Mission Lab

REVIEW: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ is all about family … and punching people in the face

August 2nd, 2019 / By: Michael Foust / comments

REVIEW: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ is all about family … and punching people in the face

Credit Universal

Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw are two muscular men who never have gotten along.

They argue. They bicker. Most of all, they mock and dare one another to take the first punch.

In other words, they’re the last two men you’d want teaming up to save the world from a deadly virus.

Yet that’s exactly what the CIA has in mind. After all, Hobbs and Shaw are verygood at what they do: beating up bad guys and fighting crime.

At first, Hobbs and Shaw refuse the proposal. But then Shaw discovers his sister’s life is in danger. And then the two men learn the virus has a 100 percent mortality rate. And then they realize a brilliant mastermind wants the virus so he can wipe out Earth’s population and repopulate the planet with a human-robotic hybrid race.

Perhaps these two men aren’t the ideal duo, but with the world in peril, they’ll have to do.

The film Hobbs & Shaw(PG-13) opens this weekend, giving us a spinoff of the Fast & Furiousseries with all the things those popular movies delivered: high-speed car chases, more fisticuffs than you can count, and over-the-top action that could happen only in a Hollywood film. (My personal favorites: the car driving through the skyscraper and the tow truck battling a helicopter.)

Like the Fast and Furiousmovies, Hobbs & Shaw also gives us a family-centric plot with a great message. But that doesn’t mean it’s family-friendly. It has a ton of language and violence. And it has more jokes about the male anatomy than I’ve ever heard in a film.

It stars Dwayne Johnson as Hobbs, Jason Statham as Shaw, Vanessa Kirby as Hattie (Shaw’s sister) and Idris Elba as Brixton, a human-robot hybrid who wants to spread the virus.

Warning: minor/moderate spoilers!

(Scale key: none, minimal, moderate, extreme)

Violence/Disturbing

Extreme. The film is wall-to-wall punches to the face, punches to the stomach, and kicks to the groin. People get thrown out windows and beaten up with metal chairs. Gunshots are prominent, and we see people fall down, presumably dead. Cars explode. We see three torture scenes: two mild ones and a third that includes men being shocked with jumper cables and a car battery. The film doesn’t have excessive bloodshed, but it more than makes up for it in other areas.

Sexuality/Sensuality/Nudity

Moderate. The film includes no nudity or bedroom scenes, but we briefly see scantily clad women at a party (some in underwear-type apparel). We see a man and a woman kiss twice. Shaw tells Hobbs not to mess with his sister in the romance realm. Hobbs replies with an implicit reference to sex. The film is full of innuendo about the male anatomy.  We see Hobbs and other men shirtless.

Coarse Language

Moderate/extreme. S--t (11), h-ll (8), a-- (6), SOB (4), GD (3), d--n (2), misuse of “Jesus” (2) and f-word (1 or 2)

Other Positive Elements

For all its testosterone, Hobbs & Shawis a movie about family, regret and redemption. Hobbs would do anything for his nine-year-old daughter, although he is estranged from his mother and brothers. Likewise, Shaw doesn’t have a good relationship with his sister. I won’t spoil the plot for you, but the film has a redemptive ending. 

Other Stuff You Might Want To Know

We see people drink alcohol.

Life Lessons

Family is essential. It’s fun watching a tough guy like Hobbs spend quality time with his daughter. It reminded me of the old saying, “Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad. “

It’s never too late to go home and make amends. Hobbs proves that’s the case.

Optimism is always needed. Shaw, despite his faults, is a positive person. This trait comes in handy when his sister nearly dies.

Mothers should be honored.One major character gives us a good example of this.

Worldview/Application

The Fast and Furiousseries always has delivered conflicting messages about women. On the one hand, the series objectifies women. On the other hand, it holds up marriage and the family unit as a priceless ideal.

“I spent my whole life running away,” Hobbs says. “... My own daughter doesn’t even know her own family.”

“You can change that,” Hattie responds.

No, Hobbs & Shaw isn’t a pro-family movie in the realm of the faith-based move Courageous. But it’s nice to see a family-affirming message in a PG-13 action flick.  

What Works

The pro-family, redemptive message. The action. I’m a sucker for car chase scenes. Hobbs & Shawdelivers.

What Doesn’t

Could we cut down on the male anatomy jokes if there is a sequel?

Discussion Questions

1. Why is it sometimes difficult to make amends with family members? What is the solution?

2. Both Hobbs and Shaw had major regrets about their past. Do you? Is it possible to begin anew?

3. What, if anything, can Hobbs and Shaw teach us about “loving your enemy”?

4. What was the key to Hobbs and Shaw learning how to get along?

Entertainment rating:3 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating:2 out of 5 stars.

Rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language.