The grief-stricken plot of “Fast & Furious 7” (F&F7) in 2015 was a beautiful tribute to the actor and father, Paul Walker. Without him, fans surmised that the decade old franchise had concluded. However, an eighth installment was released in 2017 and a ninth film is set to be released in 2020.
“Fast & Furious” spin-off “Hobbs and Shaw,” released August 2019, was a risky decision given the series’ history; Would it live up to the franchise legend? Or, would it backfire and not stand a chance at the boxoffice? The previous 8 movies are not required viewing for this film, so is it really a part of the F&F franchise?
The unanticipated duo, played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, fueled quite the stir not only because the original F&F cast was nowhere to be seen, but also because their chemistry is unparalleled.
The stand-alone film is dedicated to frenemies, Luke Hobbs (played by Johnson who joined in F&F6) and Deckard Shaw (played by Statham who joined in F&F7), who reluctantly reunite to stop the genetically enhanced terrorist Brixton (played by Idris Elba). Throughout the movie the frenemies bicker like an old married couple threatening to kill each other with chairs, guns, and the most dangerous weapon: verbal insults.
Action-packed scenes were seamlessly weaved with amusing banter between both partners. One such scene had Hobbs and Shaw enter separate rooms –– filled with armed men –– to gain access to facial-recognition doors on the other side. Hobbs gets to the other side of his room within seconds and yawns, taunting Shaw who is struggling to get past all the men to reach the door.
Family is a deeply explored topic in this spin-off. The F&F franchise has always emphasized family as a priority in its films, and this spin-off was no exception. Hobbs returns to his native land of Samoa after 25 years to ask his brother for help. Shaw reunites with his sister, and the two reminisce on their wild childhood days; one of their memories even comes to their aid to defeat the genetically enhanced terrorist Brixton in the end. Both Hobbs and Shaw initially left their families to protect them, but by the end of the film they both realize that their families are their strengths, not their weaknesses.
The film hit home with much of the audience and has reaped more than $700 million at the worldwide box office, setting a unique milestone. It is risky producing a film that branches off of a major franchise, but this well-calculated risk paid off. The two hour 16 minute film does not have the same action-packed-car-racing-adrenaline moments as the previous F&F films, hence it’s a spin-off. It is purely to have a laugh at the dumb verbal skirmishes spiced with some action.
Neither character (Hobbs or Shaw) plays a major role in the F&F franchise, and the movie would have done well without the “Fast and Furious Presents” attached to the name. However, a sequel is expected after this international success.