Back in 2001 when the ‘Fast and Furious” franchise started, the stakes were simple ...
Back in 2001 when the ‘Fast and Furious” franchise started, the stakes were simple. An undercover cop played by the late Paul Walker infiltrates a gang in an effort to topple a theft ring using super fast cars. He discovers a ring all right, but it’s not the one he originally infiltrated. It’s headed by Dominick Toretto, played by Vin Diesel, and the “gang” is more family than criminals.
Things would have evolved nicely for a planned franchise due to the enormous success of the first movie, but Diesel’s reluctance to dive back in and reworking of the plot structures for subsequent movies ended up with an eventual soft reboot. Eventually, the series took on more espionage plots and less emphasis on showing off fast cars. Then, Paul Walker died tragically in a car accident and the stories veered into more dramatic territory.
Along the way, somebody noticed the goofy chemistry between two characters: Hobbs and Shaw. Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, 47, is a Samoan federal agent working for the United States Diplomatic Service. British Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, 52, comes from a shadier background but for the sake of this movie, he’s had Special Forces training and has done espionage for the queen.
In the movies “Furious 7” and “Fate of the Furious” their relationship was largely adversarial, but here they are forced to work together when a programmable virus turns up missing and Shaw’s sister Hattie, played by Vanessa Kirby, 31, is named as the culprit.
The chemistry between Johnson and Statham works so well one wonders why these guys haven’t been put together before. They are like a bulked out Abbott and Costello, a faster and more furious Martin and Lewis, a deadly sober Cheech and Chong. The list could go on. A lot of that is, of course, due to direction by David Leitch and a zippy script by Chris Morgan and Drew Pierce which uses their initial animosity spoken through often hilarious one-liners and offhand ranking.
As the villain, Idris Elba, 46, turns up as a cyber-enhanced super soldier named Brixton who works for a mysterious figure seen only as a strange digital display. Always impressive, Elba isn’t given an opportunity to use his formidable acting chops in this.
Another pleasant surprise is Kirby, who holds her own among all this testosterone. And, by the way, try not to pay attention to the part in the story where we see Hattie and Shaw as kids pulling grifts in their neighborhood. Owing to the 21 year difference between them, that’s a bit of a stretch even for the “F&F” franchise. Still, it’s a bit of mindless fun that is not a bad way to chill out in a theater with awesome A.C.
Tempo grade: B+
“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw” is rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language.
It is screening daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For showtimes, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.
Also showing in Taos.
MPAA rating: R for language throughout and some sexual references.
Taos Community Auditorium
Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson) is a pioneer and legendary host on the late-night talk-show circuit. When she's accused of being a "woman who hates women," she puts affirmative action on the to-do list, and presto! — Molly (Mindy Kaling) is hired as the one woman in Katherine's all-male writers' room.
But Molly might be too little too late, as the formidable Katherine also faces the reality of low ratings and a network that wants to replace her. Wanting to prove she's not merely a diversity hire who's disrupting the comfort of the brotherhood, Molly is determined to help Katherine revitalize her show and career--and possibly effect even bigger change at the same time.
Directed by Nisha Gantra and written by Kaling, this comedy co-stars John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Denis O’Hare and Max Casella.
This film will be screened at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 4) and 7:30 p.m. Monday through
Wednesday (Aug. 5-7) at the Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.
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