United States: Dashboard Insights Goes To The Movies: Hobbs & Shaw Edition

As Dashboard Insights' resident Fast & Furious expert and general movie cars superfan, I hustled to the theater for opening day of the double-ampersand summer blockbuster Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.  As Fast & Furious fans are well aware, Hobbs & Shaw is a spin-off following former DSS agent turned FF "family" member Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and former villain turned "frenemy" Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham).

As is tradition, I watched the eighth installment (2017's Fate of the Furious) in anticipation of the spinoff, reliving the high (low?) speed nuclear submarine/Lamborghini Murcielago chase.  Hobbs & Shaw carries the mantle by providing ample jaw dropping automotive power and similarly reality-bending action scenes.  

The movie opens with a side-by-side comparison of Hobbs' and Shaw's morning routines—Hobbs eating raw eggs, in ripped up shirts and driving a beat up pickup truck; Shaw making perfectly seasoned omelets in tailored suits and driving a sleek sports car.  The stark differences between the characters continue to surface when Hobbs and Shaw are separately commissioned to track down the whereabouts of an apocalyptic virus.  For those who fondly recall the characters' prior jailhouse interactions, the movie provides comedic relief as the reluctant partners race against time to save the world while fighting genetically engineered supervillain Brixton (a motorcycle loving Idris Elba).  I will not give away the twists and turns in the movie, but several guest appearances further add to the bromance plotlines throughout.

And what about the most important part—the cars?  Fortunately, there was no shortage of horsepower.  The ever-present Dodge muscle car in the prior movies is left on the sidelines, in favor of Shaw's impressive collection of McLaren 720S's, boasting a twin turbo V8 M840T engine.  The movie reportedly had three McLarens on loan, and had to return two un-harmed.  Hobbs' Navistar International MXT in Fate of the Furious also provided the perfect lead-in to the juiced up Peterbilt cab and 4 x 4s in Hobbs & Shaw.  As previewed in the trailers, the Peterbilt-powered tow truck (complete with NOS) links up with a chain of other tow trucks to square off against a military grade helicopter.  We get a glimpse of a chop shop with classic muscle cars as a throwback to early FF movies, and there is even a The Italian Job throwback in the movie centered on a vintage Mini Cooper.

The movie matches Brixton with a sleek and agile Triumph Speed Triple (paired with artificial intelligence and an impressive ability to transform shape to squeeze through sticky situations).  The "bad guys" drive modified Range Rover L322s with sleek horizontal grills and yellow LED lights.  There is a nail biting scene involving the villains' lair under the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and it becomes clear many Range Rovers were injured in the making of the film.

I walked away from the movie smiling and half expecting to see souped up, NOS powered tow trucks in the tow-happy parking lot outside the theater.  And although I loved Hattie's (Vanessa Kirby) tough as nails character and flawless fight scenes, I held out hope that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) would pull up in a Local Motors Rally Fighter and offer a getaway ride.  Looking forward to the rumored all-female spinoff to come.  Pro tip—stay through the credits—all of them—for bonus scenes and additional laughs.

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