By Robin E. Simmons
This spinoff of “The Fate of the Furious” focuses on Dwayne Johnson’s US Diplomatic Security Agent Luke Hobbs teaming with outcast Jason Statham’s Deckard Shaw a former British military elite operative.
Ever since their first face off in 2015’s Furious 7, the two have swapped smack talk and punches in their rivalry to take each other down.
The new chapter in their uneasy alliance shoves open a new door in the F&F universe as it races the globe, from LA to London and from the toxic irradiated wasteland of Chernobyl to the lush beauty of Samoa.
Director David Leitch directs from a script by Chris Morgan.
The very James Bondian plot has the combative duo battling Brixton (Idris Elba), a cybernetically enhanced anarchist soldier who possesses superhuman strength, a brilliant mind and a lethal pathogen that could wipe out half of the world’s population!
Vanessa Kirby steals every scene she’s in playing a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent who happens to be Shaw’s sister.
This mostly mindless but fun film is a lot like watching little kids crashing their action figures in a sandbox but without the through line of family bond.
Statham and Johnson are well matched as the leads and it’s fun to watch the sworn enemies partnering to bring down a guy who just might be badder than themselves (he calls himself “Black Superman!).
But the main draw here, as before, is the well-staged over-the-top action sequences. Question: Why does the Motion Picture Academy not have a category for stunt work? It’s way past time these incredible guys and gals are awarded well-deserved Oscars.
NEW BLU FOR THE HOME THEATER:
MOJIN: THE WORM VALLEY
Based on the bestselling novel series and a follow up to the international blockbuster “MOJIN: THE LOST LEGEND” the sequel once again finds legendary tomb explorer Hu Bayi on a dangerous and deadly mission as he searches for the tomb of Emperor Xian, located somewhere on an island of monstrous creatures in this mystical and mythical action-adventure epic
When famous tomb explorer Hu Bayi (Wang Kaixuan) and his fiancée Shirley Yang decided to retire to Manhattan after a supposedly split of the original team, Hu is pulled into a deal to locate the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess.
Now the team returns to their original vocation after a mysterious businesswoman/cult leader (Ying Caihong) challenges them to find the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess. What they eventually learn is that all she really wants is to possess a famed artifact known as the Equinox Flower that allegedly has the power to raise the dead!
This beautifully rendered and artfully crafted, lavish Asian fantasy adventure is filled with lush locations and big action, including marauding monsters from a primordial realm. The mythic narrative is engaging and satisfying. If this genre (Asian fantasy adventure) appeals to you, don’t miss this on your big screen home theater. WELL GO USA.
Written and directed by Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer, the film stars Maya Erskine, Jack Quaid, Ed Begley, Jr., Beck Bennet, Rosalind Chao, Brian Howey, Jon Bass and Finn Wittrock. It’s a fun, lightweight romantic comedy about Alice (Erskine) and Ben (Quaid), long-time friends with benefits, who find themselves in that inevitable year that all late 20-somethings experience — in which seemingly every person they know gets marries – and agree to be one another’s plus ones as they power through an endless parade of insufferable weddings only to discover something unexpected.
The home video release is the world premiere of the audience award winning “Best Narrative Feature” at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Better than expected and recommended. RLJE/Films.