As many know from our guilty pleasures episode, I love the Fast and Furious franchise. With that said, It’s hard to watch Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw without thinking of the controversy between Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel. That guilt didn’t deter me from enjoying the extension of the Fast and Furious franchise, and did I love it? Of course I did! There are so many bald people in this movie! Yet, it was noticeably off.
There’s nothing really impressive about this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast. It falls back on some buddy comedy roots, and it does so successfully. Pin two “opposite” alpha males together, and we are guaranteed some fun banter and hilarious scenarios. But it wasn’t anything unique. In soccer terms, Hobbs brought the power, and Shaw was the finesse. They took the entire movie to learn to work together, only to reset their rivalry in the mid-credits scene. It felt like a gimmick-filled sit-com… Which I love. Unfortunately, even I, an aficionado, could feel something was off. The family wasn’t there. They try to create similar elements by giving Shaw a sister, played by Vanessa Kirby, but it feels forced. The success of the franchise comes from the well-known, yet often not used concept of diversifying a cast to attract a wider audience. Each iteration of the Fast and Furious grows the “family” with non-white actors. In Hobbs and Shaw, they try to monopolize on that by using Dwayne Johnson’s native Hawaiin background in the third act, but that too feels forced. It feels like screenwriters are crossing t’s and dotting i’s.
Really, the best parts of the film were hints of progress, where Shaw’s sister, Hatti, saves herself over and over again, without the help of Hobbs or Shaw. I stand by my love for the franchise, and I’ll continue watching their movies, but this spin-off was not worth risking the family dynamic!