“HOBBS & SHAW” ACTION GONE WILD; AMAZON SUMMER ON TV
A Film and TV Review by Tim Riley
“FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW” (Rated PG-13) The appeal of the latest film in “The Fast & Furious” universe requests squarely on the broad shoulders of fan favorites Dwayne Johnson (still “The Rock” to many of us) and Jason Statham.
A shorthand review need only state that if you liked the previous films in the franchise, then chances are “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” has to be on your radar.On the other hand, if you are the least bit ambivalent or worse, or you couldn’t make the slog through all of the previous eight films, skipping this one could be an option.
Keep in mind, however, that “Hobbs & Shaw” is a departure from the norm. For instance, Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto is neither present nor mentioned, and as a result, this one doesn’t feel like an entry in the “Furious” canon.
Hulking lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), a loyal American agent, and lawless outcast Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s “Furious 7.”
The duo were not in any way compatible, swapping smack talk and body blows as they tried to take each other down. What happens when these two sworn enemies have to team up is the genesis of “Hobbs & Shaw.”
The bad guy is a superb Idris Elba as the cyber-genetically enhanced Brixton, an indestructible super soldier with the misguided notion of unleashing biological destruction of most of the world’s population.
Shaw’s estranged sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), a fearless MI6 agent, has gone rogue after retrieving the top secret bio weapon that Hobbs and Shaw are tasked to find. Needless to say, Brixton goes on a wild killing spree while in the hunt.
With plenty of banter and one-liners mixed in with the action-packed globetrotting adventure, the incessant physical battles and shootouts are occasionally interrupted by family reunions, such as Shaw visiting his imprisoned mother, the wonderful Helen Mirren.
“Hobbs & Shaw” checks the boxes of action and car chases, and of silliness and humor. Late in the game, the thin plot becomes even more noticeable but by then no one cares. You came to see Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham in action, and that’s what matters most.
AMAZON SUMMER SHOWS ON TV
Just like its competitor Netflix, Amazon Prime Video does not adhere to network television’s traditional rollout of new shows. New series pop up in every season, offering more choices than any sentient being has time to consume.
Amazon’s successful global network is undeniable, as Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, noted during the summer TV press tour that the “most successful shows ever on the history of our service are the ones that have debuted over the last year.”
For the summer, Amazon provides an antidote to the excesses of the superhero genre with the new series “The Boys,” which is a counterpart to the world of the costumed idols in the Marvel and DC Comics universe.
Superheroes are no longer noble or even heroic in a place where Hughie (Jack Quaid) suffers a devastating loss at the hands of a reckless superhero and discovers there is no legal recourse for victims of their collateral damage.
While still reeling from his trauma, Hughie meets mysterious operative Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), who recruits him in his pursuit of some vigilante justice against those who are not exactly caped crusaders for the public good.
“The Boys” is an irreverent take on what happens when superheroes, who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods, abuse their superpowers.
A band of outsiders embark on a quest to expose the truth about The Seven, which consists of warriors that bear a thinly-veiled resemblance to the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman, among others.
Arriving in late August is the one-hour drama series “Carnival Row,” set in a Victorian fantasy world filled with mythological immigrant creatures whose exotic homelands were invaded by the empires of man.
This growing population struggles to coexist with humans, forbidden to live, love, or fly with freedom. But even in darkness, hopes lives when two central characters spark an illicit romance.
Orlando Bloom’s human detective Rycroft Philostrate, and a refugee faerie named Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) rekindle a dangerous affair despite an increasingly intolerant society.
Vignette harbors a secret that endangers Philostrate’s world during his most important case yet, consisting of a string of gruesome murders threatening the uneasy peace of the Row.
Not surprisingly, peculiar characters inhabit the series. Simon McBurney is an eccentric traveling showman leading a troupe of strange creatures.
David Gyasi’s Agreus is a mysterious wealthy faun who moves into an affluent human neighborhood in defiance of the social order. Many more odd characters populate the social divide.
Amazon has faith in “Carnival Row” because Jennifer Salke revealed, even before the series’ debut, that the company is so excited and invested in the show that it’s been renewed for a second season.