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'Hobbs & Shaw' review: Fun, fast-paced, entertaining 'Fast & Furious' spinoff

When anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of a bio-threat that could alter humanity forever Luke Hobbs (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves. The "Fast & Furious" franchise spinoff is due in theaters Aug. 2, 2019.

PLOT A lawman and a mercenary join forces to stop a technologically enhanced villain.

CAST Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Idris Elba

RATED PG-13 (strong action-violence)

LENGTH 2:15

BOTTOM LINE Super-slick, stunt-driven entertainment.

What do you get when you cross "Black Panther," "Mission: Impossible," the "Fast & Furious" franchise and Hasbro's Transformers? A new kind of four-quadrant movie: "Hobbs & Shaw." 

Properly titled "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," this spinoff of the popular cars-and-criminals series has carefully surveyed the Hollywood landscape and taken note of what sells. Here's what's in: fast cars, wild stunts, supervillains and cheeky humor. Here's what's out: virtually everything else. 

The result is a mostly enjoyable movie that feels like many other mostly enjoyable movies. Reprising their "Fast & Furious" roles are Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs, a former federal agent, and Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw, a British soldier turned mercenary. The two mismatched buddies are thrown together on a case, but their target isn't the usual drug lord or arms dealer. He's a cyber-enhanced, bullet-proofed soldier named Brixton (Idris Elba, arrogant and soulful), from an organization called Eteon. They're ubermenschy, and not in a nice way. 

"I'm black Superman," Brixton says wryly, though his shape-shifting motorcycle adds an element of black Batman, too. Into this superhero-styled world drops Hattie (Vanessa Kirby), an MI6 agent who ingests a virus and becomes a ticking doomsday bomb. Kirby is convincing as a woman who can take care of herself (as she was in "Mission: Impossible — Fallout"). She even whips up a little romance with the usually asexual Johnson. 

Speaking of chemistry, Johnson and Statham play well off each other, trading insults, puffing out chests and bro-ing down. They're no Gibson-Glover or Grodin-De Niro (the script, by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce, isn't exactly focused on character development), but they'll do. 

Mostly, "Hobbs & Shaw" is concerned with keeping up the "Fast & Furious" reputation for outrageous stunt work, itself a reaction to the high standards set by the "Mission: Impossible" movies. It doesn't disappoint: Sports cars squeeze under trucks, motorcycles defy gravity, modern soldiers battle a tribe of traditional Samoans (a nod to Johnson's ancestry). Director David Leitch, of the brutally violent "Atomic Blonde," keeps the action tween-friendly, with little if any blood. 

Clearly, a lot of money, materiel and human capital (including a couple of surprise guest stars) went into "Hobbs & Shaw," and most of it pays off. Is this a fun, fast-paced, entertaining movie? You bet. Is it memorable in any way? Sorry — what were we talking about? 

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