at least racially. Other cast members include Priyanka Chopra, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ifenesh Hadera. It should be noted that there are very few old folks in the film.

Baywatch is rated “R” for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity; it is 116 minutes in length. There’s not enough here to justify going to the theater to see Baywatch, this Memorial Day weekend. But later if you have a chance to Rent It, please do.

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