James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay // Film Critic
FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW
To call FAST AND FURIOUS PRESENT: HOBBS & SHAW anything but ridiculous would be a gross offensive to the absurdity that takes place in every single frame of this spin-off. This film takes a similar, yet far divergence on what made the previous entries in the series palatable pieces of big-budget spectacle with a comedic approach that throws all logic out the window.
Directed by David Leitch (DEADPOOL 2), who has gone on to be a legend in the stunt industry, has fashioned himself as a pretty damn-good action director who throws in just the right amount of humor along the way. This entry takes a detour and pits the entire series two most bankable stars, Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham (Sorry, Vin, you didn’t make the cut), into an adventure where the smack talk flies and often as the punches. Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Statham) found memorable chemistry in FAST 8 that involved fighting in an airplane while protecting an infant. It was easy to see they were bound to make a movie out of the experience.
In the movie, the bald duo is up against Brixton (Idris Elba), a genetically modified superhuman. Brixton is out to obtain a world-ending virus that favors a mechanical humanoid future. Caught in the middle is Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby), who has been injected with the virus. Now it’s up to these two brutish bozos to come together and save the world. It’s big, it’s fun, it’s nonsensical – it’s exactly what you’d expect from the “9th” installment in this franchise. Somehow, someway these movies are still as effective as ever. Film producers take note: have fun with these movies.
Special Features: Feature Commentary with David Leitch, 38 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, Featurettes ranging from a 10-minute alternate opening, Bad Guy, Progress of a Fight Scene, Choreography.
Feature Commentary: David Leitch went all out on this release by not only doing an in-depth track but appearing on camera in a lot of the features to talk about his directing style. Shout out to you, David Leitch. You’re making action movies fun for the first time in a long time.
Deleted Scenes: These scenes really don’t add up to much in terms of bringing more to the narrative fabric of the film. However, if you are looking for extended goofs and improvisations from the laundry list of cameos in the film, you are in luck. Some of these scenes are tiny little 30 second snippets that add an extra tag to the scene, and others are full-on new takes on jokes, insults, and facial expressions. If you are just dying for more HOBBS & SHAW, then check it out; others need not apply.
Featurettes: Like most extra, these snippets suffer from being just that, shards of information that are over in a flash. Editing these into a feature-length documentary would be much more enjoyable, however, after a 135-minute long movie, not many people would want to follow it up with an 80 minute long documentary of what they just watched. However, the team in this film put a lot of love into these features to show the filmmaking process in a way that hits hard and keeps the same goofy tone of the film.
Rated R, 102 minutes
Directed by: Andrea Berloff
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss, Domhnall Gleeson, James Badge Dale, Brian d’Arcy James, Jeremy Bobb, Margo Martindale, Bill Camp
Director Andrea Berloff’s THE KITCHEN was absolutely blasted when it came to theaters, but our theatrical review by Courtney Howard praised the character-building and themes of the film.
Berloff’s gritty crime saga certainly wasn’t worthy of the tongue lashing, and meager box office take. It was one of the more original, yet familiar studio films in recent months. The problem people had is it never achieves the heights of so many films it resembles like HUSTLERS, which found success just a month later. Hollywood can be cruel and unpredictable.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Ollie Masters, THE KITCHEN stars three veterans of the screen – Melissa McCarthy (giving her career-best), Elizabeth Moss (who goes on a twisted streak) and Tiffany Haddish (who asserts herself as a style god in this film). They each help to aide a story that needs some fine-tuning. Berloff’s film takes many shapes before arriving at an atypical conclusion.
Supporting roles from Domnhall Gleeson, Brian d’Arcy James, and James Badge Dale bring a little extra flavor to the film’s world that feels dangerous and progressive. THE KITCHEN, at times, feels a bit overcooked. However, there’s unpredictable originality to the story that makes for a nice concoction of crime and glamour.
Special Features: Running Hell’s Kitchen, Taking Over The Neighborhood, Deleted Scene.
Running Hell’s Kitchen: The featurette shows off the vision Berloff had for the film told straight from the perspective of the filmmaker. You see how she partnered with novelist Masters to bring this world to the modern age but keep the gritty feel of the 70s.
Taking Over The Neighborhood: A five-minute stroll through the sets the production designer created and gives a little advice for any artists interested in creating a period piece.
HOBBS & SHAW and THE KITCHEN are available on Blu ray and digital now.